College of Education > Academics > Counseling & Special Education > Licensure & Endorsements > Special Education for Teachers Endorsement (LBS1 PreK-21)

Special Education for Teachers Endorsement (LBS1 PreK-21)

Special educators are exceptional teachers who have a deep understanding of students with disabilities and a repertoire of effective instructional strategies that enable them to help students reach their maximum potential. Special educators also mentor other teachers, manage teams, coach paraprofessionals and work closely with parents.

The two-year Special Education for Teachers Endorsement (LBS1 PreK-21) program is designed to prepare currently licensed teachers for new roles as collaborators in specialized instruction and as advocates for students with disabilities. The program addresses the essential knowledge, skills and dispositions required to work with students with both high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities from ages five to 21 in a variety of settings. It is designed for those who want to be excellent teachers, strong collaborators and advocates for students with disabilities.

Educators who earn a LBSI endorsement may work as special education teachers in urban and suburban, public and private schools, and private practice and private learning centers provide other career options. A critical shortage of special education teachers makes job opportunities plentiful.

Courses in the Special Education for Teachers Endorsement (LBS1 PreK-21) program are a subset of courses in the Special Education for Teachers concentration in the Special Education master’s degree program. Students who complete the endorsement program have the option to continue coursework in Special Education if they want to eventually earn a full master’s degree in this area.

Are you interested in enrolling in this program? View its admission requirements and application instructions here or contact the College of Education’s Office of Graduate Admission at (773) 325-4405.


The Special Education (LBSI) Endorsement program leads to an LBSI license which can be added to an Illinois teaching license (PEL).

Program Format

To accommodate working professionals, all classes in the Special Education (LBSI) Licensure program meet in the evening at DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus or online. In addition, the program’s schedule is flexible, allowing students to enroll full-time or part-time as their professional and personal schedules allow.

Program Requirements

The Special Education (LBSI) Licensure program includes 32 quarter hours of coursework in Literacy and Specialized Instruction, as well as two summer practicum experiences (8 quarter hours.) Each practicum involves six full weeks of intensive, supervised clinical experience in a cooperating school that operates an extended school year program.

This program is typically eligible for financial aid. Please see this document and consult your advisor in the COE.

Admission Requirements  

To be eligible for the Special Education for Teachers (Learning Behavior Specialist 1) licensure program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a valid Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL).

To apply, please submit the following materials to the Office of Graduate Admission:

  • A completed College of Education graduate application
  • Application fee ($40)
  • Copy of  a valid Illinois teaching  license
  • A bachelor’s degree conferred by an accredited, recognized institution
  • A previous grade point average of 2.75 or above on a 4.0 scale
  • Two letters of reference, one of which must be from persons familiar with your academic work
  • One official transcript from each college or university attended
  • Personal statement (see below)*
  • Resume or curriculum vitae showing evidence of adequate background for the program.
  • The admission process also may include an interview with program faculty. 

*Personal statement

Write a personal statement that discusses your future goals and your thoughts about your career as a special educator. As part of your statement please consider the following: the possible tasks/roles of a special education teacher are multiple and include inclusion specialist, team teacher with general educators, specialized instruction for exceptional students, advocate for exceptional students, response to intervention (RTI) coordinator, case manager or provider of staff development. From your perspective, rank order the tasks/roles and discuss your rationale for the top ranked roles.

Course Requirements 

LBS1 PreK-21 Endorsement Requirements (40 hours)

Special Education Core Courses: 32 hours required, grade of B+ or better required

Clinical Experience  

The program requires two summer practicum experiences. Each practicum involves six full weeks of intensive supervised field experience in a cooperating school that operates an extended school year program. Candidates must apply for each practicum, and upon approval they are placed in appropriate summer practicum sites by the program.  Practicum sites may also screen candidates prior to accepting them for placement. Candidates who will be admitted to the practicum will assume full teaching responsibility and will have weekly opportunities for feedback and discussion of issues and problems encountered.  A grade of B+ or better is required for eligibility to participate in each summer practicum.   

Practicum Courses: 8 hours required, grade of B+ or better required

Licensure Tests

All individuals licensed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) are required to complete licensure tests specific to their teaching license.   
LBS1 PreK-21 Endorsement students must complete the following tests: 

  • Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) (test #400) - assesses knowledge of reading comprehension, language arts, writing, and math.    Test must be passed one quarter prior to Student Teaching.  *Check with your advisor about qualifying for a waiver with acceptable ACT or SAT test scores.
  • LBS1 Content Area Test (test #155) – assesses knowledge of working with students with disabilities and special needs.  Test is required before Student Teaching (deadlines apply)
  • Special Education General Curriculum Test (test #163) – assesses knowledge of reading & literacy, mathematics, natural science, and social science.  Test is required for admission to Student Teaching.

Candidates who are conditionally admitted with an out-of-state (OOS) teaching license are required to transfer their license into Illinois, and therefore may also be required to take additional licensure tests.  Students should work directly with ISBE to fulfill outstanding test requirements.  These additional licensure tests may include the following:

  • Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) (test #400) - assesses knowledge of reading comprehension, language arts, writing, and math. 
  • EdTPA – an electronic portfolio that includes video clips of instruction, lesson plans, student work samples, analysis of student learning and reflective commentaries.  Usually completed during pre-service student teaching experience.

Registration, testing schedules, and fees for ISBE licensure tests are available on the ISBE website. 

Note that the LBS1 Licensure program listed above does not lead to a degree.

Content displayed from DePaul University catalog.

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