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Special Education

Teacher and Student in Special Ed Classroom

Special Education at Wheaton College

The Wheaton College Department of Education provides a unique opportunity for future educators interested in pursuing God’s heart for people with disabilities and serving as His hands and feet in schools across the globe. In Illinois, the special education endorsement is called Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) and our program is designed to equip educators to effectively serve students with exceptional needs guided by a biblical worldview. 


"Our desire is to empower our future teachers with the knowledge and resources of best practices to help them reach and inspire all students whether in a specialized or general education setting." - Thomas Boehm, Ann Haskins Associate Professor of Special Education, Wheaton College.

Learning and Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) Endorsement

  • Added to your Professional Educator’s License
  • Offers extra training in serving students with disabilities
  • Includes four content areas (18 credit hours) with hands-on training in local schools
  • Issued upon licensure/graduation

We are committed to seamless integration between special education (SPED) and general education (GenEd) to prepare all teachers to serve all students. All education students, undergraduate and graduate, are encouraged to pursue an LBS1 endorsement in special education. Whether your hope is to become a special education teacher or you simply want to expand your skillset to better serve all students in your traditional classroom, this program will give you the experience and enhanced credentials you need. This program is especially designed for: 

  • Special education teachers
  • General education teachers
  • Future administrators and leaders in education

Courses and Recommended Sequence

Please see our required courses and a recommended sequence to earn the special education endorsement. Please note the courses highlighted in bold type are required and offered  at the times listed. Your advisor can assist you in exploring possible modifications to fit these requirements into your schedule.

Licensure Test

All individuals licensed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) are required to complete licensure tests specific to their teaching license. LBS1 Endorsement students must also complete the LBS1 Content Area Test which assesses knowledge of working with students with disabilities and special needs. The LBS1 #155 test has been redeveloped but is still available; the LBS1 #290 test has replaced it but students may choose to take either one until the 155 is retired in June of 2023. 

Student Voice: Laura Smith, '17

Laura Smith“Thanks to the Special Education Program, I am better prepared to provide a quality education for all of my students. This endorsement process has equipped me to advocate for students with special needs and their families. I am excited to encourage and foster the potential of all students, including those with special needs. I have accepted a general education 4th grade position. It is a testament to the department that I actually got to choose between several possible positions.”
- Laura Smith, '17