District of Columbia Campus Masters in Special and Gifted Education Graduate Programs and Degrees

Campus Masters in Special and Gifted Education Graduate Programs and Degrees info

Are you searching for a career-focused program in the field of education? Are you currently an educator who wants to refresh your skills and pursue a new teaching niche? If so, a campus masters in special education masters programs could be a rewarding academic choice with the potential to lead to various career paths, which improve each year, as new job opportunities may arise from the need to replace teachers who leave the occupation[i].

On Campus Masters Degree in Special Education Career Options

Earning a master’s degrees could be important in your future job search; all states require that special education teachers in the public school setting have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some states require special education teachers to complete a master’s degree in special education to become fully certified. [ii]

GradSchools.com site is set up so that it is easy to search for an accredited campus where you could earn a gifted education graduate degree.  Search by degree type, such as Master of Education, Master of Arts, or Master of Science in Special Education, or look for a program that allows you to concentrate in either a certain grouping of students, such as moderately disabled, or if you have leadership orientation, look for more of and administrative degree program in special education. Refine your search by location using the tabs to enter a state, popular city, or country and determine where graduate programs are offered in special and gifted education.

General information about a Campus Masters in Special Education

Typically, special and gifted education graduate programs are formatted to help prepare learners with the skills and knowledge that may be needed to pursue careers as classroom teachers of students with special needs, such as deaf or visually impaired students, those with learning disabilities, behavioral problems and autism spectrum disorders. Some of these programs can also assist in educating teachers on how to include students who are either special needs or gifted in their classrooms. Other programs may be focused on teaching methods for educators who will lead full classrooms of a certain population.

Did you know? Most schools around the world now use inclusion, which means children with special needs have to earn their right to be in a regular classroom; historically, most students with special needs have been excluded from school.[iii]

All states require that special education teachers in the public school setting have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some states require special education teachers to complete a master’s degree in special education to become fully certified.[iv]

Potential benefits to campus-based special education masters programs

Campus-based special education masters programs may be appealing for a few reasons. This is the ‘traditional’ format, which offers face-to-face interaction with your community of classmates, peers and professors. Some people feel this is a great way to network as well as to have access to the college campus facilities, like libraries, laboratories, and athletic facilities. Plus, it might make you feel good to pursue an education degree in a learning institution!

What is special and gifted education?

Special education professionals cater to the population of students who have special needs, whether because of physical, mental, or psychological disabilities. These students require an adapted curriculum.

In the case of gifted students, or talented students, these are students who have high abilities and need an enriched classroom setting with an accelerated program so that they can continue to progress.

What Special Education Teachers Do

Special education teachers are professionals who work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional or physical disabilities. Their role is to adapt general education lessons in a variety of subjects, such as reading, writing and mathematics, to those who have mild and moderate disabilities. In addition, they teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques to those students with severe disabilities. Their duties vary depending on where they work, who they are teaching, and their teaching specialty.[iv]

The projected job outlook for special education is a 6% in employment rise between 2012 and 2022[i]. Improved screening and identification of various disabilities in children are expected to increase the demand for special education services[i].

A few facts about certification for special education professionals

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics[ii]

  • All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed, though requirements for certification vary from state to state. This license is often referred to as a certification. Private school teachers are not required to be licensed.
  • Many states offer general licenses in special education that allow teachers to work with a variety of disabilities, while others offer licenses or endorsements based on a specific category such as autism or behavior disorders
  • Some states allow special education teachers from another state to transfer their license, while others require teachers to pass their state’s licensing requirements

What might I study in a campus special education masters program?

Campus-based special education and gifted education programs can differ from school to school. Students can sometimes expect as part of their curriculum, they may have to complete a period of fieldwork; called ‘student teaching’[ii]

Students can be exposed to different topics depending on what type of special and gifted education graduate program they are interested in. Typically one can expect coursework that can include both theory and practical methodologies that address the educational needs of the gifted or special needs student. Course content can include subjects such as:

  • Development and characteristics of learners
  • Individual learning differences
  • Instructional strategies
  • Social and language development
  • Lesson planning
  • Assessment
  • Professional and Ethical Practices
  • Collaboration

Other Potential careers for graduates with master’s degree in special education

Most special education teachers work in public schools, magnet, charter and private schools or in childcare centers. Others may work in residential facilities, hospitals, or travel to student’s homes.[ii]

Other potential career paths in for graduates with a master’s degree in special education might include:

  • Childcare Workers[v]: care for children when parents and other family members are unavailable
  • High School teachers[vi]: prepare students for life after graduation
  • Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers[vii]: prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects
  • Middle School teachers:[viii] educate students from grade 6-12
  • Preschool teachers:[ix] care for children from ages 3-5 who have not yet entered kindergarten
  • Recreational therapists:[x] plan, direct, and coordinate recreation based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses

Ready to pursue a masters degree in special education?

The work of special education teachers can be gratifying, as they help students with disabilities learn and develop life skills so they can enjoy an enriched life. If you think you have what it takes to work with specialized populations, it could be career path with a potentially positive job outlook, with opportunities that could be better in specialties such as with students who have multiple disabilities severe disabilities, or autism disorders[ii].

Begin browsing through the campus-based special and gifted education graduate programs on GradSchools.com to find the one that rings true with your vocational or professional goals.


Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-6 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-4 | [iii] simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_education | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-2 | [v] bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/childcare-workers.htm | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [vii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm | [x] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/recreational-therapists.htm

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