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The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is your professional home as a special educator. It’s where you can ask questions and share ideas with other education professionals who understand your day-to-day realities. 

At CEC, you’ll find books, journals, webinars, advocacy, and events tailored to your professional needs. Whether that’s teaching children with exceptionalities, running a special education program, researching education topics, or training the next generation of special educators, CEC has your back. 

Are you a student teacher-candidate, an early career professional, a seasoned professional, retired, a paraprofessional, training the next generation of educators, administrating special education programs, or seeking affiliate membership?

With a broad range of benefits to supplement your professional development, we have the tools and resources you need to support you on your professional journey. 

CEC Membership Benefits

Professional development you can trust:

Support from connections, peers, and community:

Protection for your practice and your profession:

Membership Categories

Select the membership category that’s right for you!

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Pre-service undergraduate or graduate (including doctoral)* students who have not yet held any position as a professional in special education. Members in this category may be full or part time students.

*Student memberships include a Student Educator Professional Liability Insurance policy for up to $1 million of coverage (eligibility requirements apply).

Group of female students at Convention wearing College/University shirts

Current graduate students (including doctoral)* who are returning for an additional degree after or while concurrently holding a professional position in special education.  Members in this category may be full or part time students. 


Three woman sit in chairs in a conference room

Special or general education professionals with three or fewer years of professional experience. All new professionals are welcome — classroom, itinerant, resource teachers, support personnel, researchers, faculty members, administrators, and others.  

Three woman posing in jackets outside

Special or general education professionals with more than three years of professional experience and interested parties. All are welcome — classroom, itinerant, resource teachers, support personnel, researchers, faculty; administrators, family members, and others. 

Two men having a discussion

Individuals employed to provide instructional or related support to students and their families under the direction and supervision of a certified special education teacher.

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Special education and education professionals who have retired from the field and no longer hold a professional position – employee, consultant, or otherwise - in education or special education.

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Individuals who are interested in special education but are not employed (including as consultants) in any field of education and/or special education. Affiliates may serve on or be appointed to committees, but they may not vote or petition any CEC governing body.

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Join CEC with a group membership and enjoy discounted rates. Whether you’re a student, early in your career, or an established professional, there’s a place for you and your group at CEC.

Why Join

“It means a lot to me because it’s just an added support. It’s like an added way of gaining the sixth sense of knowledge for this wonderful population of students that I work with. And it just means a lot that I get to continue to grow my knowledge and expand on working with students with special needs.”

- Theresa Garfield, CEC Member since 2011

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