FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Education is reporting consistent gains in both teachers and students studying to enter the field of special education.

While the need remains high, the growth in these licenses will benefit families across northwest Arkansas.

“It’s a win – win for everyone,” Tom smith, U of A Professor of Special Education.

A field that lacked educators, now on the mend bringing hope to many like the Volf’s, a family with two children who need special education. 

“There has obviously been a few bumps here and there, no program is perfect but we have been really lucky with the teachers that we have had.” said Erin Volf, Bentonville mom.

Arkansas changed it’s special education license program 3 years ago, a move Tom Smith with the University of Arkansas says is the reason for the increase of educators.

“Rather than having to get the initial license in regular education they can go straight into special education. What we are finding is young juniors and seniors who are really committed to working with kids with disabilities and they know they want to be special Ed. Teachers,” Smith said. 

According to the Arkansas Department of Education, the Natural State has seen a 13 % increase in special education programs enrollment in 2018. It’s a way to give back to families in our area, and a benefit for future teachers.

“It takes a very special person, ” said Volf. 

“They know that the market is really good and they can get a job just about anywhere they want if they have a special ed. License and i think were finding more young people who are committed to giving back.”

 With the increase in teachers, comes the academic growth of children who need just a little extra attention.

“The special education profession is a wonderful teaching profession and were happy that more and more people are going into it.” Smith said.