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Special Education (Focus Program - Learning Behavior Specialist I) Online Educator Endorsement

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The online Focus LBS I Program offered at Northeastern is designed for educators who hold current Illinois state teaching credentials and would like to obtain a full Illinois LBS I teaching endorsement. This comprehensive and rigorous pathway allows educators to earn LBS I endorsement without committing to a degree program.

The Focus LBS I course sequence provides educators with formal instruction on critical special education topics and skills, including positive behavior supports, response to intervention, and working with students from diverse backgrounds. Content courses are offered exclusively online with the possible exception of the final practicum course, which is an in-person practicum offered in the William Itkin Children's Service Center on the Northeastern main campus or placement at candidate's current school site depending on distance from the university.

Department Website

Admission to the Program 

  • Applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to the College of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Submit evidence of Illinois Professional Educator License (Types 03, 04, 09, or 10).
  • Provide evidence of cleared federal criminal background check as required by the University and cooperating school districts, including Chicago Public Schools.
  • Once admission requirements are successfully met, contact the Program Advisor for program entry information and an appropriate sequence plan.


The 9 courses listed total 27 credit hours of coursework for the endorsement program.

  • SPED 501 - Development and Characteristics of Children and Youth with Disabilities 
  • SPED 503 - Historical, Philosophical, & Legal Foundations of Special Education 
  • SPED 504 - Principles of Education Assessment in Special Education 
  • SPED 506 - Technology in Special Education 
  • SPED 509 - Methods I: Specialized Curriculum and Methods in Special Education 
  • SPED 510 - Methods III: Strategies of Behavior Management 
  • SPED 511 - Alternative Programming and Curriculum in Special Education 
  • SPED 520 - Assessment Lab: Applied Diagnostic Assessment 
  • SPED 514B - Internship III: Applied Teaching in Special Education (in-person practicum, please see *Educator Internship)

Please note, the LBS I Focus Program Committee may require additional courses based on the evaluation of the candidate’s program entry.

* Educator Internship

In the final semester of the Focus LBS I program, enrolled educators perform a required internship placement (SPED 514B - Internship III: Applied Teaching in Special Education) in the William Itkin Children's Service Center on the Northeastern main campus. Candidates whose current teaching employment is beyond a 20 mile radius from the university may have the option of completing the SPED 514B experience at their present school site.This placement provides educators the opportunity to design and implement principles of special education services, including formal assessment, designing diagnostic instruction, instructional technology, and summative reporting, all under the guidance of Northeastern faculty.

Course Schedule

Students enter the Focus LBS I program as a cohort; the program can be completed in one year and one semester. Contact the program's advisor to discuss a schedule that fits your needs.




SPED 501 SPED 504 SPED 509
SPED 503 SPED 506 SPED 510



SPED 511


SPED 520    

Licensing Requirements 

In addition to the aforementioned courses, enrolled educators must successfully pass requisite state exams for full endorsement, including the Special Education General Curriculum Test (#163), Learning Behavior Specialist (#155), and Assessment of Professional Teaching (#188). Additional state exams may be required depending on individual educator's valid credentials.

Program Contact Information 

Ebony Jiminez Lee, M.A., L.P.C., N.C.C.
Program Advisor
Phone: (773) 442-5933


Prospective applicants should note that the Focus LBS I program is a non-degree program, therefore may not be eligible for some federal and state financial aid. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for complete information.


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