Pennsylvania Masters in Special Education Degrees & Programs
Masters in special education programs offer individuals the pedagogical tools to adapt curriculum to students who have learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. A ‘special needs’ student may be hearing or visually impaired, autistic, or have concentration or behavioral issues. A special needs teacher needs to be able to adapt, respond and lead their student forward in learning and growth. Motivated? Read on; there are different types of masters degree in special education programs available.
About a Masters in Special Education Degree Program
Many masters in special education are 2-year full-time degree programs designed for current individuals who are already licensed educators and have earned their bachelors degree from an accredited college. Other programs may be intended to lead to initial teaching licensure or be suitable for career changers seeking to potentially expand their employment opportunities.
Special Education Masters Program: Potential Curriculum
Special Education masters programs teach current or aspiring teachers how to identify (diagnose) disabilities and develop individualized education programs (IEPs) for each student[i]. They may also include teaching and supervising methods, special education counseling and applicable laws and policies.[ii] While curriculums vary, examples of some of the topics that masters in special education programs may offer might include[iii]:
- Description and Nature of Disabilities
- Effective teaching strategies
- Lesson planning
- Inclusive classrooms
- Child development
- How to use assistive technology (e.g. Braille writers)
- IEP implementation
- Student assessment
Special education Masters Programs: Potential Concentration Areas
Some of the masters degree in special education programs offer specializations, meaning they may focus on a particular group of
special needs student.
Some of the potential concentration areas in a masters in special education degree program might include:
- Early Childhood
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Learning and Behavior Specialist (LBS)
- Speech and Language Issues
- Grades K-12 cross categorical
- Education of the Deaf/Hard of hearing
- Education of the Visually Impaired
DID YOU KNOW? The most common degree awarded to current students graduating in Special Education are master’s degrees; 18,035 masters special education degrees were awarded in 2014, per DATA USA.[iv]
Types of Masters in Special Education Degree Programs
Masters in special education degrees may be available as Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree tracks.
Master of Education in Special Education
The MEd in special education may be designed for experienced and certified teachers seeking to expand their academic and professional skills. Master of education coursework may cover topics such as research methodologies, curriculum design, school reform, education psychology and assessment strategies. Some MEd in special education programs might lead to an endorsement certification in special education which may be required by certain states.
Master of Arts in Special Education
The MA in special education may be designed for individuals who might prefer scholarly research. Master of Arts coursework may cover topics such as educational ethics and child psychology.
Master of Science in Special Education
The MS in special education may be designed for students who have earned their bachelors in education and may be seeking leadership roles, such as special education principal.[v]
Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education
The MAT in special education may be designed for individuals who have earned their bachelors degree in academic areas outside of teaching and are ready to transition into the field of education. The MAT degree may also be appropriate for someone who has a bachelors degree in early childhood (for instance) and is now interested in special education certification. After earning the master of arts in teaching in special education, graduates might apply for their teaching license in the state where they plan to teach.
Why Earn a Masters Degree in Special Education?
There may be any number of reasons to consider working towards a masters in special education degree.
Licensure: In the public-school systems, special education teachers need to have at least a bachelor’s degree and state-issued certification or license in the state in which they work. Some states require special education teachers to complete a masters degree in special education in order to become fully certified.[vi]
Continued Education: Some masters in special education degree programs may provide a platform for a doctorate in education degree.
Earning Potential: Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, special education teachers with a master’s degree earned a 14% wage premium over teachers with their bachelor’s degree in 2013.[vii]
Employment Outlook: Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of special education teachers is projected to grow by 6% from 2014 to 2024.[viii]
Find Accredited Special Education Masters Programs
Accreditation provides students with a guarantee that an institution has been evaluated and it meets the highest standards for quality postsecondary education. There are two basic types of educational accreditation: “institutional” and “programmatic”.[ix] There is an accreditation group within the Department of Education who administers the accreditation process; the U.S. Department of Education has a list of acceptable accrediting agencies as well as a database of accredited post-secondary institutions[x]. The accreditor for teacher preparation programs is CAEP.
Choosing Your Format: Campus, Hybrid or Online Special Education Degree?
Accredited masters special education programs may be available on campus, or through distance learning. Online Masters in Special Education degree programs might be appealing to current teachers with on-going full schedules. Hybrid programs are a blend of in person learning and web-based courses. You can search our site to find special education masters programs by location (city, state, country) or sort through sponsored listings by ‘online’, ‘hybrid’ or ‘campus’ format.
Take the Next Step
Review sponsored listings to find MA, MS, MAT and MEd special education masters programs from accredited graduate schools. Multiple listings does not mean all the universities offer the same curriculums so contact prospective education schools with our easy-to-use ‘request info’ setting. Find out about their next deadline for application and learn about their unique features!
sources [i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[ii] https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/cipdetail.aspx?y=55&cipid=88150 |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[iv] datausa.io/profile/cip/1310/ |[v] bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm |[vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[vii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#Education |[viii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[ix] http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation.html#Overview |[x] http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation.html#Overview |
Saint Joseph's University
The online Master’s in Special Education from Saint Joseph’s University includes specializations and certifications that are designed to meet the most pressing demands in today’s schools.
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
As much as classrooms need devoted teachers capable of breaking down barriers for students with special educational needs, the students they serve need them more.
- Bethlehem, PABethlehem, PA
The graduate program is fully accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and offers special education certification at the Master's level. We are strongly committed to the preparation of highly qualified educators who are not only skille...
Slippery Rock University
The online School Supervision Program focuses on preparing students who want to become supervisors of special education. Students examine best practices literature regarding the professional knowledge, skills, and disposition required of leaders in educ...
- Bloomsburg, PABloomsburg, PA
Bloomsburg University Of Pennsylvania
This program provides an opportunity for individuals to pursue three different master of science programs. The Master of Science in Special Education is for those who hold certification in special education. It is intended to improve the competence of t...
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
The M.S. Speech-Language Pathology program at Duquesne gives students an excellent academic and broad-based clinical education experience at an accelerated pace. ...
- Shippensburg, PAShippensburg, PA
Concentrations in Behavior Disorders, Comprehensive Cert, Learning Disabilities, & Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities...
- Millersville, PAMillersville, PA
The M.Ed. in Special Education allows students the opportunity of advanced study in mental and physical disabilities, including the areas of brain injuries, autism/PPD, specific learning disabilities, all levels of mental...
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
University of Pittsburgh
Education of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students Specialization; Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities Specialization; Mental and Physical D...
- Elkins Park, PAElkins Park, PA
Salus University College of Education and Rehabilitation offers a Master of Education degree program and a certificate program for Teachers of Children with Visual and Multiple Disabilities. These competency-based programs offer coursework and practica...
- East Stroudsburg, PAEast Stroudsburg, PA
East Stroudsburg University
- Cheyney, PACheyney, PA
- Indiana, PAIndiana, PA
Indiana University Of Pennsylvania
Tailor your education to suit your professional needs with the Master’s program for Special Education. Whether you hold teaching certification in this field, wish to obtain it, or want to work in related careers to help persons with disabilities, you’ll...
- University Park, PAUniversity Park, PA
Pennsylvania State University
The purpose of the M.Ed. program in Special Education is to prepare teachers of exceptional children. M.Ed. students are trained in behavior management and instructional design, implementation, and evaluation appropriate for effective work with children...
- Wilkes-Barre, PAWilkes-Barre, PA
This program is designed for those who hold an early childhood, elementary or secondary teaching certificate and want to obtain a master's degree and...
- Chester, PAChester, PA
The Master of Education program has a commitment to the development of advanced learning experiences that are appropriate to the needs of practicing p...
- Reading, PAReading, PA
Focusing on topics such as inclusion, literacy, and other concepts associated with educating special needs students.
- California, PACalifornia, PA
California University of Pennsylvania
Tracks are available for both those who hold teacher certification and those who do not.
- Beaver Falls, PABeaver Falls, PA
The Master's of Education in Special Education is designed to prepare current teachers with supplemental skills in working with students diagnosed with mental and physical disabilities. Teachers will be prepared to work with students who are mentally re...
- West Chester, PAWest Chester, PA
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
The Department of Education offers one master's of education and three certificate programs through the Distance Education department. **MEd in Special Education online program (43 credits) This program is open to anyone with a Bachelor's degree and...
- West Chester, PA
Seton Hill University
Today, all teachers have to be prepared to meet the needs of students with special learning abilities.