A Different Path

LDA is the first Alternative initial and additional licensure program in Minnesota. Instead of enrolling at a college or university to become a teacher, you can take courses and receive recommendation for an ABS Special Education License at LDA.  Our program is approved and authorized by Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board.


Why chose an Alternative program?

Our program was developed by a diverse group of local experts including administrators, teachers, faculty and parents.  It’s designed to be purposeful, practical, and personal; providing both face-to-face rigorous coursework and 1:1 mentoring.  Teacher candidates will have a variety of hands-on learning experiences and the support of a residency-based program with a mentor.

Read more about our Approach.


A Local Leader in Special Education

LDA Minnesota is a non-profit organization founded in 1967 and has been a leader in the community for students with disabilities, advocating, assessing, and advancing the field. At LDA Minnesota We know special education. LDA’s faculty 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. And they are backed by the professional resources of LDA Minnesota, which for more than 50 years has been supporting the field of special education in Minnesota.


Our Focus on Race and Equity

LDA was founded in 1967 in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement and at a time when rights for students  with disabilities and what is today special education were just beginning.  

Today, we’ve built into our Teacher Prep & Licensure Program a focus on racial equity.  All of our teacher candidates take the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI) and receive follow-up individual and group coaching.  Our intentional commitment to culturally responsive pedagogy can be seen throughout the program, from course content to our community partnerships.  Our goal is to end racial disparities in special education and our candidates will be prepared to be leaders in the movement.


Why an ABS License?

This flexible special education license qualifies you to work across multiple disability areas. Special education teachers with Academic and Behavioral Specialist (ABS) licensure give their school districts more staffing flexibility in terms of providing services to students with mild to moderate needs in the areas of academic, behavior, social/emotional, communication, and functional performance.

The license prepares you to provide evaluation and specially designed instruction to children and youth from kindergarten through age 21 who are eligible for special education services in the primary disability areas of:

  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Developmental cognitive disability (DCD)
  • Emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD)
  • Other health disabilities (OHD)
  • Specific learning disability (SLD)

Learn more about the coursework


Convenient and Affordable

Courses are scheduled for weekday evenings and weekends during Fall, Spring, and Summer sessions.  As a nonprofit, LDA raises funds to help keep our teacher candidate costs low.  Classes take place at the LDA Minnesota professional building in Golden Valley, located near Highways 55 and 100. Our building has ample, free parking.  See a Map to our location.


Application Information

We seek teacher candidates who share our passion for helping children with learning and attention challenges to achieve their potential in school and life.

How to Apply

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