Elementary/Special Education at Providence College

Why Study Elementary/Special Education at Providence College?
Our program is one of the few in New England that provides dual certification in elementary (grades 1 – 6) and special (grades 1 – 6) education. As a result, our graduates are highly sought by elementary and middle school principals.

All of our teacher education programs have been approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education, a member of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, so our students are certified to teach in Rhode Island upon graduation and can transfer their certificate to more than 45 states.

Department Website

What you'll study

Our program trains students to approach the field of elementary-level education with an appreciation of individual differences and an understanding of ways to meet those differences. Our central focus is to prepare — in an inclusive and diverse setting — future teachers to educate all children. The elementary/special education major is a merged program that emphasizes preparation in both areas.

Throughout this program, elementary/special education majors develop an understanding of effective elementary curriculum and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of individual differences and strategies to differentiate instruction and implement specialized supports to meet students’ academic and behavioral needs. Upon completion of the program, elementary/special education majors are eligible for certification in both elementary education and special education in Rhode Island and a number of other states.

Selected Courses

  • Assessment of Children’s Individual Differences
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders: Theory and Practice
  • Home/School/Community
  • Literacy I: Methods and Materials for Teaching Reading
  • Literacy II: Teaching Language Arts & Social Studies in the Elementary School
  • Teaching Mathematics to K-12 At-Risk Students


Our faculty is incredibly active and engaged in and out of the classroom through local, national, and international education associations, councils, and conferences, and they take that back to students in the classroom.

Our faculty:

  • conduct research in the field to inform and improve teaching methods and environments for students of all abilities.
  • sit on the boards of national associations including the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  • have spoken to policy makers on Capitol Hill about needs to better serve students with disabilities.


A teacher excitedly looks on as some young Catholic school students decorate Friars jerseys

Partnerships for Experiential Learning
Providence College maintains a variety of partnerships on the national and local levels that allow our students to engage in first-hand experiences beyond the classroom. These partnerships include: Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education; Education Club, PC’s on-campus club that offers members the opportunity to tutor at local schools and engage in peer mentorship; the PC chapter of The Council for Exceptional Children; PC Pals, a program that creates relationships between PC students and local schoolchildren through after-school programs; the PC chapter of Best Buddies, an international nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for one-to-one friendship, employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and partnerships with local organizations like the Providence Community Library and the Providence Children & Youth Cabinet.

Student-Teaching and Instruction Designed for Diverse Communities
Elementary/special education teacher candidates must complete 720 hours (two semesters of 360 hours each) of supervised student teaching in order to become licensed. In addition, our program focuses on developing skills and techniques to work effectively with students and families from all cultures and backgrounds through the following additional requirements: completion of at least one diversity proficiency course; completion of one practicum experience in an urban setting; and demonstration of the ability to prepare and implement lessons that include effective strategies for working with students from diverse cultures and backgrounds.



of 2017-2021 elementary and secondary education graduates are employed and/or attending graduate school

  • 39% are employed only
  • 27% are attending school only
  • 20% are employed and attending school

Selected Places of Employment/Service

  • Teach for America
  • Bright Horizons Family Solutions
  • Schools throughout the United States, including
    • New York
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    • Maine
    • Texas
    • Ohio
    • New Jersey
    • Vermont

Selected Graduate Schools

  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Merrimack College
  • Northeastern University
  • Providence College
  • University of Connecticut
  • Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College