Degree Overview

Bachelor of Arts Special Education (K-12) - Leads to Teacher Licensure

Our online teaching degree leading to special education certification will prepare you to fill a vital need in your community. The B.A. in Special Education (K-12) teaches the content knowledge and effective teaching skills to become a special education instructor for students with mild to moderate disabilities. This degree is a cross-categorical model for initial certification. You’ll become a highly qualified educator prepared to make a difference with those who need it most. This degree program leads to dual licensure in Elementary Education and Special Education.

Note: As part of Western Governors University, the online teaching degree programs at WGU Texas are NCATE accredited, a testament to the fact that WGU graduates "have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn."

Who the Program Is For:

  • Individuals who need a bachelor’s degree and want to become a certified special education teacher.
  • Unlicensed teachers, substitute teachers, career changers, retired military personnel, school paraprofessionals, and others who feel the call to teach.
  • Individuals who have completed some college coursework or have applicable work experience.
  • Individuals who can typically spend 15 or more hours per week on their studies.

This program will be flexible and adaptable to your schedule. Demonstration teaching and the cohort seminar are offered twice each year, in the fall and spring. Click here to learn how your program works.

What You'll Learn

Essential Knowledge and Skills

This online degree program requires the completion of coursework to ensure you have the essential skills and knowledge you need to become a licensed teacher, as well as practice teaching in an actual classroom and the completion of a professional portfolio.

Key Subject Areas

These Courses Add to Your Credentials

  • Teacher Education Foundations
  • Teacher Education Diversity
  • Special Education
  • Preclinical Experiences
  • Instructional Planning and Presentation
  • Elementary Education Methods
  • Demonstration Teaching (practice teaching)

Core Subject Areas

These General Education Assessments May Be Cleared through Transfer Credit

  • English Composition
  • Mathematics
  • Introduction to Humanities
  • Elements of Effective Communication
  • Survey of World History
  • Survey of United States Constitution and Government
  • Health, Fitness and Wellness
  • Integrated Natural Sciences
  • Survey of United States History
  • Critical Thinking and Logic

Practice Teaching

In-classroom experience is an invaluable part of becoming a highly qualified teacher. Your in-classroom experience will help you elevate the academic knowledge and teaching skills you’ve developed into a practical way of effectively and confidently tackling the challenges of your own classroom.

Professional Portfolio

The online B.A. — Special Education degree program also requires the successful completion of a professional portfolio.

Your professional portfolio is something to be proud of – it will include your resume and Philosophy of Teaching Statement and serve as a way to showcase the skills you have acquired throughout your degree program and demonstration teaching. You'll take what you've learned and apply it to a real-world situation by recommending strategies for effectively handling actual issues you'll face in the workplace.

How It Works

A Degree Program That Fits Your Schedule

WGU Texas is designed to let you go to school on your time, not according to a class schedule. Our online degree program is flexible and puts you at the center of your education: you choose when and where to complete your coursework. Once you demonstrate your competency in a subject area, you can move on to your next course.

Online learning is not easy.

You should expect to work hard and spend 15 hours or more per week on your studies. Still, your program will be flexible enough to fit into your schedule, not the other way around.

How Long Will It Take?

It Depends On You

The average time it takes to complete a B.A. — Special Education degree program at WGU Texas is 2-2.5 years for students with an associate's degree or equivalent and 4-5 years for students with little or no prior college.

WGU Texas’ competency-based method, which allows you to advance through your courses using the skills and knowledge you already have, may allow you to finish your degree in even less time.

The program requires a total of 137 Competency Units (CUs), which are WGU Texas credit equivalents. If you’ve taken courses or received a degree from another college or university, you may be able to clear some of these requirements through transfer credit.

If you’ve taken courses or received a degree from another college or university, you may be able to clear some of these requirements through transfer credit.

Ultimately, the pace at which you complete your online B.A. — Special Education degree program depends on how rapidly you pass assessments.

It’s your program. It’s up to you. Create your own schedule, choose your pace and achieve your personal goals.

"My mentors were fabulous and they were very supportive. Going back to school having a family and being an older student, there are always obstacles that can knock you off track. My mentors played a very pivotal role in getting me to graduation." Phyllis Boone,
B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8) Graduate

How Competency-Based Education Benefits You

Put Your Existing Knowledge to Work

Western Governors University (WGU Texas’ parent university) was the first university in the country to employ a cutting edge, competency-based learning model that lets you use skills and knowledge you already have to accelerate your degree program.

In WGU Texas’ online degree programs, students advance by demonstrating their competence in each subject area. You’ll be able to move quickly through material you already know so you can spend your time focusing on what you still need to learn.

  • You’ll work with your assigned Faculty Mentor on a personalized Degree Plan that establishes the pace at which you move through the program.
  • With few exceptions, you’ll be able to choose when and where you study.
  • You’ll complete as much work as YOU choose during each six-month term.
  • You’ll collaborate with your Faculty Mentor to determine the learning resources that will help you develop and demonstrate your competency in each subject area.
  • You’ll be required to complete at least 12 CUs per term for bachelor's degree programs and 8 CUs per term for graduate degree programs in order to make On Time Progress. If you choose to and are able, you can add courses and move more quickly through your program.

How Much Will It Cost?

Less Than You Think

We're committed to keeping tuition low and making sure our online education degree programs remain the very best value for hardworking students. WGU Texas doesn’t spend money on classrooms, research facilities, or football stadiums. Instead, we focus on keeping costs low. In fact, we haven’t increased tuition since 2008. And because we charge tuition at a flat rate each term, if you complete coursework ahead of schedule, you can save yourself money as well as time.

Cost of Earning a Degree

You’ll pay the same low tuition each 6-month term, regardless of how many courses you complete. If you accelerate your degree program, you’ll pay less for your degree.

Tuition and Fees

For this program, a full-time course load is 12 competency units per term. Because we allow you to complete extra courses at no extra cost, you may be able to increase the value of your program by dedicating extra time to your studies.

  • $2,890: Tuition per 6-Month Term
  • $145: Resource Fee per 6-Month Term
  • $65: One-Time Application Fee
  • $1,000: One-Time Demonstration Teaching Fee

WGU Texas' online B.A. — Special Education degree program is designed to be affordable for hard-working adults with bills to pay.

Learn more about tuition and fees.

WGU Texas Is Half The Cost

WGU Texas’ B.A. — Special Education degree program is about half the cost of a comparable program at another online university. An online teaching degree at a traditional university can cost close to $50,000 while a typical four-year bachelor's degree program at WGU Texas is less than $24,000.

Tuition Comparison: B.A. — Special Education degree

WGU Texas Grand Canyon University Rio Salado College
$2,890 per six month term.
If it takes four years = $23,120
$52,750 126-129 credit hours x $215 per credit hour = $27,090 - $27,735

*Note: This chart is for illustration only and reflects the tuition information made public by other institutions and WGU Texas’ standard tuition of $2,890 per term as of February 1, 2015. Tuition for the MBA and nursing programs is higher at $3,250 per term. Actual rates will vary depending on the number of terms needed to complete the program. Check the website for the most current tuition information.

Compare WGU Texas tuition to tuition at other schools

You Pay for Time—Not Credits

  • No matter how many courses you complete each term, your tuition stays the same.
  • The more courses you complete each term, the fewer terms you have until graduation.
  • Our competency-based model gives you the opportunity to accelerate your progress.
  • If you complete your program ahead of schedule, you'll save both time and money.

Financial Aid

You Can Afford to Earn a Degree

WGU's financial aid experts are on hand to help you finance your education in the smartest way possible. 76% of WGU students receive some type of financial aid.

Federal Financial Aid is available to most students.

Respected, Recognized, and Accredited

Same Accreditation as State Universities and Private Colleges

Through Western Governors University, WGU Texas is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Northwest Commission is also responsible for the accreditation of other major universities in the West, including the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, and the University of Utah, among many others. Learn more about accreditation here.

Western Governors University (WGU Texas' parent university) was the first exclusively online university to receive accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). WGU has Teachers College graduates working in all 50 states, and has been recognized by the White House as an example of what works in postsecondary education.

The NCATE accrediting team extensively reviewed the entire Teachers College curriculum to ensure that “candidates have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn.” This involved intensive interviews with students, faculty, graduates, school district personnel, and education experts, as well as a review of WGU Texas student performance on national performance exams.

An online teaching degree from WGU Texas tells employers that you're serious about success.

Take the next step into a prosperous future.

WGU Texas Graduates Succeed

Become a Success Story

Our latest survey of leading employers speaks volumes about our ability to prepare grads to work in many industries:

99%of employers agreed that WGU graduates meet or exceed their expectations.


of employers said WGU grads exceed expectations.


of employers rated WGU graduates’ job performance as good as or better than the job performance of graduates from other institutions.


of employers consider WGU graduates prepared for their jobs.


of employers rate the "soft skills" of WGU grads as equal to or better than graduates from other institutions.

Note: 2014 Survey of 300 Employers by Harris Poll

You can learn more about how employers view WGU Texas grads by exploring our National Student Success and Performance Data.

"The big draw was the fact that it was online. I could work at my own pace." James Dye, WGU Alumnus

How a Course Works

Prove What You Know and Move Forward

You set your own pace by demonstrating your skills. In the online degree programs at WGU Texas, you'll advance through each course by first mastering the course content, then completing and passing challenging assessments that measure your knowledge and skills in each subject area.

These rigorous assessments (tests, papers, assignments, and projects) let you demonstrate your competence in each subject area in order to pass the course and earn Competency Units (CUs), or credit equivalents.

WGU Texas sets a high standard, and we want our students to succeed. You'll be given ample opportunity to master the subject matter and re-take assessments as needed in order to graduate.

Get Started

Enrollment is easy. View our Enrollment Checklist for the seven easy steps to getting started.

To be admitted into this Teachers College program, you must be and Texas resident and possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants who do not possess an appropriate AA or AS degree will also be required to take and pass the WGU Texas Readiness Assessment — a short, multi-part online admissions test that helps determine the likelihood of success in a WGU Texas program.

See More about Teachers College Admission Requirements

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor and Apply Today

You'll be on your way to a successful career. A world of opportunity awaits.

Request Info Apply Now

Questions and Answers

Select a question from the left, see the answer to the right.

Should I consider financial aid?

Using financial aid is a personal decision. When making this decision, you should know that a degree is a great investment in yourself that will pay for itself many times over. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn on average almost a million dollars more over the course their careers compared to those without one. A master’s degree typically has a similar impact on your wallet. You should definitely consider federal financial aid if it means the difference between getting your degree or not. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor to learn more.

Is WGU Texas a good fit for you?

Take the quiz

Schema Markup for WGU Texas Logo


Send me the $65 application fee waiver code,
and more information about earning a degree at WGU.

You’re using an unsupported version of your browser..

You’ll still have full access to the site, but some functionality may be lost. For the best experience, upgrade your browser by following the links below.