Elementary Education and Special Education (Composite) - BS, BA

Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services

About This Degree

This degree gives students the opportunity to have more flexibility in their careers. Having both licenses allows teachers to move back and forth between special education and elementary education.

Most public school teachers will have special needs students in their classrooms, and this composite degree makes them more qualified to meet the unique educational needs of these students. Some states even require special education teachers to have an elementary or secondary education background. Additionally, USU’s special education program boasts 100% job placement for its students upon graduation.

What You Will Learn

This degree is a combination of courses required for the elementary education major and the special education major. Students who complete this composite degree are eligible for two licenses, one for special education and one for elementary education, teaching grades 1-8 (though, students are "highly qualified" to teach grades 1-6 based on federal standards for "No Child Left Behind"). Students gain content knowledge through the elementary education program and learn strategies for teaching diverse learners through the special education program.

USU's Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services is ranked 10th in the nation among colleges of education in external research dollars.

Students receive a by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages.


Birth to Age 5 Special Education:

This emphasis prepares graduates to work with students who have high-incidence disabilities, such as learning disabilities, mild/moderate intellectual disabilities, behavior and emotional disorders, or communication disorders. Educators work with children in grades K-12 in a resource-room setting or inclusive setting teaching academic skills.

Mild/Moderate Disabilities:

This emphasis prepares graduates to work with students who have low-incidence disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic and acquired brain injury, and multiple disabilities. Graduates typically teach academic and life skills in a K-12 classroom or in a post-secondary setting (students age 18-21).

Severe Disabilities:

This emphasis prepares graduates to work with children ages birth to five years who have disabilities. Children ages birth to three years are typically served by early intervention programs in their homes. Children three to five years are taught in public preschool settings within local school districts. Students in this emphasis may choose to combine this emphasis with either the mild/moderate disabilities emphasis or the severe disabilities emphasis.


BS: Logan (Main Campus)

BA: Logan (Main Campus)

Request Information Elementary Education and Special Education (Composite)
Description Elementary Education and Special Education (Composite)

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

With a degree in elementary education and special education (composite), students may pursue the following careers:

  • Classroom teacher for grades 1-6
  • Public or private school educator
  • Adult service provider
  • Recreation specialist
  • Behavior specialist
  • Developmental specialist
  • Early intervention provider

The Career and Design Center provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

Job Outlook


Laura Parrish

Academic advisor
Email: laura.parrish@usu.edu
Office: EDUC 336
Phone: (435) 797-7575

Schedule an Appointment


Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the elementary education and special education (composite) program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission as pre-majors.
  • Transfer students: Transfer students from other institutions or from other USU majors will be admitted as pre-majors in good standing, with a GPA of at least 2.75.
  • In order to become an elementary education and special education (composite) major, students must be accepted into the teacher education program and the special education program, which includes the following:
    • Completion of at least 40 semester credits, including the ones you’re currently taking, with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher
    • Receive minimum ACT scores (21 Composite- 20 English, 19 Math, 18 Science, 18 Reading)
    • Complete certain core courses (see department for more information)
    • Complete a speech and hearing test
    • Pass the Teacher Education Writing Exam
    • Pass a criminal background check (this should be done one semester before applying)
    • Pass the Praxis II elementary education content knowledge exam (this should be done at least one semester prior to applying)
    • Participate in a group interview
    • Passing score on the Special Education Math exam

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Take The Next Step

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