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.*

Our Early Childhood Education degrees are available with Flex Choice®, which allows you to combine traditional online coursework, self-directed assessments and competency-based education—the best of all worlds, so you can receive credit by demonstrating what you know and can do. Rasmussen College is a national leader in competency-based education, helping to advance this cutting-edge, faculty-led, project-based learning approach that prioritizes your learning over deadlines. CBE gives learners more control over their time, allowing you to move quickly through topics you already understand and slow down with more challenging material—a perfect fit for the busy adult learner! You’ll be able to have the flexibility you need in your life for college. Learn more about our Flex Choice offerings.

*The Early Childhood Education programs at Rasmussen College are not accredited the NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation. Rasmussen College is not a partner of NAEYC and our programs are not sponsored or endorsed by NAEYC.

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

  • Course plan customized for you
  • Support and financial aid planning
  • Career path guidance with no obligation

Read more about this program
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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
  • 90 hours of applied learning

Partnership with CDA and Council for Professional Recognition

Logo: Proud Partner of the CDA and the Council for Professional RecognitionOur curriculum includes a focus on preparing students to apply for their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential from the Council for Professional Recognition. Rasmussen is a proud partner of the CDA and the Council for Professional Recognition and is honored to be among a select group of early childhood education training organizations to be awarded the CDA® Gold Standard Training Certification. The certification helps ECE students find the high-quality training and support services they need to prepare for the CDA Credential.

*This program has not been approved by any state professional licensing body, and this program is not intended to lead to any state issued professional license. For further information on professional licensing requirements, please contact the appropriate board or agency in your state of residence.

Our Grads Work Across Industries

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

  • Child Care Centers
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Museums
  • Public Preschool Education
  • Recreation
  • Self-Employed Nannies and Teachers
  • Social Services

117 Years of Successful Graduates

At Rasmussen College, we’ve been dedicated to our mission of preparing students for career success since 1900.

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

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.*

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

Ready to Begin Your Specialization in Special Needs?

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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 2026)
Childcare Workers$17,190$18,680$21,1707%
Preschool Teachers Except Special Education$19,430$22,750$28,79011%

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [salary data accessed September 13, 2017] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed December 13, 2017] 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.

How Much Will it Cost?

See how affordable your degree of choice is:

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We Help Make College Affordable

At Rasmussen College, we believe higher education should be a successful investment. That’s why we offer affordable options that make earning your degree attainable. See how you can save:

Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program:

Want to learn more? Consult with a program manager

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

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