Best Special Education Masters Programs – Explore flexible, top-rated Masters in Special Education programs online that give you the skills and qualifications to teach students with learning and behavioral disabilities.
The flexibility and affordability of online Masters in Special Education programs help open the door for more caring people to become special education teachers, while also allowing practicing teachers to earn certification and endorsements in this field. . Given the severe shortage of trained special educators in public and private schools today, this demanding career has the potential to be a rewarding profession helping people with special needs to thrive and excel. But how do you know which master’s program is right for you? The following guide provides an overview of these graduate programs, starting with a ranking of the best online master’s programs for special education in 2023. Find out which schools won top honors this year.
Best Special Education Masters Programs
To be eligible for this ranking, colleges had to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
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After compiling a list of eligible colleges, OMD’s data science team assigned weights and ranked colleges based on a combination of affordability, online learning availability, and performance metrics student support.
Each ranking on OMD uses the latest data from the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which colleges and universities across the country self-report through U.S. Department of Education surveys.
Fresno Pacific University’s Master of Arts in Special Education is designed to prepare students to serve children with disabilities in the community. The course work consists of 13 core units and 30 units of some accredited specialist education courses. Master’s classes are online, but students can also choose from in-person classes at major campuses in Fresno, Merced, or Visalia. Admission requirements include a completed application, bachelor’s degree, transcripts, 3.0 GPA, three reference forms, education plan, academic writing sample, copy of a valid clearance certificate, and verification of a negative TB test within the last 12 months.
The Touro College Master of Education in Special Education is designed for current teachers pursuing graduate studies and students just beginning their careers. Graduates will be able to obtain certification in general and specialized education. Students choose from three study plans, including Childhood and Special Education (Birth-2), Childhood and Special Education (1-6), or Teaching Students with Disabilities (7-12) . The program is completed online, with the exception of field experience and internship courses, which will require work in actual classrooms. All online courses are asynchronous and offered through the Canvas platform. Online courses use the same curriculum and learning objectives as in-person courses. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, 3.0 GPA, copy of active teacher certification, transcripts, recommendations, personal statement, immunization records, completed application, and fees.
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Concordia University’s Master of Arts in Special Education program is designed for licensed teachers who wish to expand their careers in special education and obtain Illinois LBS 1 endorsement (teachers who reside outside of IL may apply and appear but will not be eligible for this endorsement). Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to work across a continuum of special education services, with an emphasis on methods, assistive technology, and assessment for students with varying degrees of ability. The program ends with a capstone project where students complete an exercise. Additionally, to complete the program, students must have completed two years of education and hold an initial or current professional teaching license. Admission requirements include a completed online application, statement of purpose, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.
Georgia College’s Master of Special Education is designed for teachers with a Georgia State Level Four Teaching Certificate. Graduates will focus on school improvement plans and approaches for children and young people, enabling students to investigate school needs, plan improvements and share results – particularly regarding issues related to educating learners with disabilities. Courses are offered in a fully online format. Courses include learning the skills needed to design and implement research-based programs in a real-world environment. Limited graduate assistantships are available. Admission requirements include a college admissions form, two professional recommendations, transcripts, 2.75 GPA, verification of vaccinations, and a resume.
Graduates of Ball State University’s Master of Special Education will be prepared for employment as teachers in resource rooms and classrooms and to serve children, youth, and adults with disabilities. Students can choose from two areas of focus: graduate certificate or bachelor’s degree options. Six graduate level certificates include: American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism, Disability for Secondary Parameters with a focus on Autism, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, and response to intervention. Licensing options include Exceptional Needs Director’s License (Administration), Early Childhood Special Education License (Teaching), Deaf and Hard of Hearing License (Teaching), Intensive Intervention License (Teaching), or the light intervention license (teaching). Online students are fully supported with access to communicate with classmates and professors via email, discussion forums, blogs, and more. Students have access to the same resources as on-campus students, including student orientation, a technology help desk and technology store, as well as student and academic support services.
Applying for and enrolling in an online masters program can seem daunting. There are a lot of unknowns, especially if you haven’t done detailed research. The program spotlight below looks at coursework, cost structures, and graduation requirements to give you a better idea of what to expect. See if these online special education masters programs have what you need.
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The online Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University provides today’s teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to work with children with a range of special educational needs. Students complete 16 credit hours of core coursework and 11 or 12 credit hours in one of four concentrations: emotional disorders, cognitive disorders, learning disabilities, and physical and other health conditions. Students who currently hold SPED approval also complete 4 credit hours of individually supervised internship with students with disabilities at local schools and institutions. Students without SPED support complete an additional 12 hours of coursework.
Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution earned with a minimum cumulative 2.7 GPA, two references, and a teaching certificate. Tuition is $512 per credit hour for in-state and out-of-state residents. The program can be completed in approximately 18 months and six start dates are available each year.
Purdue University’s online Master of Science in Education in Special Education program prepares graduates to work with children with mild intervention and high-incidence disabilities. These include mild intellectual disability, emotional/behavioural disability, learning disabilities and high-functioning autism.
Program concentrations lead to licensure in five areas: Mild Elementary Only, Mild Elementary and Intense, Extra Mild Only, Extra Intense Only, and Extra Mild and Intense. All licensing concentrations include an exercise. Additionally, admission to all bachelor’s degree concentrations requires an initial teaching license, except for the Preparatory Light and Preparatory Light and Intensive concentrations, which include individual teaching experience. An unlicensed option is also available.
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M.S.Ed. Aligns with performance appraisal of university teachers in the special education curriculum. and prepares graduates for Indiana licensing. Indiana also has reciprocity with 42 states, which means that Indiana qualifications are accepted by those states in their own licensing or certification processes. The current total cost per credit (tuition and fees) is $447.85 for Indiana residents and $768.80 for nonresidents. Total credits range from 31 to 45 depending on the concentration.
There are two options available for the University of Arkansas Online Special Education Masters Program. The former allows students with a current teaching license to receive course credits necessary for special education approval through the Arkansas Department of Education while they graduate from mastery. The second option, Initial Licensure in SPED, allows students without a teaching license to earn their master’s degree while simultaneously taking the courses required for an initial special education license in Arkansas. Students can also incorporate additional courses leading to endorsements such as Dyslexia Therapist, SPED Educational Examiner, SPED Educational Resource Room Specialty, and Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
All remedial courses in the M.Ed. The Special Education program is completed 100% online. However, in-person practice and teaching experience are essential. Total credit hours and practicum/teaching requirements vary by option and additional support. Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree, three letters of reference, an up-to-date resume or curriculum vitae, and a statement of purpose. A GRE, Praxis foundation exam, or other approved standardized foundational knowledge test is also required.
Earning a Masters in Special Education, especially in a quality online program, brings many benefits. Here are the three biggest.
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All states require special education teachers to have at least some post-secondary education in the field and in public schools, in order to obtain the appropriate state certification to teach a specific grade level. However, specific education and licensing requirements vary from state to state. As a result, the curriculum for an online Masters in Special Education also varies from program to program, sometimes significantly. Before enrolling, it is important to have a detailed understanding of the licensing requirements in your state and whether your program will qualify you for this license.
Expect the curriculum for your online Masters in Special Education program to include
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