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About Our Standards

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The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)'s Professional Preparation Standards define the specialized expertise special educators must master for safe and effective practice. These standards are used to inform special educator preparation programs, accreditation organizations, and credentialing agencies.

About CEC Standards

From our earliest days, we've recognized the critical role of standards in defining special education as a profession. In 1922, at its inaugural meeting, the founders of CEC identified the establishment of professional standards as one of the primary aims of the organization. We’ve embraced this responsibility and have been a leader among education associations in the development of Ethical Principles, Professional Practice Guidelines, and Preparation Standards for special educators. 

CEC has and continues to use a collaborative process that ensures that its standards are current, research-based, and designed to fully address the knowledge and skills special educators must master.

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    CEC Releases Two New Sets of Standards

    Our Standards

    As the recognized leader for special education professional standards, we develop standards, ethics, practices, and guidelines to ensure that special educators are better prepared for successful, long-term careers.


    Please refer to this style and branding guide for information related to CEC standards and standards related processes such as definitions, nomenclature, and citations.


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    Ethics, Guidelines, Program Review, and More

    Professional Practice Guidelines

    Our Specialty Sets, Ethical Principles, and Professional Practice Guidelines are used in conjunction with CEC’s Standards by special educator preparation programs as they develop their curriculum and create performance assessments.

    Program Review and Recognition

    Special educator preparation programs can seek National Recognition from CEC as part of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Accreditation Process by demonstrating mastery of CEC's Standards.

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