Georgia Gwinnett College launches new online degree program for special education majors

By Collin Elder, Class of 2023

Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) students who want to pursue a special education degree can now do so wherever they have an internet connection. GGC has introduced an online option for the Bachelor of Science in Education degree for special education majors.

Dr. Matthew Boggan, chair of GGC’s special education curriculum, offered insight into why there’s such a high demand for people within this program.

“There’s a huge shortage of teachers in general right now, and that’s compounded by the COVID crisis,” he said. “Special education is the number one shortage in the field of teaching.”

Boggan explained that GGC’s online program seeks to rectify that shortage by offering more accessible coursework. The online format lets students learn from home, which allows people who would ordinarily have to factor in jobs or long commutes to work around those obstacles. 

The curriculum requires 123 hours of coursework to fulfill degree requirements. Students can achieve that through online courses at GGC or a combination of GGC and eCore courses. eCore is an initiative within the University System of Georgia that provides an online campus for students who need a more generalized and expansive approach. 

Although the curriculum is online, Boggan said special education teacher candidates will gain practical experience with students in the classroom through a required field component in Gwinnett County Public Schools during their junior and senior years.   

GGC’s new online option is attractive to paraprofessionals. Akin to assistant teachers, paraprofessionals provide support to special education teachers and provide one-on-one help to students. The special education program offers a program track for traditional daytime college students and a paraprofessional program track for working paraprofessionals featuring evening and weekend courses.   

“Special education is a very rewarding field,” Boggan said. “Students have a lot of life challenges, so it’s very rewarding to watch them grow personally and intellectually and become productive citizens.”

Collin Elder, Class of 2023, a student assistant in the GGC Public Relations department. 

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