United States Campus Masters in Special Education

Many education graduate schools offer on campus special education masters programs. If you are interested in assessing students with special needs such as autism or behavior disorders, enrolling in a masters special education program may prepare you to assess, develop and implement individual education plans (IEPs). Working towards your masters degree in special education through a residential program may be a good way to soak up the hands-on learning amongst like-minded professionals. Find out which special education masters program aligns with your goals.

How to Earn a Campus Special Education Masters

Essentials of Campus Special Education Masters Programs

Campus special education masters programs may be available for both current and aspiring educators. Special Education (SpEd) is a branch of education that is dedicated to adapting teaching methods and providing support for students with physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioral disabilities. A masters degree in special education may be required in some states as part of teacher certification and licensure, and some teachers may need to pursue a masters degree in order to maintain a current license.[i]

DID YOU KNOW? In a survey, when asked about their education level, 22% of Special Education Teachers reported having earned their master’s degree[ii].

What are Potential Prerequisites for a Masters Degree in Special Education?

Prospective applicants in special education masters programs may have earned a Bachelors in Education degree from an accredited college. Some programs may be suitable for students who come from outside the world of education, or licensed teachers who may have earned a bachelors degree in education and are seeking certification to teach special needs students or to earn a Learning Behavior Specialist (LBS1) endorsement. Since there are no standard prerequisites for masters in special education programs, it is up to each student to contact the admissions personnel at a prospective graduate school to research their requirements. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree in Special Education?

Program lengths may vary between universities, but on average, earning a masters degree in special education might take approximately 1 to 2-years of full-time study. Some programs may involve field experiences, a thesis or pursuing initial licensure in the state within which you intend to teach.

What Should I Look for in an On Campus Special Education Masters Program?

Choosing an on campus special education master s program likely means perhaps you prefer in-person learning, might enjoy sitting in on live lectures, or the social setting that may be provided through interaction. You may have a budget, and size prospective universities up based on cost, financing or other personal measures. Other factors that may help you find an accredited masters in special education program might include:

  • What types of masters degrees in special education are available
  • Whether there is a specific concentration area offered at one college that appeals to you such as learning disabilities, or instructional programming for special needs preschoolers (as examples)
  • Accreditation (institution, programmatic)
  • Location of Campus (city, state or country)

Campus Special Education Masters Programs: M.A., M.S., M.A.T., M.Ed.

Navigating the variety of on campus special education masters programs may seem complicated, so a good starting point is what type of education you already have and what your career ambitions are. For instance, are you transitioning from another discipline, interested in administration and leadership, or do you prefer a research approach to a special education degree, perhaps to potentially shape education reform or policy? Knowing what type of special education masters program option you are looking for from a graduate special education school may be useful in narrowing down choices for prospective universities. Choices may range from: master of arts, master of arts in teaching, master of education and master of science in special education degree programs. You may also be able to choose an emphasis area such as applied behavior analysis (ABA) or autism.

  • The Master of Arts in teaching (MAT) in special education may focus on teaching students how to implement pedagogical theory into their classrooms. The MAT might be considered the degree that teaches ‘how to be a teacher’. Prospective applicants usually have a bachelor’s degree but it may not be in education.
  • The Master of Education (MEd) in special education may focus on expanding a current teacher’s skills beyond the classroom (e.g. leadership, curriculum specialist). Prospective applicants usually have a bachelors in education and state license. In some states, a practitioner degree such as the Master of Education may be required for entry-level teachers seeking their license.
  • The Master of Science in special education may focus on educational research or leadership and may take a scientific approach to teaching that incorporates measurement and evaluation.
  • The Master of Arts in special education is a research degree; prospective students may wish to conduct research in the field of special education. The MA may also prepare students to pursue a doctorate in education, and typically requires a thesis.

What is CAEP Accreditation?

CAEP – the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is considered a teaching program specific accreditor. As of 2016, the NCATE and TEAC merged into CAEP[iii].Admission into an CAEP-accredited special education program commonly requires candidates to hold a Bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited institution.

Where Do You Want To Earn Your Special Education Masters Degree?

Do you want to earn your masters degree in special education at a local university? Are you interested in an out of state program? Find campus special education masters programs by a preferred location. Use our easy navigation to search by city, state or country. It may be helpful to inform yourself of the legislation for teachers in the state where you intend to teach. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some states permit special education teachers to transfer their licenses from another state, while other states require even an experienced teacher to pass their state’s licensing requirements.[iv]

Take the Next Step

Review our directory of sponsored graduate schools offering campus special education masters degree. Search by location or browse the listings. Each university and education school may offer unique student services and facilities as well as courses and concentrations. We recommend you contact the providers directly through the ‘request info’ setting to get an accurate read on what they offer and when to apply.


sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2052.00 |[iii] http://www.caepnet.org/ |[iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm

 

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