Kentucky Special Education
The U.S. Department of Education evaluated Kentucky’s ability to meet academic targets for its students in special education programs as “Meets Requirements.” According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 15.2 percent of Kentucky’s students have been assigned Individualized Education Programs, significantly above the national average of 13 percent. The state employs over 6,730 special education teachers to work in its 1,565 public schools that are organized into 174 districts. The state also has 380 private schools. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and its Division of Learning Services oversee education within the state.
Kentucky Licenses for Teachers
Special Education Degrees in Kentucky
EPSB’s Get a Degree to Becomes a Special Education Teacher in Kentucky guide provides key information on how to accelerate your studies and start working in Kentucky special education classrooms. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see a list of Kentucky’s special education degree programs. Western Kentucky University’s College of Education & Behavioral Sciences, located on a hilltop in Bowling Green, oversees the School of Teacher Education. Undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science in special education, with a dual focus on learning and behavioral disorders and moderate and severe disabilities (primary through 12th grade); this program leads to certification to teach in a wide range of special education settings. Graduate students can take coursework leading to a Master of Arts in special education with a focus in learning and behavior disorders (P-12) or moderate and severe disabilities (P-12). The department also offers an endorsement as a Director of Special Education and an alternative route to special education master’s degree program. Situated in the metropolitan area of Kentucky’s most populated city, the University of Louisville awards several levels of degrees and certificates through its Department of Special Education. Undergraduates can earn dual certification in elementary and special education, while those pursuing a master’s degree can specialize in assistive technology, autism, learning and behavior disorders, moderate and severe disabilities or teacher leadership (with special education opportunities). The school also offers Master of Arts in Teaching programs for those seeking a certificate or alternative certificate in moderate and severe disabilities, as well as a doctorate in Special Education. Several of these programs are available in an online format. In addition, The University of Louisville is home to the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program, which mentors new teachers during their first year in the classroom.
For profiles of all the schools in Kentucky that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
The EPSB has approved eight alternative routes to teacher certification for would-be Kentucky teachers who wish to waive requirements for traditional licensure. These include:
- Option 1, Exceptional Work Experience Certification: For candidates with 10 or more years of relevant work experience in an area other than teaching, and a bachelor’s degree.
- Option 2, Local District Training Program Certification: For candidates who have completed 30 hours of study or who have five years of relevant field experience.
- Option 3, College Faculty Certification: For people holding graduate degrees who have five or more years of experience teaching in higher education. This option is only for those seeking to teach students in grades 8-12.
- Option 4, Adjunct Instructor Certification: For people who have a job offer or contract from a Kentucky public school and who have a degree and expertise in a relevant area.
- Option 5, Veterans of the Armed Services: For veterans who have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject area.
- Option 6, University-Based Alternative Route to Certification: For qualified students currently enrolled in Kentucky teacher preparation programs.
- Option 7, Institute Alternative Route to Certification: For candidates with an undergraduate degree in a relevant area of concentration who hold a job offer from a participating district.
- Option 8, Teach for America (TFA) Alternative Route to Certification: For students who complete TFA’s training program and have a bachelor’s degree as well as a Kentucky public school job offer.
Special Education Jobs
- The KDE’s Professional Development Standards guide outlines the state’s policies regarding earning continuing education units. The agency’s Professional Development Training Opportunities Bulletin Board contains announcements about training programs and workshops.
- The Kentucky Special Education Cooperative Network consists of nine cooperatives representing every public school district in Kentucky. The cooperatives provide technical assistance, professional development courses, district trainings and specialized services to Kentucky special educators and general education teachers.
- The EPSB’s Kentucky Teacher Internship Program supports new teachers during their first year of assignment while providing professional development credit.
- Kentucky Educational Television delivers self-paced modules and facilitated courses for teachers seeking professional development.
Kentucky Groups for Special Educators
- The state teacher’s union, the Kentucky Education Association, is an affiliate of the National Education Association. It advocates for its membership of current and retired public school teachers, administrators, school support staff and student teachers.
- The Kentucky State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children is a state-mandated group that advises the KDE regarding special education policy.
Kentucky Special Education Bloggers
- Learning Disabilities: Douglas Haddad, author, teacher, and regular TV guest expert on parenting and education, is the About.com Guide for Learning Disabilities. His posts are national in scope.
- Mrs. H.’s Resource Room: This blog is about Mrs. Hinton’s work as a resource room teacher and collaboration/co-teaching instructor in grades 3-5, and includes ideas for creative projects.