Special Education: General Curriculum K-12 Overview


Those who have a heart for working with students who have disabilities can turn that passion into a career as a special educator.

Special education teachers are desperately needed in almost every school district, as special education is a critical shortage area in Virginia. Along with taking courses for the academic major, students may possibly begin taking education courses as soon as the freshman year. An integral aspect of the program includes public school field experience opportunities that are strategically placed within the required courses, letting students explore a variety of classrooms with diverse populations. A strong Interdisciplinary Studies major prepares students to pass Praxis II: Content Area Assessments. Completing requirements for the teaching license and the bachelor’s degree within four years opens the door for graduates to obtain additional credentials through master’s degrees in a number of areas.

Students may also add the special education endorsement to a different teaching license by taking additional courses (three for an elementary PreK-6 license, or five for a secondary or PreK-12 license) and completing eight of their 16-week student teaching placement in special education; then, the Special Education: General Curriculum K-12 endorsement can be added to the license.

Click the Academic Catalog image to view advising recommendations and course descriptions for the Special Education K-12 teacher licensure program.

Licensure Area

A Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies combined with required education courses and field experiences lead to the teaching license in Special Education: General Curriculum K-12.

Field Experiences

Beginning early in the student’s program, field placements in public schools are a major component of the Teacher Education Program. Some professional education courses require 15 or 20-hour field experiences. The student must also complete EDU 3801 (20 hours), EDU 3901 (25 hours), and EDU 4101 (30 hours), a sequence of field experiences and seminars during the semesters preceding student teaching. Pre-Student Teaching Field Experience II and III require admission to the Teacher Education Program as a prerequisite. 

Student teaching is a semester of continuous full-time professional activities in a public school under the supervision of public school and college personnel. Student teaching takes place the last semester, usually spring of the senior year. To prepare students to work with different age levels, student teaching is organized into two placements: one in an  elementary grade, and one in a middle or high school grade. Bluefield College faculty serve as the college supervisors for the student teachers and the student teachers meet weekly for seminars. Throughout the semester, the student teachers build a professional portfolio which is presented to a faculty and school personnel panel for review and practice with interviewing skills.   

Common Sites for Field Experiences

Placements will be made at various locations in order for the student to have opportunities with diverse populations. To provide adequate supervision by college personnel, placements will be made in nearby school divisions with whom we have agreements: Tazewell County and Bland County, Virginia, and Mercer County, West Virginia. School personnel from these school systems are involved in the mentoring and assessment of our students. Students are responsible for their own transportation. Background checks and membership in the Student Virginia Education Association (SVEA) is required for students involved in all field experiences.

Program Outcomes

By placing student teachers in public schools with diverse student populations, they gain the experience of working with children who have different backgrounds and needs. In addition, college coursework emphasizes the teacher’s role in valuing diversity and maintaining high expectations that all students can learn.

Positions Held by Alumni

Bluefield College School of Education graduates currently hold positions as teachers, building administrators, and central office personnel throughout Virginia, the surrounding states and as far away as China. Bluefield College teacher education graduates have been recognized as outstanding teachers of the year and have received various awards, including Teacher of the Year Awards, Ashland Oil Teaching Awards, Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, and Christa McAuliffe Fellowship Grant Awards. Bluefield College graduates have served in leadership positions, including Executive Secretary of the National Education Association, member of the Virginia State Board of Education, and as superintendents of school districts.

Graduate Schools

Many graduates have successfully completed master’s degrees from various institutions, including Bluefield College, Virginia Tech, Radford University, University of Virginia and Concord University. Beyond that level, other students have achieved a doctoral degree from Virginia Tech. They have received master’s degrees in reading, guidance counseling, library science, educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, and leadership, as well as content areas.

Clubs and Organizations

Students belong to the Student Virginia Education Association (SVEA), which allows them to connect with the National Education Association and provides opportunities for leadership, service, professionalism and celebration of the profession.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Teacher Education Program

  1. Complete an application, including essay questions with a minimum score as noted in the rubric provided on the application.
  2. Request four recommendation forms to be completed by non-education college faculty.
  3. Have and maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  4. Have and maintain at least a 2.75 average in the major (endorsement) area and demonstrate proficiency in the area.
  5. Have and maintain at least a 2.75 grade point average in all professional education courses. No grade below C (2.00) will be accepted toward licensure in any professional education course including student teaching.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in written and oral communication, reading, and mathematics by achieving minimum scores on tests designated by the School of Education and/or the Virginia State Board of Education (currently Praxis Core Mathematics and Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment), through subsequent course work, if warranted. It is the teacher licensure candidate’s responsibility to submit required test scores to the School of Education.
  7. Successfully complete ENG 1013, ENG 1023, PSY 1013 and EDU 2003, with no less than a grade of C (2.00).
  8. Complete background check requirements as mandated by Tazewell County Public Schools for participation in field observations and student teaching.
  9. Complete a teacher education interview with a minimum score of 3 or above (out of 5) according to the rubric provided on the instruction sheet.
  10. Demonstrate moral, social, and intellectual qualities deemed acceptable to the teaching profession.
  11. Possess those health and physical qualities that are deemed necessary for teaching.

Teacher licensure candidates should be aware that individuals who have been convicted of a felony or who have had a teaching license revoked or suspended may not be eligible for a Virginia teaching license. Such individuals should petition the State Board of Education to determine eligibility before pursuing a teacher licensure program.

Student Handbooks

Teacher Education Handbook

For students entering into the Teacher Education Program.

Open Handbook

Student Teaching Handbook

Resource for the Teacher Education Program culminating experience.


Being part of the Bluefield College Teacher Education Program has made me feel fully prepared to be a future educator. I have learned from my advisers and professors what it means to be a compassionate teacher.

Alexis Thompson, Bluefield, VA, Class of 2017