The Master of Arts in Special Education-LBS I Program develops professionals who are new to teaching and those who are already licensed but seeking a master’s degree. Candidates graduate with the ability to work effectively with students across a wide range of disabilities (Pk-21) in public and private school settings. Our program provides initial teaching licensure with endorsement in special education (LBS I) from an accredited institution.

The program is a 47-credit hour program sequence that requires a minimum of 2 1/2 to 3 years to complete (Fall, Spring, Summer). Candidates gain hands-on experience in assessment, instructional planning and instruction and state-of-the art technologies designed to foster the learning of students with exceptional learning needs across a wide range of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, learning strengths and needs.

The Special Education program is nationally accredited by the Council for Exceptional Children.

CEC logo

Credit hours required: 47


The program admits students for the fall and spring semesters.

Students must apply for admission to the Northeastern Illinois University College of Graduate Studies and Research. Additional information may be obtained by contacting Effie Kritikos at

Request Information

Learn more about Northeastern and our programs today!


Program Benefits

Courses at the Main Campus typically take place in the late afternoon/early evening during a 15-week semester. Courses are offered from 4:15-6:55 p.m. and 7:05-9:45 p.m. with approximately one-third of courses offered online. Internship experiences are integrated throughout the program in a manner convenient to working professionals.

  • Earning Illinois State Board of Education’s Professional Educator License (PEL) with Learning Behavior Specialist (LBS I) Endorsement
  • Earning an advanced degree from a highly-regarded academic institution
  • Taking coursework from highly experienced faculty with a long-standing, positive reputation for exemplary special education preparation
  • Entering a meaningful career where you can make a difference in the lives of individuals with exceptional learning needs
  • Taking courses that are practical and relevant with immediate transfer
  • Tuition that is 25-50 percent lower than most public or private universities
  • Affordable and interest-free payment plans

Completion of the Master of Arts in Special Education-LBS I will satisfy all standards for teacher licensure as required by the Illinois State Board of Education. Northeastern Illinois University has not made a determination as to whether this education degree program meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in any of the other 54 U.S. states and jurisdictions. Specific requirements for licensure or certification in states other than Illinois vary from state-to-state. In some cases, you may need to take additional coursework or exams to meet individual state requirements and/or you may need to complete background checks.

Career Options

Graduates from the program obtain immediate employment as special education teachers across a range of grade levels (Pk-21) in public and private schools. These individuals provide instruction and support to learners through direct and indirect service delivery options including teaching positions in inclusion settings, resource/pull-out and self-contained classrooms.

Other career opportunities include employment as special needs consultants, private tutor and job coaches for individuals with disabilities.

For more detailed career information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Academic Catalog Information

Take a closer look at the Master of Arts in Special Education LBS I program and the courses offered toward the degree.

Special Education - LBS I, M.A.

Department and Contact Information

If you are interested in the program or have questions, please contact the Department of Literacy, Leadership, Development and Special Education.

Literacy, Leadership, Development and Special Education

About Northeastern

Northeastern Illinois University is home to students from all corners of the world and is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the nation. Our small class sizes, flexible schedules and dedicated faculty can help you succeed in your studies.

We offer an education with value.

Apply to Northeastern