Teacher Mattie Jernigan teaching in a classroom at Educare of Central Maine

The University of Maine at Farmington Early Childhood Special Education program prepares you to work with young children with special needs and their families in a variety of settings.

Early Childhood Special Education – A White-Hot (and rewarding) Career Path

The job demand for Early Childhood Special Education teachers is huge with no end in sight and our grads get hired. The UMF Bachelor’s degree program in Early Childhood Special Education is a high-quality program that offers extensive experiences in children’s settings. Make a difference. Be a teacher.

Want to make a difference? Be a teacher in Early Childhood Special Education by earning your Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Special Ed at the University of Maine at Farmington.

You’ll work closely with very young children (from infants to grade three) and their families at our new nationally accredited inclusive Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center — located right on campus. There you’ll gain the knowledge and real-world experience employers are seeking.

The coursework and field experiences in UMF’s Early Childhood Special Education program lead to Maine Teacher Certification for Teacher of Children with Disabilities (Birth to school-age 5).

See some recent Early Childhood Special Ed and Early Childhood Ed graduates, now teachers or education supervisors, describe why they chose Farmington.

What Can You Do With A Degree in Early Childhood Special Education?

Graduates of our Early Childhood Special Education program are eligible for jobs in a variety of settings including childcare, Head Start, pre-Kindergarten, community and recreational programs, and grades K-3 in public and private schools where they’ll work with children with a variety of special needs.

Data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources. Median Salaries for positions in Maine typically fall below those of other New England states.

Farmington Education grads get hired.

Students at an on campus job fair
Students at our annual on-campus Teacher Job Fair, an event drawing schools from Maine to Florida seeking the best new teachers. Many UMF Education students are interviewed and offered positions at the job fair — before they’ve even graduated.

According to a 2020 survey of UMF Education graduates over the past three years, 83% of respondents indicated being employed in the field of education, with 85% hired within a year of graduation and 73% employed within four months of graduation.

Overall, 94.3% of respondents indicated they were Very Satisfied or Satisfied with their teacher education preparation at UMF.

This program will prepare you to be eligible for licensure in the State of Maine. Visit the UMaine System State Authorization & Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, in addition to the contact information needed to inquire further into the licensure requirements associated with this program.

Mattie Jernigan portrait
Mattie Jernigan graduated from UMF in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education. She works as a Supervising Teacher at Educare of Central, Maine in Waterville where she did two on-site practicums as a UMF student.

My degree in Early Childhood Special Ed at UMF helped me tremendously. I did two practicums here at Educare and knew right away that preschool was the perfect age group for me. My practicum exposed me to what they do here and I got to work with the kids and their families. It really set me up for success and made me want to teach here and work with young children, some of whom have special needs.

Mattie Jernigan
Supervising Teacher
Educare of Central Maine

Our Early Childhood Special Education program focuses on child development, with an emphasis on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with special needs.

Our program is based on National Association for the Education of Young Children standards for teacher preparation and is CAEP accredited. One of the things that makes our Early Childhood Special Education program distinctive is that it features extensive, hands-on, fieldwork experiences.

Our Education students describe their senior year Student Teaching assignment as the most meaningful experience of their UMF career. It’s when they’re teamed with a mentor school teacher (often a UMF alumnus) and they get to put into practice in a school classroom what they’ve learned in their UMF college classes.

The demand for competent, professional educators of young children vastly outpaces the pool of job candidates.

This is where the University of Maine at Farmington comes in.

Maine’s Governor, supported by the Maine Legislature and authorized by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, invested the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan relief funds into Early Childhood Education. Where is this investment happening? At the University of Maine at Farmington.

To help meet that need, UMF recently renovated a large former call center at 274 Front Street, located on campus, as the new home of its nationally accredited Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center.

UMF's new Sweatt-Winter Early Childhood Education Center
Located at 274 Front Street in Farmington, this former call center has been transformed to become the new state-of-the-art UMF Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center.

This is where classroom theory meets real education practice. You’ll experience first-hand why UMF Works.

The new facility will be your state-of-the-art learning & working lab. Here, you’ll work with young children and their families, mentoring UMF professors and other professionals in an inclusive setting as you gain the real-world, hands-on experience and skill set employers seek.

Opened in October 2023, the new 10,384 square foot state-of-the-art child care and academic facility allows UMF to create at least 20 slots for high-quality infant and toddler care in Franklin County, and increase enrollment in its undergraduate and graduate Early Childhood Education programs by at least 20% — supporting a critical statewide workforce need.

This new facility replaces and greatly expands the previous Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center, which was at maximum capacity.

The University of Maine at Farmington is considered one of the premier teacher education programs in New England.

At our founding in 1864, the University of Maine at Farmington (then called Western State Normal School) took an innovative approach to teacher education, integrating a strong liberal arts foundation into teacher training. Our founders believed that only those with a strong background in the liberal arts could effectively teach the arts and sciences. Obvious as that may seem, it was not the rule among teacher education programs of the time.

Now, 160 years later, the University of Maine at Farmington continues to be recognized for its innovation and excellence in teacher preparation.

  • UMF is one of only three nationally accredited teacher education programs in Maine
  • UMF was the first in Maine to receive national CAEP accreditation (formerly NCATE) 
  • UMF received full Maine State Board of Education accreditation
  • UMF full-time faculty supervise you in your off-campus practicum and student-teaching field experiences

The UMF Center for Assistive Technology is the only public or private university-based assistive technology lending and demonstration center in Maine.

Assistive Technology is any device or product that makes it easier for someone with a disability to live more independently. Here, you’ll have full access to specialized on-campus education-focused resources such as UMF’s Children’s Programs and our Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center, which includes assistive technology resources, children’s literature, and early childhood curricula.

Kimberly Collins, 2022 National Milken Educator Award winner. She is a 2009 graduate and educator at Virginia Beach Middle School in Virginia.

The Best Teachers Start at Farmington

  • Many UMF Education graduates have been named Maine’s Teacher of the Year
  • UMF Education graduates have been named Maine Elementary School Principal of the Year
  • UMF Education graduates have received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
  • UMF Education graduates have received the prestigious Milken Family Foundation Educator Award
  • UMF Education graduates have been named Maine History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehman Institute of America
  • UMF Education graduates received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Award
  • A UMF Education graduate is an Adult Space Camp graduate and earned certification at the Google Teacher Academy in London
  • A UMF Education graduate received the prestigious Apple Design Award

Save nearly $6,000 per year in tuition. This University of Maine at Farmington program qualifies for the New England Regional Program tuition discount.

This price break is for residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont for the 2023-2024 academic year — a savings of $5,880 per year.

Contact Us

Office of Admissions
University of Maine at Farmington
246 Main Street
Farmington, Maine USA 04938-1994
tel  207-778-7050
fax  207-778-8182
TYY (via Maine Relay Service) dial 711