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Specialty Sets for Specific Practice Areas

Standards book with post-it notes

About Our Specialty Sets

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Specialty Sets delineate the essential knowledge and skills that beginning special education professionals must possess to be ready to begin their practice in specific areas. 

Programs will select the Specialty Set aligned to their program or use the common specialty sets which are used to inform the CEC Preparation Standards. Special education preparation programs will use either the 2012 Initial or Advanced CEC Preparation Standards* as informed by the appropriate Specialty Set as they develop their curriculum and create performance assessments to demonstrate that their candidates have mastered the standards.

*The 2012 Initial Preparation Standards will be phased out of the program review process for submissions after Fall 2022. Programs should transition to using the 2020 Initial Practice Based Professional Preparation Standards which no longer require alignment to, or use of, the specialty sets to inform their program curriculum or assessments. CEC’s special interest divisions may continue to update and align specialty sets to the 2020 Initial standards as a resource for program use.

For guidance selecting the appropriate specialty set for a preparation program see the Specialty Sets for Programs using the 2012 Initial Preparation Standards Flowchart or the Specialty Sets for Programs using the 2012 Advanced Preparation Standards Flowchart.

Initial and Advanced Specialty Sets

CEC has developed the following specialty sets for the 2012 Initial and Advanced Preparation Standards. The revised 2020 Initial K12 Standards do not require a program to be informed by or aligned to a specialty set but will continue to maintain them as a program resource.

Last Updated:  30 March, 2022

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