Hybrid Special Education Masters Programs

Some education schools offer hybrid special education masters programs which combine online special education courses with a low residency experience of university. Since special education teachers typically need to be licensed in the state where they plan to teach, finding a local or in-state school may be appealing, but what do you do about your busy teaching schedule or home life? This is where a partially online masters special education program may be appealing. If you are ready to consider a post-baccalaureate special education degree, why not investigate a blended program?

About Online - Hybrid Special Education Masters Programs

Hybrid special education masters programs may be available with either licensure and non-licensure options. Earning a masters degree in special education may help you to advance in the world of education; per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the wages and employment rate for special education teachers with master’s degrees is higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree.[i] Some online/hybrid masters special education programs may be completed in about 2-years of full time study and require an undergraduate degree from an accredited college, although you don’t necessarily need to have a bachelors degree in education. This means if you are thinking of potentially switching careers but need some scheduling flexibility, a hybrid program may meet your needs.  

Potential Features of Hybrid Masters in Special Education Programs

Hybrid special education masters programs may be formatted differently in each university. You may find online course delivery with the addition of a week-end or evening class on campus. Or you may find that the campus component is scheduled in summer or over the course of several weekends scheduled throughout. These are things you can ask prospective schools to make sure you will be able to meet the commitment. Some of the features that may appeal to you might include:

  • You probably don’t have to relocate
  • You might take the online classes on your home computer
  • You meet your classmates and professors (interact, collaborate) during the campus component
  • You may expand your networks to include teachers and aspiring teachers in your state

What is the Difference Between an M.A.T. & M.Ed. Degree in Special Education?

You are looking through hybrid masters of special education programs and notice that there are two degrees that sound similar – the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and the Master of Education (M.Ed.). Both degrees may enhance a teacher’s skill sets in teaching student groups with various disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities and behavioral issues. Both may help teachers to meet state licensing requirements. Choosing the right degree for you, you need to clearly identify what you hope to accomplish with your master’s degree. What type of career do you aspire to pursue? What are the educational requirements for teachers in the state and/or educational institution where you hope to work?

Hybrid Master of Arts in Teaching – Special Education

A hybrid master of arts in teaching is typically a degree program centered around the practical skills and basic knowledge of how to address special needs students. In fact, the MAT may require no previous teaching experience so it might be appropriate for students seeking initial licensure in special education whose undergraduate degree is outside the field of education. The MAT in special education typically requires students to participate in student-teaching experience in a special education setting.  Course topics and program lengths vary, but might include:

  • Human development
  • Educational psychology
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Classroom and behavior management
  • Learning how to use educational and/or assistive technology
  • Learning about inclusive practices
  • Learning how to collaborate with parents and other teachers

Hybrid Master of Education – Special Education

Whereas the MAT often focuses on teaching practical skills, a hybrid master of education in special education might prepare students to evaluate the research, statistics, theory and practice of education and instructional strategies related to special education. Some M.Ed. students choose a concentration area that is designed to expand their knowledge and potentially prepare them for leadership roles outside of the classroom (e.g. school principal). The M.Ed. may also be a first stage in educational doctoral programs. Some of the common areas within M.Ed. programs are:

  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Counseling
  • Administration

Why Choose a Hybrid Master in Special Education Degree?

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment prospects for special education teachers with early childhood intervention and skills in working with students who have multiple disabilities, severe disabilities, or autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities and speech or language impairments may have the best job prospects[ii]

Employment Projections Data for Special Education Teachers (2014 to 2024):

  • Special education teachers (preschool): 9% increase in employment [iii]
  • Special education teachers (kindergarten, elementary) 6% increase in employment [iv]
  • Special education teachers (middle school) 6% increase in employment [v]
  • Special education teachers (secondary school) 6% increase in employment [vi]

Look for Accredited Hybrid Special Education Masters Programs

Wondering whether the hybrid special education masters degree program you are interested in is accredited? Accreditation in the United States is two-fold, institutional and programmatic. Institutions are reviewed nationally (U.S. Department of Education) and regionally (designated by U.S.D.E.). Program-specific accreditors are also recognized by the U.S.D.E. In the case of teacher preparation programs, CAEP – Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is a recognized agency.

Take the Next Step

Find a hybrid special education masters program by scrolling through sponsored listings or filter a search by location. Read program descriptions, then use the request info setting to get full details and start a conversation with education providers. We make it simple to take the next step in your education today!


sources[i] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#Education |[ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[v] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |

 

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