Want to become a special education teacher? Now you can do it at LDA Minnesota.

LDA is the first Alternative Teacher Preparation program approved for initial teacher licensure under a new law in Minnesota. That means instead of enrolling at a college or university to become a teacher, you can take courses offered by an alternative preparation and licensure site like LDA Minnesota.

LDA Minnesota is now partnering with INDIGO Education to offer the program statewide to Indigo’s network of 85 public charter schools.

Academic and Behavior Strategist (ABS) Licensure

A special education teacher with ABS licensure is qualified to work with students who have mild to moderate needs in the areas of academic, behavior, social, emotional, communication, and functional performance. This includes teaching students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), developmental cognitive disability (DCD), emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD), other health disorders (OHD), and specific learning disabilities (SLD).

LDA’s alternative teacher licensure program for Academic and Behavioral Strategists is currently accepting applications for Summer 2024.

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Why choose LDA over a college? We deliver practical special education teacher training that is:

  • Purposeful
    Our program focuses on the real work being a special education teacher. You learn not just what to do and why, but also how to do it. All courses incorporate experiential learning and real-world modeling. Three different practicums in purposefully designed settings give you relevant practice. Throughout the program you will gain hands-on experience with at least seven different types of assessments.


  • Guided
    Our mentorship model guarantees you practical support as you become a special education teacher. Right from the start and during your entire time in the program, an experienced special education teacher will be your coach and mentor. Even well before your student teaching, you’ll be able to check in with your coach weekly to get personal support along with everything from teaching tips to skills guidance to career advice.


  • Relevant
    LDA professors understand special education teachers’ challenges. Their own experiences and continued close ties in the field give them a recognition of what it takes to do the action of teaching so you get exact preparation for what you’ll encounter in your own classroom. They are backed by the professional resources of LDA Minnesota, which has been supporting the field of special education for more than 50 years.


Simply put, we know special education. We train highly qualified teachers for placement in schools, which directly aligns with LDA Minnesota’s mission to ensure children, adults, families, and communities impacted by specific learning disabilities, attention deficits, and/or learning differences are equitably supported and empowered through assessment, intervention, education, advocacy, and outreach.

Attend a Virtual Information Session to Learn More

Teachers and Affordability

Expert Professors
Known statewide, Our professors focus on the “how to” of being a special education teacher.

A Leader in Mentoring 
Our model immediately connects you with an experienced special education mentor for the program’s duration.

Committed to Affordability
As a non-profit organization, LDA Minnesota will raise funds for scholarship support to lower students’ cost.

How to Apply

State Authorized
On June 14, 2019, LDA’s program was approved at the meeting of Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board for our Academic Behavioral Strategist (ABS) special education license program. Currently, we are accepting applications for Summer 2024.

Find out more about How to Apply

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