Hybrid Special Education Graduate Programs & Graduate Schools

Hybrid special education graduate programs offer students an alternative to traditional learning through a unique combination of in person and online special education ...

courses. While the format varies between graduate schools, a blended online program can provide the flexibility that working students need to advance their education. Whether you are looking for initial or professional certification, hybrid graduate programs in special education are worth considering.

Hybrid Special Education Graduate Programs: Basics

Hybrid Special Education Graduate Programs may be offered as graduate certificates, special education masters programs and PhD or Doctor of Education (EdD) degree programs. Usually the bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for a master’s degree program, and the master’s degree is a platform to a doctorate degree program. Admissions requirements and prerequisites can vary between graduate schools.

DID YOU KNOW? According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) contain provisions requiring special educators who teach core academic subjects, to be highly qualified.”[i]

Why Enroll in a Hybrid Special Education Graduate Program?

On a practical note, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that earning a graduate degree may contribute to higher wages for education professionals[ii], and that employment prospects are favorable from 2014 to 2024, especially for educators with experience and knowledge of working with students who have learning disabilities and speech or language impairments.[iii] Another side of the coin is that hybrid special education graduate programs may be appealing for the way they balance two different learning formats: campus and distance learning. While universities format their programs differently, you typically get a balance that could be noted for its components:

  • Convenience: The online component delivers your courses via web-based technology
  • Collaborative/Interactive: The onsite component ensures you get hands on instruction and a chance to collaborate with classmates
  • Access: As a partially online student you may have access to the campus facilities and the online resources (digital libraries, for example)

Whether you are looking for a local university or are open to checking out your options, simply using the search term ‘hybrid’ and the degree level you need will yield results. Just remember to inform yourself about licensure in the state you aspire to work in. Some states do allow special education teachers to transfer their licenses from other states, while others may require you to pass their state’s licensing requirements.[iv]

Potential Concentrations Within Special Education

Blended online graduate programs in special education could emphasis different areas; some of these could include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Gifted and Talented Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Mild to Moderate Disabilities
  • Moderate to Severe Disabilities
  • Visual Impairment/Blindness
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Hybrid Special Education Graduate Certificates

Hybrid special education graduate certificates may serve as useful add-on credentials, especially if you are seeking an endorsement from your state to be able to teach specific populations. Many states offer general licenses in special education that allow teachers to work with students with diverse disabilities. Others offer licenses or endorsements based on a disability-specific category, such as autism or one of the above concentration areas[v].

Hybrid Special Education Masters Programs

Hybrid special education master’s programs may make the process of working towards licensing or endorsements more convenient to current educators or teachers who are still working with supervision under a mentor. All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed, or certified, however in certain states, full certification is only possible for those who have completed a master’s degree[vi]. Furthermore, teachers may have to complete annual professional development classes or a master’s degree to maintain their license[vii]

Hybrid Special Education Doctorate Degrees

Hybrid Special Education Doctorate Degrees may be offered as Doctor of Education (EdD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Special Education. As terminal degrees in this field, they are often research-intensive and students may have to make original contributions to the existing knowledge base in special education.

After Graduation  

Special Education graduates may be prepared to seek licensure, and pursue career paths:

  • Classroom Special Education Teachers[viii]
  • School Counselors[ix]
  • Instructional Coordinators[x]
  • Assistant Principal, Principal[xi]
  • Emotional Disabilities Teachers[xii]
  • Hearing Impaired Itinerant Teachers[xiii]
  • Learning Support Teachers[xiv]
  • Severe/Profound Mental Handicaps Special Ed Teacher[xv]

Accreditation

Look for universities or Hybrid Special Education Graduate Program that have been accredited regionally and/or through program-specific accrediting agencies such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). When in doubt, you can check the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) websites.

Take the Next Step

Browse our extensive listings of sponsored programs to take your education to its next step.  Some of your choices could include hybrid Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education; hybrid Master of Science in Special Needs. Make sure to contact prospective graduate schools to find out about their unique blended online programs, and of course, to ensure you do not miss the deadline for enrollment!


sources: [i] answers.ed.gov/link/portal/28022/28025/Article/601/Highly-qualified-special-education-teachers |[ii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#Education[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 |[vii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[viii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[ix] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[x] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[xi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm |[xii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2052.00 |[xiii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2052.00 |[xiv] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2052.00 |[xv] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2052.00