BA in Special Education, Degree Details
How This Program Works
WGU offers degrees, not classes.
WGU does not rely upon classes in the traditional sense. We don’t base your progress on accumulating credit hours, but rather on completing challenging assessments that measure your knowledge and skills in a subject area. We ask you to "prove you know your stuff." You’ll study. You’ll write papers. You’ll take tests. You’ll complete assignments.
Here’s how it works:
- Your degree requirements are carefully developed to give you high-level competence for teaching students with mild to moderate cross-categorical disabilities.
- You will complete a 12-20 week session of full-time student teaching in an actual classroom. (An extra fee applies.)
- You must pass or complete rigorous assessments (tests, papers, assignments) which will require you to demonstrate your competence in each subject area.
- You will work with your assigned mentor on your personalized Degree Plan that establishes the pace at which you prepare for and tackle the required assessments in your course of study.
- Each term is a full six months in length. During each term, you can complete as much of your degree as possible. (Exception: your 12-20 week Demonstration Teaching experience.)
- Progress is measured through Competency Units (CUs), which are credit equivalents that track your completion of the required assessments. To maintain full-time status, you are expected to complete at least 12 CUs in a term; more are possible.
- You and your mentor will determine the learning resources (online courses, textbooks, tutorials, etc.) that will best serve you in your competency development.
- With few exceptions, you will be able to choose when and where you study, and together with your mentor, you’ll schedule your assessments.
It’s your program.
Online learning isn’t easy. You should expect to work hard and spend 20 hours or more per week on your studies. But your program will be flexible enough to fit into your lifestyle, not the other way around.
How Long Your Program Takes May Vary
For students with an associate’s degree or its equivalent: 2 to 2½ years.
For students with little or no prior college: 4 to 5 years.
WGU’s competency-based approach results in degree completion times that can vary from student to student. The amount of time it will take you depends upon four factors:
- The number of credits you transfer in.
- The knowledge and skills you already possess in the field.
- The amount of time you spend working on your program each week.
- Your self-motivation and determination.
Many students proceed faster than the normal pace designed into each program. But don’t assume doing so is easy. WGU programs are quite rigorous. The pace at which you complete your WGU program depends upon how quickly you are able to take and pass the required assessments. Successful students can commit 20 hours or more per week to their studies and are often able to complete their programs more quickly.
Speak to an Enrollment Counselor for a personalized estimate of your time to completion.
Tuition That’s Affordable
Basic Tuition: $2,890 per six-month term
Resource Fee: $145 per six-month term (non-refundable)
Application Fee: $65 (one time)
Demonstration Teaching (student teaching) fee: $1,000 ($100 application fee + $900 fee)
You pay for the time, not the credits. Tuition is charged at a flat rate every six months and covers all coursework attempted in that time. A full-time load for this degree program is at least 12 competency units (credit equivalents) per six-month term. Whether you complete more or fewer units, you are charged the same flat rate.
You have a significant advantage if you have extensive experience in your chosen field and the time to take on a substantial course load. If you can shorten the time it takes for you to complete your degree, you pay less. Here’s an example:
- 4 years (or 8 terms): $23,120
- 3 years (or 6 terms): $17,340
- 2 years (or 4 terms): $11,560
How does tuition compare to other online schools? Very favorably. Our tuition is typically half what other reputable online universities charge. Other schools charge as much as $400 per credit, which can ultimately cost between $30,000 and $60,000 for your degree. Plus, at WGU you have the benefit of cost savings if you can complete your program faster.
Federal financial aid is available to those who qualify. Some types of loans are based on financial need; however, one type of loan is available to most students. And because tuition is low, you should be able to finish your degree without large education debts.
A Generous Credit Transfer Policy
A personal evaluation of your transcripts from prior colleges will be needed to determine whether you will be able to clear any degree requirements.
The good news: If you possess an associate’s degree (A.A. or A.S.) in Teacher Education (or an equivalent) from a regionally accredited school, you should be able to clear your liberal arts requirements as well as the lower-level education assessment requirements.
Because of our competency-based approach to education, you will always benefit from knowledge and skills you’ve already developed from prior college, work experience, or your own personal abilities to help expedite your degree program.
Speak to an Enrollment Counselor about your situation for a better explanation.
Accredited and Credible
Credibility is a critical factor when considering an online degree program. Accreditation is a key indicator of a university’s credibility among both academia and employers. WGU is:
- NCATE accreditedby the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. WGU is the first exclusively online university to receive NCATE accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure, a testament to the fact that WGU graduates "have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn."
- Regionally accreditedby the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Northwest Commission is also responsible for the accreditation of other major universities such as the University of Washington, University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, and the University of Utah, to name a few.
- Founded by 19 governors and supported by major businessesWGU was founded by 19 U.S. governors. WGU is also supported by over 20 major corporations and foundations who believe in the university’s commitment to producing highly competent graduates. Several of these corporations continue to serve on our National Advisory Board.
Our focus on competency development is also valued by employers. As a graduate of WGU, you’ll have a valued credential that is recognized by employers. You can learn more about how employers view WGU graduates by exploring our Student Success and Performance Data.
WGU Admission Process
To be admitted into this Teachers College program, you must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants who do not possess an AA or AS degree will also be required to take and pass the WGU Readiness Assessment—a short, three-part online admissions test that helps determine your likelihood of success in a WGU online degree program.
Before beginning the Demonstration Teaching (student teaching) portion of the degree program, you must also meet specific admissions requirements for the state in which you reside. These can include state-specific basic skills tests (such as the PRAXIS I and/or II). Registering and paying for these tests may be your responsibility. You are required to meet these state-specific requirements prior to beginning the Foundations of Teaching domain of study.
(There may also be additional requirements that apply before you are permitted into an actual classroom to practice teach.)
Speak to an Enrollment Counselor to better understand what is required of you.