University of Hawaiʻi — West Oʻahu

Special Education (SPED) Licensure Pathway

All Education majors have the option of adding the field of Special Education to their selected general Education area of concentration (Elementary (K-6), Middle Level (6-8), or Secondary (6-12)). Teacher candidates interested in Special Education licensure can take an additional 15 credits of coursework that will qualify them to be recommended to the Hawai‘i Teacher Standards Board for a SPED teaching license. 

The 15 -credit “Add a Field” program of study is taken in addition to the candidateʻs general education curriculum. Six credits are completed during fall and spring semesters, with the remaining 9 credits taken during summer school. The program culminates in a 15-week, full-time professional student teaching semester with seminar. Candidates pursuing a Special Education teaching license will divide their student teaching between their area of concentration and special education. Field placements occur in schools island-wide and especially in Central and Leeward O‘ahu and on the Wai‘anae Coast.


Teaching is a rewarding career that provides benefits and job security in an era of teacher shortages across the United States. Teachers often continue their professional development via graduate programs in education, including master’s and doctoral degree programs in curriculum and instruction or specialized fields in literacy, special education, and English language learners. The Hawai‘i State Department of Education reports the starting salary for Special Education teachers as $47,443 for the 2017-18 school year.

Graduates find teaching positions in public and private schools and serve as consultants to industries. Once licensed in Hawai‘i, Special Education classroom teachers may seek reciprocal certification in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Testimony from Angela Johnson