Professional Associations

Students are required to become student members of one of the following professional organizations: CEC (Council for Exceptional Children), ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), AERA (American Educational Research Association), TESOL, Inc. (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children).

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)


The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides professional development, advocates for individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.

Services Provided

  • Professional development opportunities and resources
  • 17 divisions for specialized information
  • Journals and newsletters with information on new research findings, classroom practices that work, federal legislation, and policies
  • Conventions and conferences
  • Special education publications

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

History and Membership

Founded in 1943, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. Our 160,000 members in 148 countries are professional educators from all levels and subject areas––superintendents, supervisors, principals, teachers, professors of education, and school board members.

Our nonprofit, nonpartisan membership association provides expert and innovative solutions in professional development, capacity building, and educational leadership essential to the way educators learn, teach, and lead.

American Educational Research Association (AERA)


The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a national research society, strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL, Inc.)


TESOL's mission is to develop and maintain professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide.


  • professionalism in language education
  • individual language rights
  • accessible, high quality education
  • collaboration in a global community
  • interaction of research and reflective practice for educational improvement
  • respect for diversity and multiculturalism

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)

Mission and Vision
The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is an organization of parents, teachers, educators, other professionals, and community leaders who unite to address the unique needs of children and youth with demonstrated gifts and talents as well as those children who may be able to develop their talent potential with appropriate educational experiences. 

We support and develop policies and practices that encourage and respond to the diverse expressions of gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. NAGC supports and engages in research and development, staff development, advocacy, communication, and collaboration with other organizations and agencies who strive to improve the quality of education for all students.

NAGC defines a gifted person as someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression.

Memberships must be in effect prior to taking part in a field experience or internship, but students are encouraged to apply for membership upon entry into the Master of Education Program.

Student membership in local chapters of national associations is also suggested, as student membership is relatively inexpensive but provides many of the same opportunities as professional membership would.