An Examination of Preservice Teachers' Intentions to Pursue Careers in Special Education

Dake Zhang, Qiu Wang, Mickey Losinski, Antonis Katsiyannis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


An understanding of one's intention to pursue a career related to special education is crucial yet there is limited research in this area. This study examined factors that influence teacher candidates' intention to pursue a career in special education by surveying 214 preservice teachers. Data were analyzed using path analysis to capture the complex relationships. Results revealed that interest/commitment and outcome expectations of the special education careers were the two most important predictors of preservice teachers' intention to work in special education-related careers. Special education teaching efficacy only has an indirect effect on their special education career intention via two mediator variables (i.e., special education outcome expectations and career interest/commitment to children with special needs). Preservice teachers' personal and work experiences with individuals requiring special services directly influence their interest and commitment to serving individuals with special needs, and thus indirectly impact their intention to pursue a special education career.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-171
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Teacher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • special education
  • teacher shortage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'An Examination of Preservice Teachers' Intentions to Pursue Careers in Special Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this