The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education degree at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is offered by the College of Education. This bachelor’s degree in early childhood special education can prepare aspiring teacher candidates to pursue a career devoted to helping young children (in birth through third grade classrooms) strive to reach their full potential as learners and community members.
The early childhood special education degree online and on campus is approved by the Arizona Department of Education and accredited by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). Graduates are qualified to pursue a certification credential in Arizona that covers both the early childhood and early childhood special education content up to a third-grade classroom level.
Pursue Your Early Childhood Special Education Degree from GCU
The BS in Early Childhood Special Education degree online and on campus from GCU emphasizes the value of servant leadership and Christian ethics. Aspiring teacher candidates with an early childhood special education degree may pursue a career working with children during a critical period in their development. As a role model to young children up to third grade, you will be taught how to encourage young learners to embrace creativity, strive toward literacy and develop an enduring love of learning.
GCU supports a modern and diverse student body by offering this early childhood special education degree in both online and on campus modalities. This flexible learning option suits the needs of many students by allowing them the convenience of pursuing a degree while maintaining life’s busy schedule.
“I have multiple staff members who've found their dream job through our partnership with GCU, who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. At GCU, they can go to school and still maintain a job to provide for their family.”
Skills Learned in an Early Childhood Special Education Degree Program
Early childhood special education majors at GCU benefit from an in-depth and comprehensive curriculum that imparts knowledge and classroom skills, including the following:
- Early language and literacy development
- Social and emotional development
- Behavioral interventions
- Classroom management
- Learning strategies
- Instructional methods
- Assessments, evaluations and progress reporting
- Child, family and community collaboration
- Educational advocacy for children with and without exceptionalities
This bachelor’s degree in early childhood special education includes 190 practicum/field experience hours. All teacher candidates must successfully complete a 15-week student teaching experience in an inclusive environment with children birth to grade three.
Career Options for Early Childhood Special Education Degree Program Graduates
This degree could equip you to work as a preschool special education teacher in any of these settings:
- Early childhood education centers
- Public and private preschool/pre-K
- Public and private elementary school
- Nonprofit organizations
- Educational policy organizations
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 37,600 openings for special education teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade from 2021 to 2031. Many of those openings are expected as a result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force.1
Early Childhood Special Education Degree FAQs
When pursuing any degree, you’re likely to have many questions. We’ve gathered a few of your most frequently asked questions below regarding our dual degree in early childhood special education online and on campus program.
If seeking licensure or certification, applicants to the program are responsible for contacting their state department of education for licensure requirements and program approval. In addition, fingerprint and background clearance is required.
1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on September 2021, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Special Education Teachers, retrieved on July 25, 2022.
2 Kilgo, Jennifer L. (2022)
3 The Education Trust, Increasing Equity in Early Intervention in July 2022
4 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Special Education Teachers, as of May 2021, retrieved on Feb. 8, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as special education teachers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.