University of Vermont

College of
Education and Social Services

Special Education Programs

There is a national shortage of Early Interventionists (Birth – 3 years) and Early Childhood Special Educators (3 – 6 years):

Over the last decade the demand for Early Childhood Special Education teachers increased by more than 100% from about 13,000 to over 27,000. The number of graduates in early childhood special education preparation programs is much too low to satisfy this need. According to the 2006 Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of IDEA there is a significant shortage of qualified personnel to work with 299,848 infants and toddlers receiving early intervention services. These shortages pose a significant threat to the quality of programs for young children with disabilities. The shortages of personnel and the demands for more qualified EI and ECSE are projected to continue into the future (NECTAS, 2006).

Why is everyone talking about UVM's Master's of Education Special Education Graduate Programs?

The ECSE Graduate Program is designed to meet the needs of both new professionals who are considering a career with young children with disabilities and their families and in-place Early Childhood professionals who are seeking an advanced degree. The program will prepare candidates to serve eligible young children and their families through a model of collaboration with educators, related services personnel, health care workers and other community-based service providers. Successful candidates complete their program with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education, professional teaching licensure in the state of Vermont, and an endorsement in ECSE birth to age six.

Questions about our graduate program? Email us!

Core competencies include the abilities to:

  • Promote children’s learning and development within natural environments and/or inclusive settings;
  • Recognize and respect the diversity of family structures, preferences, and participation levels;
  • Offer instructional practices that are guided by and sensitive to the family and child, supported by meaningful assessment information, and linked to developmentally and/or individually appropriate curricula;
  • Strive to foster collaborative relationships with family members, peers of the same discipline, and individuals across disciplines.
  • Access evidence based practices and apply them to practice to support the optimal development of young children and their families.
  • Participate in field experiences and projects designed to increase cultural competence with a specific focus on children and families who are English language learners and/or refugees.

Community Based Learning:

UVM prides itself on providing Early Childhood Special Education candidates with authentic community based learning. Families of children with disabilities and local professionals have a strong presence in our classes and our students are welcomed into their field experiences by professionals dedicated to sharing their expertise with UVM scholars. Field-based experiences are designed to enable candidates to put theory into practice within supportive, high quality environments that value both diversity and inclusion.

Evidence Based Practice:

Scholars leave the program with the skills needed to access research based evidence and to judge its value in order to serve children and families with diverse needs. Undergraduate and graduate students have opportunities to engage in research projects with faculty on a range of topics such as the inclusion of young children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and special education services for children who are English language learners.

Cultural, Linguistic and Economic Diversity:

Teachers will be more successful working in underserved communities if they are prepared in those communities and faculty at The University of Vermont are intentional about ensuring field experience in schools that serve Burlington’s diverse community. Scholars receive hands-on experience serving families and children who are experiencing disability, English language learners, refugees and or living with poverty. Given the diverse community characteristics of Burlington, UVM is in the ideal setting for preparing educators who are committed to inclusion, social justice and for the development of skills, dispositions and experiences necessary for serving all infants, toddlers and preschool aged children with disabilities.

Applying to the Graduate Program in Early Childhood Special Education

Applications to the program are due on February 15 and November 1 of each year and may be accessed through the Graduate College at the University of Vermont. (follow links to “Graduate Admissions”). Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field that includes at least 30 hours of course work in a specific content area, and a GPA of at least a 3.0 in this course work. Preference is given to candidates with two years of teaching and/or related experience in special education.

Click here to apply to our graduate program in Early Childhood Special Education!

Program Candidates must also provide one of the following:
  1. Passing Praxis Core Scores (see information on Praxis Core only)
  2. Praxis I, SAT, GRE, or ACT scores for tests taken prior to August 31, 2014 (click here for cut off scores in PDF format)
  3. Evidence of a current and valid teaching license


Last modified November 04 2015 10:48 AM