Early Childhood Special Education
w/ English as a Second Language (ESL)
Endorsement, M.A.

Expand your teaching skills to impact the lives of young children and their families, regardless of ability, income level, or cultural and linguistic background. Obtain three endorsements in one graduate program, increasing your versatility as a teaching professional to provide an array of early childhood services in educational settings and beyond.

Field Based Learning and High Standards Build Quality Educators

The Master of Arts in Early Childhood Special Education with ESL Endorsement program provides working professionals with opportunities to extend their understanding of concepts and develop valuable skills used in increasingly diverse classrooms. In the program, students will explore:
  • The unique developmental characteristics and needs of young children
  • The complexities of cultural diversity and individual learning differences
  • How to communicate and build relationships with the families of young children
  • How to utilize observation, documentation, and assessment to evaluate children’s learning and development
  • Theories and practical application of developmentally appropriate practices

Walk Away with Three Full Endorsements on Your License

Lewis University’s M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education with ESL Endorsement is one of the only programs in the state to offer all three endorsements within one degree:
  • Early Childhood Education (Regular Education Classrooms, Birth – 3rd Grade)
  • Early Childhood Special Education (Special Education Classrooms, Birth – 3rd Grade)
  • English as a Second Language (Classrooms with Students Speaking English as a Second Language, Birth – 3rd Grade)
These endorsements are quickly becoming the required qualifications for teachers of preschool and primary children in the state of Illinois. Many schools and districts seek candidates with these three endorsements for teaching positions at lower grade levels. Professionals who have a passion for teaching early childhood special education will strengthen their specialized skills and remain up-to-date with effective teaching methods as a result of this program.

Letter of Approval Option

More school districts are requiring that individuals with a Professional Educator License (PEL) be certified to teach early childhood special education (non-categorical) for children up to the age of six. Educators with the Type 04 endorsement or who are licensed in Special Education can apply for a “Letter of Approval” from Lewis University. This new state-approved, standalone endorsement includes coursework that, when completed, qualifies teachers to instruct students with special needs at the pre-K level.

The Early Childhood Special Education Approval course of study focuses on four areas: Methods, Assessment, Language Development, and Family & Community Relationships. This approval does not expire. Note: You may only add the Early Childhood Special Education Approval onto an existing early childhood or special education license.

Market Demand

The Early Childhood Education career outlook looks extremely promising, becoming one of the fastest growing careers within the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic Occupational Outlook, Early Childhood careers will grow by 14% over the next several years.

Currently, school districts are understaffed in teaching positions in elementary education and bilingual education. Hence, teachers who add these endorsements to their license will become even more valuable to schools looking to fill these positions. Students who obtain their Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education degree from Lewis University will become top candidates for jobs upon graduation.

Why Lewis for Your Advanced Early Childhood Special Education Degree?

  • Ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Tier Colleges”
  • Small average class size allows for high interaction with our experienced faculty
  • Classrooms equipped with SMART boards and other audio-visual equipment, enabling students to develop skills with technologies they will work with in the field.
  • Strong partnerships with schools for fulfilling classroom observation requirements and gaining real-world experience by interacting with school children and practicing instruction before graduation
  • Good reputation with surrounding districts to help with clinical and job placement

Life after Lewis

Prospective students unsure of what to do with a Master’s in Early Childhood Education should know that graduates of the Early Childhood Special Education w/ ESL Endorsement graduate program at Lewis University are qualified to work in various positions, including:
  • Public School Teacher in Regular or Special Education – Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-3
  • Child Care Center Director
  • Head Start Personnel
  • Social Services Agencies serving Children and Families
  • Home Visitation/Parent Education Programs

Admission Requirements

To be accepted for admission in the Early Childhood Special Education w/ ESL Endorsement graduate program at Lewis University, candidates must meet the following credentials:
  • Illinois Professional Educator License
  • Fulfillment of House Bill 150 (Survey of Exceptional Children and Adolescents or Exceptional Learners in Inclusive Communities)
  • Successful completion of Illinois Basic Skills, Test of Academic Proficiency or a score of 22 on the ACT Plus Writing exam in the past ten years
  • Successful completion of the Lewis University College of Education Graduate Writing Examination
  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 for the final 60 credit hours of study
  • Submission of a graduate application form with non-refundable application fee
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official college transcripts from all institutions previously attended
  • Meet with the appropriate Department Chair or Program Director for a personal interview to discuss education goals

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