A Career Guide for the Exceptional Student Education Major

Exceptional Student Education is a field designed to prepare graduates to teach and work with individuals with various types of disabilities. Most majors who seek careers in ESE become teachers and earn teaching certification. Graduates certified in ESE, will be eligible to teach students with mental, physical, behavioral and learning disabilities, as well as work in a variety of related fields.

The FAU Exceptional Student Education curriculum covers a wide spectrum of issues relating to individuals with disabilities, including the development and characteristics of learners, individual learning differences, instructional strategies, social development, and language development. The curriculum also encompasses learning environments, instructional planning, assessment, professional and ethical practices, and collaboration.

In additional to the Bachelor's Degree, the program continues at the graduate level offering a Masters Degree in Exceptional Student Education with two tracks. Student currently certified as teachers, can broaden their knowledge of ESE strategies, select an area of concentration in which they can pursue more detailed preparation, or pursue an additional teaching endorsement. Student new to ESE can earn a degree while gaining initial teaching certification and ESOL endorsement.

The following Interests and Aptitudes/Qualities are associated with or needed for success in the study of this major.

  • Children
  • Teaching
  • Working with People
  • Reading & Literacy
  • Science & Math
  • Language Arts
  • Community Involvement
  • Problem Solving
  • Social Studies
  • Independence
  • Strong Interpersonal Skills
  • Effective Communicator
  • Patience
  • Responsibility
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility


Prior to entry into the ESE program, candidates for a Bachelors Degree in Exceptional Student Education must complete all University and General Education Requirements, including Introduction to Education (EDF 2005), Teaching Diverse Populations (EDG 2071), and Introduction to Educational Technology (EME 2040). Upon completion of the ESE program, students will be eligible to apply for a Florida teaching certificate in Exceptional Student Education. This certification applies to grades K-12. The undergraduate ESE program is a limited access, single entry point program. That is, students begin the sequence of ESE courses in the fall semester of their junior year and complete the program at the end of the spring semester of their senior year (5 semester). ESE courses are offered once a year, and students must follow the sequence of courses to avoid falling behind by one year.

Students applying to the Masters program may begin their sequence in either the summer or fall semesters. Graduate course rotations are available across four FAU campuses.


The following are examples of positions often held by Exceptional Student Education graduates:

Group Home Organizer
Community Organization Coordinator
Supported Employment Specialist
Applied Behavior Analyst
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
Centers for Independent Living Specialist


For information about choosing a career, graduate/ professional school, internships or job descriptions, and for career library resources, contact:

Career Development Center
Boca Raton Campus - Student Services Building, Room 220 (SU 220)

Davie Campus - Modular G

Jupiter Campus - SR 110

For information about choosing a major and concentration and degree requirements, contact:

The College of Education
Boca Raton Campus, College of Education Building Room 210, (ED 210)

Davie Campus, ES Building Room 203, (ES 203)

Jupiter Campus,  TCC105C

Department of Exceptional Student Education

The Career Guide series was developed by the Florida Atlantic University Career Development Center, Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Undergraduate Programs, and in cooperation with the College of Education and the Department of Exceptional Student Education.

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