Students with learning, physical, and mental disabilities need educational support — and special teachers that can offer them the help they need to succeed in education. With a master’s in special education, you will be prepared to serve students with disabilities, adapting general education to their needs and teaching basic skills including literacy and communication.
Why You Should Earn a Master’s in Special Education
A master’s degree in special education holds a range of benefits for graduates. Whether you want to attain certification in special education, wish to explore leadership positions in your district, or are interested in a particular field such as autism intervention or emotional impairment, there is a master’s program designed to help you reach your goal. With this degree, you will be able to better serve students while enjoying better career opportunities and often, higher pay.
Typical Curriculum Offered in a Master’s in Special Education Degree Program
Like most graduate education programs, a master’s in special education focuses on practical classroom application. Coursework can cover specific methods of teaching students with disabilities, contemporary issues and trends, learning and behavioral research, and/or educational assessment. A capstone project, thesis or practicum is often required. Course titles may include:
- Educational Leadership
- Special Education Assessment and Instruction
- Foundations of Special Education
- Instruction for Learning Disabled Students
- Understanding the Exceptional Child
Earning Your Master’s in Special Education Online
Master’s degrees in special education are offered by many leading universities as online programs. Some of the degree programs available include:
You may also choose to home in on a particular field of interest. For instance:
- The University of Missouri’s online master of education in special education offers an emphasis in early childhood special education and a focus on autism. Coursework focuses on the design, delivery and evaluation of services to children with disabilities from birth to age 5.
- Michigan State University has developed an online master of arts in special education for K-12 teachers. Collaboration and consultation skills are a cornerstone of the program, and students can choose an emphasis in learning disabilities or autism spectrum disorders.
- The University of Cincinnati offers a more general online master of education in special education that focuses on evidence-based teaching practices. The degree is designed to help educators shape curriculum decisions and overall learning strategies for students with disabilities.
- Virginia Commonwealth University offers a master’s of education in special education with a specialization in severe disabilities. The program places emphasis on person-centered planning, school and community inclusion, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Graduates will be prepared to work with students in grades K-12 in a public school setting.
Careers Available with a Master’s in Special Education
Tougher graduation standards and earlier diagnoses of learning disabilities have created a demand for qualified special education teachers, especially in inner city and rural school districts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that enrollment of special education students will grow in both elementary and secondary schools from 2010 to 2022, driving an increased demand for special education teachers
Outside of a preschool or K-12 setting, graduates with an online master’s degree in special education may wish to explore career options in:
- home-based therapy
- child care
- residential facilities
- bilingual special education
In addition to healthy demand, special education teachers enjoy above average pay, with most earning about $55,060 per year. Teachers in higher levels of education may earn more: secondary special education teachers often earn about $56,830.
Study Special Education Online
Start your career in special education with an online master’s in special education degree program. Explore available programs in our directory of online schools.