Home / Academics / Education / Special Education / Special Education



      A core philosophy of Special Education (SPED) is that all students can learn. The BHSU SPED program will prepare you through specialized training in instructional methods, behavior management, assessment, and assistive technologies for students with disabilities. Following completion of the program, you will be well-equipped to serve as an effective and dynamic SPED teacher.

    The Black Hills State University K – 12 SPED program will prepare you to become a certified SPED teacher in Kindergarten through High School classrooms; therefore, the K-12 SPED degree will provide you with the option of teaching a variety of disabilities at any age level. You will gain field experience through an internship in a special education classroom, and a general education classroom as well. Core SPED classes are offered online. On-campus opportunities are offered through webinars, guest speakers, and membership in our student organizations.


      The K – 12 Special Education teacher education program is rigorous and taught by faculty who hold doctorates in the field of Special Education, and have several years of experience as public school SPED teachers. The SPED faculty at BHSU will provide you with learning opportunities focused on real-world applications of state-of-the-art educational research.

      Investing time in a K-12 Special Education degree is investing time in job security. Currently there is a national shortage of Special Education teachers. At any given point in time, there are hundreds of vacant Special Education teaching positions ready to be filled in every state. Special Education teachers are eligible for $17,500 dollars of federal loan forgiveness. As a K-12 SPED major, you will have access to several grants and other tuition-assistance opportunities. Furthermore, many school districts offer competitive salaries, additional stipends, and substantial sign-on bonuses for SPED teachers.

    By participating in student organizations you have will have the chance to attend and present at state and national conferences. As a student at BHSU you will have access to research opportunities which will aid you in advancing your knowledge and career quickly.

Special Education Major Course Requirements

Pre-Professional Core - 16 semester hours

  • EDFN 338 - Foundations of American Education
  • EDFN 295 - Practicum: Pre-Admission 
  • EPSY 302 - Educational Psychology
  • EPSY 428 - Child & Adolescent Development
  • HLTH 251 - First Aid & CPR
  • INED 411 - South Dakota Indian Studies
  • PSYC 101 - General Psychology

Special Ed Core - 32 semester hours

  • SPED 100 - Intro to Persons with Exceptionalities
  • SPED 406 - Introduction to Assistive Technology
  • SPED 410 - Behavior Management of Exceptional Children
  • SPED 413 - Students with MR, DD, and Severe Disabilities
  • SPED 417 - Vocational-Transitional Programming
  • SPED 420 - Curriculum & Instructional Strategies K-12
  • SPED 431 - Identification and Assessment in Special Education
  • SPED 453 - Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • SPED 460 - Family Systems and Professional Collaboration
  • SPED 495 - Practicum: Special Education
  • Take one course from the following:
    ELED 459 - Intro to Literacy Assessment & Remediation
    PE 352 - Adapted Physical Education
    PSYC 451 - Psychology of Abnormal Behavior
    SPED 485 - Special Education Law

Teaching Core - 25 semester hours

  • EDFN 365 - Computer-Based Technology & Learning
  • EDFN 375 - Methods of Technology Integration
  • EDFN 440 - Classroom Management
  • MLED 480 - Middle Level Methods
  • SEED 408 - Plan, Manage & Assess the 7-12 Diverse Classroom
  • SEED 450 - 7-12 Reading & Content Literacy
  • ELED 315 - Foundations & Theory of Reading
  • ELED 495 - Practicum: Pre-Student Teaching
  • SEED 495 - Practicum: Pre-Student Teaching
  • EDFN 475 Human Relations
  • SPED 488 - Student Teaching in Special Education

Gen Ed Requirements

  • ENGL 101
  • ENGL 201
  • SPCM - Gen Ed - Speech (1 class) - 3 semester hours
  • MATH - Gen Ed - Mathematics (1 class) - 3 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Social Science (2 classes from different subjects) - 6 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Arts & Humanities (2 classes from different subjects or a foreign language sequence) - 6 semester hours
  • Gen Ed - Natural Sciences & Lab (2 classes/corresponding labs) - 6-8 semester hours

*Current students, please refer to the DegreeWorks Dashboard in MyBHSU to confirm your major requirements.

Internships and field experiences are an important part of our education programs and are coordinated by the faculty.  Students spend a minimum of 45 hours in the classrooms during their sophomore year, 100 hours during their junior year, and end their program with a 16 week student teaching experience.

The local chapter of the American Association on Mental Retardation and the Student Council for Exceptional Children (AAMR/SCEC) is an excellent opportunity for BHSU students.  You can join the group and expand your education with special and exceptional needs through activities and conventions.  The group hosts several local activities, including holiday dances for the Northern Hills Training Center and the Black Hills Special Services groups.  In the past, the group has participated in an annual Chili Feed and an open forum on special education.  Fundraisers such as the Silent Auction and Ladies’ Night Out are also an important part of AAMR/SCEC.  Members raise money to help them attend state and national conventions.

Several other student organizations, such as the Black Hills Association for the Education of Young Children, Honors Program, Kappa Delta Pi, and the Reading Council, are also available. 



You can join the group and expand your education with special and exceptional needs through activities and conventions. The group hosts several local activities, including holiday dances for the Northern Hills Training Center and the Black Hills Special Services groups.


The SDEA works to better education for both teachers and students. They work with elected officials to pass bills that help the education system. They also work with local leaders to increase education funding for local schools. The SDEA also provides development sessions and trainings for educators to help continue developing their craft through hands-on learning.


BHSU Talking Hands strives to educate others about sign language (American Sign Language, Signing Exact English, along with other forms of sign language). Its purpose is to help students, faculty, staff, and community members learn sign language while developing lasting relationships. BHSU Talking Hands aims to have both community and university involvement by volunteering and participating in university activities. In the community, members have participated in activities such as teaching sign language to children at area Boys and Girls Clubs as well as performing for community groups to introduce them to the power of sign language.


Teach students who receive special education support at all levels of schooling in the following eligibility categories:
» Autism Spectrum Disorders
» Deaf-Blindness
» Law School
» Emotional-Behavioral Disorders
» Hearing Impairment/Deafness
» Intellectual Disabilities
» Learning Disabilities
» Orthopedic Impairments
» Other Health Impairments
» Speech-Language Disorders
» Visual Impairment/Blindness



Open to all teaching majors each spring semester, BHSU holds its annual teachers fair welcoming over 60 employers to campus to meet with students seeking job opportunities.