B.S. in Disability and Community Services

globeThe B.S in Disability and Community Services is a program of study which combines course work in special education, social work and communication studies. The completion of this multidisciplinary curriculum prepares graduates to work as professionals serving individuals with disabilities in a wide array of public and private sector agencies and service providers, including Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MH/MR) programs. Students who complete this program are prepared for employment as instructional assistants in public or private schools, as therapeutic support personnel, as job coaches, or in a wide array of capacities in MH/MR programs, community-based employment or living programs, early intervention programs, residential treatment programs, preschool/daycare programs, or other agency service providers for individuals with disabilities.

Recent Employment Statistics

According to the Occupation Outlook Handbook 2010-11, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job outlook for professions for which students who have earned a B.S. in Disability and Community Services is excellent. Job growth is to be “much faster that average” for employment in the categories of rehabilitation and vocational counseling, social and human service assistants, and individual and family services. From 2008 to 2018, job growth in these areas will increase by 19%, 23% and 73%, respectively. This increase is expected due to the increasing elderly population who will need rehabilitative support upon becoming injured or disabled. It is also expected that treatment for mental health related disabilities will be increasing with our aging population.

Required Coursework

The B.S. in Disability and Community Services includes many of the same courses required by our teacher certification students. All students in this program complete the same core classes as our dual special education majors; however, in place of teaching methods classes, the students complete 15 semester hours in social work. Additionally, in place of student teaching, the students in the Disability and Community Services program complete a semester long supervised field experience with a community agency.  While this major is rigorous in content, it does not have the same demands as the teacher certification programs. Students in this program must earn a minimum of a “C” letter grade in required major coursework, but there is no requirement of a minimum overall GPA. There is also no requirement of a licensure exam as students in this major are not eligible for teacher certification.

The special education coursework prepares students to be knowledgeable regarding etiologies and characteristics of individuals low incidence disabilities, high incidence disabilities, behavior disorders, and communication disorders. Students also gain skills in assessing individual needs and planning activities and interventions. The special education coursework utilizes a life span approach so students are prepared to work with any age group.

The social work courses enhance the student’s understanding of working with families, groups, organizations, and community systems. Since employment in community services varies greatly, students in this program need to be prepared to work with families, assist adults with daily living tasks, provide emotional support, and seek out additional resources that will help enhance the quality of life for their clients. Working collaboratively with the faculty from the social work program, it was determined that students preparing to work in the social and human service field would benefit greatly by completing introductory and sophomore level social work courses where they learn about sequential physical, emotional, socio-cultural and spiritual development from conception to old age. Students also have the opportunity to choose two upper division special topics social work courses of their own personal interest.

The culminating experience for students in this program is the completion of a 480 hour supervised field experience working within a community agency. Given the wide array of job opportunities in this field, students have the opportunity to meet this requirement by selecting a site based on personal interest. Students are expected to make contact with an agency of their choice and arrange to complete the field experience including approvals from both the agency supervisor and the LHUP field experience supervisor.

 Coursework includes:

  • 42 credits in General Education Study
  • 30 credits of required Special Education coursework
  • 15 credits of required Social Work coursework
  • credits of Professional Courses
  • 15 credits of free Electives
  • 1 semester-long field experience in a community agency
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B.S. in Disability and Community Services