Early Childhood Special Education Teacher

The UWM Post-Baccalaureate Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program prepares teachers to provide special education services in infant/toddler, preschool or primary settings up to third grade. It emphasizes multicultural, family-centered and interdisciplinary preparation. Successful completion qualifies students to be eligible for an early childhood special education teaching license (Wisconsin DPI 809 license - ECSE 0-8yrs).

For individuals with a Bachelor's degree without a teaching license or experience, the program is a two year program.

Early Childhood Special Education Two Year Program Sheet (PDF)

For individuals with a Bachelor's degree and teacher certification in Early Childhood Education, the program is generally about a one year program.

Early Childhood Special Education One Year Program Sheet (PDF)

809 Add-On License

The Department of Exceptional Education is authorized by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to extend the certification held by Early Childhood: Exceptional Education needs teachers (808) from Birth through Kindergarten to Birth through age eight. This is known as an 809 add-on license.

The 809 license extends your teaching options. This license will enable you to teach children with disabilities in infant/toddler programs and in kindergarten through third grade settings. The 809 add-on program requires the following courses:

EXCEDUC 570 Curriculum & Methods for Special Ed.: Primary
EXCEDUC 682 Language and Literacy in ECSE
CURRINS 330 Teaching of Mathematics: Early Childhood
EXCEDUC 649 Early Childhood Field Experience: Primary
CURRINS 504 Teaching of Reading and Writing in Early Childhood: Primary

Students must also complete any state-required testing requirements (e.g.: Praxis II, Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test) they have not previously met.

UWM/MPS Internship

The ECSE program participates in the UWM/MPS Special Education Internship Program. This innovative program provides opportunities for post-baccalaureate special education certification students who have a commitment to teaching in Milwaukee Pubic Schools (MPS) to begin teaching while earning certification.

Interns are teachers-of-record in MPS schools with full pay and benefits while earning certification at UWM. They receive the support of MPS mentor teachers and are supervised by UWM instructors. Learn more: Internship Eligibility.


The ECSE program accepts applications on a Rolling basis for the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters. Submit a complete program application at minimum four weeks prior to the semester in which you wish to enroll.

Visit our Post-Baccalaureate Admissions page for the program application packet, information session dates, and additional application information!


Preparation and Retention of Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education Personnel for High-Need Communities: Connecting Professional Development and Practice (Project EI/EC Connect).

The Department of Exceptional Education is pleased to have receipt of funding for a personnel preparation grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The focus of this project is to increase the quantity and quality of personnel available to work with young children with disabilities and their families in southeastern Wisconsin and to improve the quality of that preparation. Participants will be students enrolled in the post-baccalaureate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee leading to certification in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE).

Project EI/EC Connect will focus on the preparation of teachers to serve young children with disabilities and their families who reside in "high-need" communities in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Project EI/EC CONNECT Information Sheet (PDF)


Please contact us with any questions!

Exceptional Education
Advisor, Enderis Hall 610
E-Mail: exed@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-5251

Dr. Mary McLean
ECSE Faculty Coordinator, Enderis Hall 247
E-Mail: mmclean@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-2213