Admission to Special Education

Special Education and Rehabilitation Application Instructions

The Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation at Utah State University offers
licensure programs in Mild/Moderate, Severe, Birth to Age Five in all locations in Utah and Visual Impairment on the Logan Main Campus. The application deadlines and requirements are the same for all first bachelor students (first 4-year degree). Second bachelor students have different requirements. Click on the following for the type of degree you desire.

If you are a prospective tranfer student, please contact the special education advisor ( at USU as soon as you are thinking of transferring. She will work with you to make the transition as easy as possible. If students send her an unofficial transcript, the semester they are planning on moving to USU, and the program they are interested in completing, she will make a graduation plan for them. USU also has developed a transfer guide.

First Bachelor's Degree Applicants (Logan Main Campus and OPTT)

Admission to the program occurs each fall, and students are admitted as part of an annual cohort.

Requirements for Admission

  • 40 attempted hours (this means you will have 40 credits by the end of fall semester)
  • Cleared background check through Utah State Board of Education. Note:  the background check completed by districts for para educators does not meet this requirement.
  • 3.00 Minimum GPA. A few waivers are available if your scores are not this high. Download the waiver application

Complete the following by end of first Fall semester:

General Education Requirements

  • ENGL 1010 with grade of C+ or higher
  • BAI with grade of C or higher
  • BLS with a grade of C or higher
  • BPS with a grade of C or higher
  • HDFS 1500 (formerly FCHD 1500) with a grade of C or higher
  • Math Requirement
Math Requirements

  • Mild/Moderate and Severe emphasis need two of the following 3 math classes completed with a C or higher by the end of Fall semester. The third class needs to be completed spring semester. The three classes are Math 1051 or 1050, Math 2010, and Math 2020.
  • Birth to 5 majors need only one math class – either Math 1051 or 1050 or STAT 1040 or 1045 completed with a C or higher.

Other Requirements

  • Write a one-page letter to the Admissions Committee: Why I want to be a special education teacher and why I think I will be a good special education teacher (500 words or less). Save as a PDF or Word document.
  • Background Check – complete the background check application and fingerprints. A week after you get your fingerprints done, you will receive an email stating your background check has cleared. Save this email to submit as part of the application
  • OPTT applicants must be working as a para-educator when completing the OPTT courses.

Apply online by October 10. You will hear back if you are admitted by Nov 1. Admitted students will take Professional Education courses during spring semester.


Files to include in the Application

  • Proof of completed background check
  • Letter to the admissions committee
  • Optional: Documentation of your experience with individuals with disabilities, this could include a transcript, letter from employer/supervisor, pay stub, thank you letter, etc. No documentation is needed for those who have a family member with a disability.

When you apply online, please make sure all your demographic information is correct. The admissions committee will use this information to communicate with your regarding your application.

Make sure you fill out the application for admission (not student teaching) and the application for special education (not elementary education or secondary education). 

Criminal Background Check

It is your responsibility to inform the Department of Special Education if you have been arrested or convicted of violating any law except minor traffic violations while you are a student in the program. Failure to disclose this information may affect your current status in the Special Education Teacher Program.

Second Bachelor's Degree Applicants (OPTT)

Individuals who have a bachelor’s degree must be hired by a district or charter school as a special education teacher or as a special education paraprofessional in a special education classroom that matches the emphasis area prior to applying to the OPTT program. Continued employment as a special educator or as a special education paraprofessional is required throughout the program.

OPTT Overview Right Arrow

Requirements for Admission:

Below are the admission steps for applicants who already have a bachelor’s degree:

  • Contact Elise Gonzalez at to let us know that you are interested in OPTT.  She will send you directions for completing the following steps.
  • Apply for admission to Utah State University.
  • Pass mathematics and written language screening exams.
  • Cleared background check through Utah State Board of Education.  Note:  the background check completed by districts for para educators does not meet this requirement.
  • 3.00 Minimum GPA. A few waivers are available if your scores are not this high. Download the waiver application
  • Complete the OPPT Admission Survey.
  • Receive confirmation that OPTT staff have contacted your district or charter school.
  • Take a Praxis test.  Once you are admitted, your advisor will help you determine the right Praxis test for you.
  • Complete the Associate Teacher License application if you are the teacher of record in your classroom.

Contact Information

For 1st Bachelor's degree:Laura Parrish's headshot

Laura Parrish

For 2nd Bachelor's degree:Elise Gonzalez's photo

Elise Gonzalez