Four-year program prepares students
in teacher education for dual licensure

A new Trine University program will give teacher education students the option to prepare for two state licenses while earning a four-year degree.

In fall 2015, the Franks School of Education will begin offering a dual licensure program in elementary education and special education for kindergarten through grade 6 (K-6). Students will earn a Bachelor of Science degree and be eligible for both a license in elementary education K-6 and a license in special education/mild intervention K-6.  Though students will be eligible for two licenses, the program is designed to be completed in four years.

Trine’s teacher education program is known for providing extensive classroom and field experience for students, which includes those in their first year of study. This program will continue that tradition with the addition of field experiences in all of the special education courses.

“It will be an intense program to meet the demand for more special education teachers and better prepare elementary teachers for teaching in inclusion classrooms,” said Karen Hamilton, Ph.D., dean of the Franks School. “Such educators are growing in demand in this area and nationally. We get numerous requests for a program in special education.”

Nationally, the demand for educators with these qualifications is expected to grow as fast as 12 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, the median annual wage for special education teachers was $55,000.

For the 2014-15 school year, 48 states reported a need for special education teachers, according to a nationwide listing of teacher shortage areas compiled in March 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education.  On the local front, Hamilton has anecdotal evidence that schools are in need of teachers qualified in special education/mild intervention.

Over a year ago, an ad hoc committee of local special education educators and principals worked with Hamilton, to study the need for such a program. Then, Hamilton with members of the Franks School, developed the program which was submitted to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) for approval.  After a rigorous review process, the IDOE informed Trine in early January that it had been approved to offer the new program.