Create learning experiences that matter.

Special Education is the practice of educating students in a way that addresses their individual differences and special needs. Educators help individuals with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and in their community which may not be available if the student were only given access to a typical classroom education.

Teaching English to speakers of other languages transforms the lives of students by giving them the gift of language comprehension that will allow them to be an active participant in an English-speaking country or in careers that require English speakers. Becoming a TESOL certified teacher is the gateway to teaching English as a second language in K-12 schools by being a highly qualified teacher.


Program type:

Major, BSEd



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Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education -

Special Education and TESOL Emphasis

The BS in Elementary Education, with an emphasis in Special Education & TESOL, focuses on engaged, experiential learning that introduces and supports instructional opportunities that orient and improve the development of sound learning communities and supports classrooms of diverse student populations and abilities. Students are exposed to a variety of course content platforms, opportunities for student research and community collaborations and partnerships. Educator candidates actively engage in unique practicum experiences in the studio school model for clinical practice.

The Special Education endorsement may be added by passing the appropriate area exam. You’ll also earn an additional credential in second language learning (TESOL) that will make you highly qualified and marketable.

Outcomes and Career Outlook

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be well prepared to become a community educator who can impact all students in a wide variety of settings, and with a much broader understanding of education’s role in society. Our graduates make a collective impact as faculty members in the differentiated staffing model, with many hired directly into the studio schools or districts where they complete their clinical preparation.

Employment of elementary teachers is projected to grow up to 4% to 2029, with a median annual salary of $61,400, 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, Elementary School
  • ELL Specialist
  • Special Education Classroom Teacher
  • TESOL Teacher


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

Non-Missouri Residents: Prospective students are responsible for reviewing the NC-SARA state authorizations page to see if this program is offered in their state throughout their program and to review the licensure or certification requirements for the state in which they reside.

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.