Create a Classroom That Promotes Positive Learning

Earn Your Early Childhood Education Associate's Degree—Special Needs Specialization

Our Early Childhood Education Associate's degree with a specialization in Special Needs—available fully online or on campus— allows you to better prepare your special needs students for future learning. As an early childhood educator, you become accustomed to recognizing children with special needs—sometimes even before their parents.

Through hands-on coursework, you create customized curriculum and teaching techniques to effectively develop these students’ mental, emotional, and physical capabilities. Using the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards as a foundation for our curriculum, your courses also focus on preparing you to apply for your Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.*

If you choose our Flex Choice option, you can combine faculty-led and self-paced courses to save time and money while pursuing a degree on a schedule that fits your lifestyle.

*The School of Education at Rasmussen College is not accredited by NAEYC.

To see how this program can help you achieve your goals:

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  • Support and financial aid planning
  • Career path guidance with no obligation
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Credentials Offered Graduate In As Few As*
Certificate 9-12 Months
Associate's Degree 18 Months

Learning Options ( )

Gain In-Field ECE Skills Employers Seek

Through career-focused curriculum and practical, hands-on opportunities in your courses, you can prepare for a successful career in early childhood education. Our program is designed to help you gain relevant ECE skills employers seek, including:

  • Child Development Foundations

    Learn the basics of developmentally appropriate practice as it relates to child development, individual needs, and using interpersonal skills and communication within the classroom or center.

  • Working With Exceptional Children

    Learn how to create an inclusive environment for exceptional learners and gain the skills to bring together fellow caregivers, educators and family members critical to supporting the child.

  • The Inclusive Classroom

    Develop strategies for promoting and supporting an inclusive classroom and explore how to support young children with special needs in the early childhood setting.

  • Special Needs Advocacy

    Support and advocate for young children with special needs by understanding current trends and resources.

Special Needs Course Work

The special needs courses prepare you to work with students who have faced numerous obstacles throughout their life already. Your instructors will teach you different ways to teach students who have learning disabilities. Through the special needs specialization, you’ll benefit from:

  • Understanding how to help develop students' mental, emotional, and physical capabilities
  • Exploring current trends and become an advocate on special needs
  • Curriculum developed based on national standards
  • 540 hours of applied learning

Our Grads Achieve Career Success

Graduates from our School of Education programs are working for leading employers, including:*

  • YMCA
  • Head Start
  • KinderCare Learning Center
  • Crème de la Crème
  • Montessori Schools
  • Minnesota Reading Corps
  • New Horizon Academy
  • Lee County School District
  • Bright Horizons

Success Rate

90% of responding December 2012 to June 2013 graduates are working in their field of study or continuing their education.*

*Employer information reported by Rasmussen College graduates. This list does not constitute an endorsement of Rasmussen College by the organizations shown above. Listing does not guarantee or imply that future employment opportunities at these organizations will be available.

Average Starting Salary

for our Special Needs Graduates:

  • Associate's Degree $24,064

Program Entry Requirements

A criminal background check is required prior to enrolling in any ECE program. To learn more about entrance requirements and begin planning your ECE career, call 888-549-6755 or contact us to speak with a program manager.*

*Applicants also need to pass the Rasmussen College entrance placement exam(s) along with other program-specific requirements.

Ready to Start Your Path in Special Needs ?

Request Personalized Program Information

You'll receive support and financial aid planning, a customized course plan and career path guidance—with no obligation.

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How Much Could You Earn as an ECE Professional?

In-Demand Career Options for Your Future

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning a degree, regardless of the field of study, can improve income potential.* Here is the average salary by percentile and projected job growth for education professionals:

Job Title(s) 10th Percentile 25th Percentile 50th Percentile Job Growth (By Year 2022)
Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education$18,420$21,660$27,57017%
Childcare Workers$16,430$17,680$19,60014%

BLS salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Potential earnings calculated by multiplying median full-time salaries by 30 years, bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm, census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-14.pdf

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2012-2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook, www.bls.gov/ooh/

Earning a degree can be a valuable investment in your future. See how:

Calculate the Estimated Return on Your Investment

How Much Will it Cost?

At Rasmussen College, we’re committed to helping make higher education more affordable for you. That’s why we offer straightforward tuition costs locked in place until you graduate, so you know your tuition will not increase through graduation if you are continuously enrolled.*

Calculate Your Estimated Degree Cost

Affordable Options to Help You Save Money

Through our comprehensive SUPPORT+ student services, our student financial services advisors help you receive affordable tuition as you earn your degree. Browse our options to see how you can save:

*For important methodology statements and disclosures regarding the information shown above, click here.