Ensure the youngest children get a head start.

The impact of early learning experiences for children from birth through third grade is far-reaching. Specialized training is required for early childhood educators to help young children discover their worlds. The need for passionate, qualified educators in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education is growing. Employment opportunities can be found in both public and private institutions with missions that focus on the youngest learners or in any organization interested in young children and their learning.


Program type:

Major, BSEd



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young children cutting paper with teacher

Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education -

Special Education Emphasis

The BS in Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education, is designed for students who are interested in obtaining Missouri teacher certification. This campus-based program offers field and practicum experiences in elementary school settings. In addition to general education requirements, the program includes education foundation courses, required education courses, clinical experiences and early childhood education courses.

The program, based on best practices, addresses child development theories and practice, curriculum emergence and development, developmentally appropriate practice, differentiated learning, diversity, advocacy, and family partnerships.

Outcomes and Career Outlook

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to improve and enhance student learning; integrate technology to create meaningful student learning within the context of a global digital society; apply content and pedagogical knowledge to create authentic and deep learning experiences; use learning science principles to design, implement and evaluate curriculum based on learning standards; design and establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment that nurtures the intellectual, social and personal development of all students; and use equitable frameworks and inclusive practices to create a variety of instructional and assessment opportunities adapted to diverse learners to encourage all students’ critical thinking, problem solving and performance skills.

Employment of early childhood special education teachers is projected to grow up to 1% to 2029, with a median annual salary of $48,210, according to wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Median annual salary


Employment growth by 2029

Career Opportunities

  • Classroom Teacher, Toddlers
  • Classroom Teacher, Preschool
  • Classroom Teacher, Kindergarten
  • Classroom Teacher, 1st-3rd Grade
  • Classroom Teacher, Special Education
  • Childcare Center Director
  • Early Childhood Services Director


Plan of study

All majors must meet the general education requirements of the university in addition to completing degree-specific curriculum requirements.

Review Full Degree Requirements

Student organizations

From leadership, to cultural, to just plain fun, Recognized Student Organizations at UMSL make it easy to get involved. Students who join RSOs make new friends, learn new skills, and perform better in classes. Plus, with over 120 student organizations on campus, there’s something for everyone! You might like:

Internship opportunities

The College of Education hosts many centers and initiatives that enhance student experiences in our programs and work with more than 36 different public, private and charter schools throughout the region. We also sponsor eight charter schools.

Honors College

The UMSL Honors College is a certificate program that can be paired with any major without adding extra classes or extending time to graduate. Classes in the Honors College are seminar-style, meaning that they are based in reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking. This unique class format fosters an intellectual climate centered around democracy, diversity, civility and academic excellence.

Undergraduate research

We encourage and support students as they engage in exciting activities in and outside of the classroom that enrich their academic and professional understanding of their chosen area of study. All majors are encouraged to participate in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to produce discipline-specific intellectual or creative innovations to their field.