Pre-Special Education

Program Information

Degree Type: 
Associate in Arts

Designed for students seeking teacher certification in Special Education. Focuses on teaching students with disabilities such as mental, emotional, physical, visual or hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and autism. Transfer to and completion of a four-year university teacher preparation program is necessary for full teacher certification.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Apply current educational theories and practices to a classroom setting.
  • Analyze children’s literature for its use in the elementary, special education, or middle school classroom.
  • Apply knowledge of the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development theories of the learner in a school setting.
  • Apply knowledge of the exceptionalities, learning environments, and laws as they relate to special education programs.
  • Develop lesson plans implementing educational software for special education students.
  • Analyze elementary and middle school mathematics at the level necessary for teaching.
  • Construct scientific knowledge using inquiry-based techniques.
  • Follow appropriate health, physical education, nutrition, and safety practices for special education classrooms.

Degree-Specific Requirements

All students receiving an Associate Degree are required to meet Degree-Specific Requirements AND General Education Requirements. Courses listed in the Required Core and/or Required Support Courses may also be used to fulfill Degree-Specific and General Education Requirements. Developmental courses (those numbered below 100) cannot be used to fulfill these requirements.

Attention: It is the student's responsibility to review the entire program form before making course selections for registration purposes. The College recommends that students meet with an advisor or counselor well in advance of registration deadlines and before making course selections.

General Education Requirements: 

The following courses are required in this program and satisfy HFC's General Education Outcomes for this program. Students who change their program will need to confirm in advance that they are completing all required courses for their specific program of student, including additional general Education courses. All Associate in Arts degrees require at least 24 General Education credits total, including at least three credit hour from each of the five areas below. For this program:

  1. Civil Society & Culture: Complete the following course:

  2. Communication: Complete the following course:

  3. Computer Technology: Complete one of the following courses:

  4. Critical Thinking & Information Literacy: Complete the following course:

  5. Quantitative Literacy: Complete the following course:

  6. Complete additional General Education course(s) to reach a minimum of 24 credit hours:

*Math 115 or beyond is highly recommended as preparation for the Professional Readiness Exam.

*Consult transfer guides and speak with an advisor regarding transferability.

NOTE: For this program, General Education minimum credits: 24

Degree-Specific Requirements: 
  1. Wellness: Complete one of the the following:

  2. Humanities: Complete a total of 8 credits, including those taken from the General Education area, from the following:

    • Art (ART); Dance (DNCA); English (ENG) (except ENG-131, ENG-132, ENG-135); Foreign Language (Arabic (ARA), Chinese (CHN), French (FRE), German (GER), Italian (ITAL), Spanish (SPN)); Humanities (HUM); Interior Design (INTR); Journalism (JOUR); Music (MUS); Philosophy (PHIL); Telecommunication (TCM); Speech Communications (SPC); Theatre (THEA), Virtual Theatricality Lab (VTL), or World Religions (WR).
    • Three credit hours are satisfied in the Required Core Courses category.
  3. Science and Mathematics: Complete a total of 8 credits, including courses taken from the Quantitative Literacy group, from the following:

    • Astronomy (ASTR), Atmospheric Studies (ATMS), Biology (BIO), Chemistry (CHEM), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Geology (GEOL), Mathematics (MATH), Physical Science (PSCI), Physics (PHYS), Science (SCI).
    • Note: At least 7 credit hours are satisfied in the General Education Quantitative Literacy category and within the Required Core Courses.
  4. Social Science: This category is satisfied with the Required Core and General Education Courses in this program.

NOTE: For this program, Degree-Specific minimum credits: 2

Required Core Courses

Complete a minimum of 4 credits in science courses with a lab from the following areas:
Astronomy (ASTR), Biology (BIO), Chemistry (CHEM), Geology (GEOL), Physics (PHYS), Physical Science (PSCI), or Science (SCI)
Minimum Credit Hours: 

Elective Courses

Complete additional 100-level or above courses as needed to reach the 60 credits required for Associate in Arts degrees.
  • Students considering transferring to a four-year institution are advised to consult current transfer and articulation guides to ensure that the appropriate courses are selected. For additional assistance, please contact an advisor.
    Maximum Credit Hours Necessary: 14
Minimum Number Of Credits To Graduate: 
60.0 (Including Options/Electives)

Program Requirements

Additional Program Requirements: 

The law requires new teachers, school administrators, school psychologists, and other personnel to provide documentation of a completed criminal record check. Students who complete field experiences as part of their HFC coursework must provide a statewide criminal record check prior to work with children in public or non-public schools.

Requirements are Subject to Change

The information represented here is for the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the Program Evaluation section of WebAdvisor.

Other Information

Year Established: 
Program Code: 


Social Science, Arts, and Fitness Division • (313) 845-9625 • • Fine Arts Bldg • Room: F-140
Tracie Varitek • (313) 845-6393 • • Campus Safety • Room: N-202

Transfer Information

Transfer Options/Requirements: 

The College has articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to help students who want to transfer to other institutions once they have completed their studies at HFC. Articulation agreements ensure that graduates from HFC can transfer to another institution and work towards a bachelor’s degree without a loss of coursework completed at HFC. Transfer guides denote the transferability of HFC coursework toward specific degree programs at other institutions. It is important that students who intend to transfer to another institution consult the appropriate articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to ensure the transferability of the courses they take to the institution they plan to attend. Articulation agreements and transfer guides are available on the HFC Transfer Resources page. For additional resources and assistance with transferring, students are encouraged to work with HFC’s University Transfer, Advising, and Career Counseling Center (313-845-9612,, Learning Resource Center). Students enrolled in this program frequently transfer to institutions such as:

  • Central Michigan University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Detroit Mercy
  • University of Michigan - Dearborn
  • Wayne State University
Career Opportunities: 

Pre-Special Education program graduates who complete a bachelor degree with teacher certification may teach special education classes in many disability areas such as mental impairments, visual impairments, learning disabilities, emotional impairments, physical impairments, hearing impairments, speech impairments, and autism.

This degree requires coursework that can be transferred to most four-year teacher preparation programs without loss of credit. The elective component of this program allows students to select courses that apply toward the bachelor's degree at their intended transfer institution. Students are encouraged to consult the university guide sheets in the University Transfer, Advising, and Career Counseling Center located in Learning Resources Center.