New Presbyterian College Special Education Degree to Help Meet Statewide Need for Special Education Teachers

On June 11, the South Carolina Department of Education granted approval for Presbyterian College to offer a special education degree, which will start in Fall 2019.

The Bachelor of Science degree will allow students to receive teaching certification in up to three areas. Students can become certified in multi-categorical, severe disabilities and elementary education. PC is one of only eleven institutions in South Carolina offering this flexible certification.

“PC has a history of meeting the needs of the community, and our special education degree will do just that,” said Dr. Patricia Jones, director of PC’s Education Department.

Students can begin earning the bachelor’s in special education at PC as early as this fall. Those students, as well as current teachers who want special education certification, will also have the opportunity to add it to their current degree and certification beginning next summer.

Meeting a Critical Need in Today’s Schools

The special education degree helps meet a need in South Carolina and the nation as a whole. Special education is regarded as a critical need subject area in the state again this year.

And, according to the National Education Association’s NEAToday article “Teacher Shortage is ‘Real and Growing, and Worse Than We Thought,” “finding qualified teachers in … special education has been a particular challenge.”

PC’s new major will help meet this challenge.

“We will prepare teachers to serve children and families in the community while we serve the needs of an underserved teaching area,” Jones said.

Students who earn multi-categorical certification can work with Pre-K through 12th grade students with any type of disability, according to Jones. The multi-categorical certification includes teaching and supporting students with autism spectrum disorder, emotional, intellectual, learning and severe disabilities.

Schools prefer to hire graduates with the multi-categorical certification, Jones says.

“Superintendents and principals can hire graduates at elementary, middle and high schools and know that graduates can serve the core of their special education population,” Jones said.

“We look forward to supplying school systems with high-quality special education teachers who also have the option of teaching in the regular education classroom.”

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