United States Online Special Education Degree Graduate Programs
Online special education degree graduate programs cater to current and future special education teachers, scholars and administrators. Many students pursuing a doctorate or masters in special education online are busy licensed teachers who can appreciate the convenience of learning via web-based technology. Traditional residential programs sometimes offer courses during hours which are incompatible with an educator’s schedule. On the other hand, working towards a graduate-level special education degree online may allow balance between work, family and study, enabling learners to achieve their academic goals.
Online Special Education Degree Graduate Programs: Basics
Online special education degree graduate programs are offered as graduate certificates, masters and doctorate degrees. You can find both general special education degree programs or look for one that entails choosing a concentration area. The common prerequisite for an online Master’s in special education is a Bachelor’s degree; this may need to be in education or a related field (early childhood education, special education or human services). The common prerequisite for an online doctoral programs in special education is a Master’s degree. Note that each school may have its own specific prerequisites and enrollment procedures.
FACT: 22% of Severe/Profound Mental Handicaps Special Education Teachers hold a master’s degree; 6% a Post-master’s certificate.[i]
Why Earn a Special Education Graduate Degree?
You may either be required to earn a special education graduate degree or it may be in your favor to do so.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning a graduate degree in this field can lead to greater wage premiums[ii]. Furthermore, special education teachers must be licensed by the state in which they work. Most states require students to have a Bachelor’s
degree in special education, but some require a master's degree or extra graduate-level training[iii]. States also may require a student teaching internship and a passing score on a competency exam.[iv]
Online Special Education Degree: General vs Specific
Learners come to online special education degree graduate programs with different needs. For those that want to understand the needs of students with varying disabilities, a general special education graduate curriculum could include:
- Mastering technologies used for special education learning
- Understanding basic characteristics and categories of disabilities
- Methods of assessment
- Adaptation of Curriculum
- Teaching specific skills to students with disabilities
Within general programs, sometimes one can choose a concentration area, although students who have a background in special education might choose a graduate program that addresses a niche group. Some possible areas of concentration within special education could include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Hearing impaired students
- Visually impaired students
- Learning disabilities
- Emotional/behavioral disorders
- Leadership/organizational behavior
- Education policy
Choosing an Online Schools for Special Education
Many accredited colleges and universities offer accredited online special education degree graduate programs in addition to their residential ones. Choosing an online school for special education, consider three things:
- Degree type and level (certificate, masters, doctorate)
- Unique features of an online program that stand out to you
Online Graduate Certificates in Special Education
Typically, shorter term than a full degree, an online graduate certificate in special education may be an asset to current educators seeking specific skills and/or professional development. Also, since you can often transfer the credits to a Master’s degree program, you are leaving yourself open for continued education. If this interests you, browse our sponsored program listings such as online Graduate Teaching Certificate-Exceptional Learners Mild Intervention; online Supervisor of Special Education Certificate; online Graduate Certificate in Special Education.
Online Masters in Special Education Degree Programs
Students interested in a Masters in special education online degree program have many options, depending on academic and professional goals, and whether they are seeking initial licensure, are already licensed teachers working towards a master’s or are special education professionals seeking advanced credentials. Browse our sponsored program listings that might include online Master of Arts in Special Education; online Master of Science in Special Education; online Master of Education in Special Education; Master of Arts in Teaching & Special Education Credential (online).
Online Doctoral Programs in Special Education
Online Doctoral programs in special education may be offered as an online Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or an online Doctor of Education (EdD). Along with online coursework, students in an online EdD in special education degree program may be required to complete a residency, research apprenticeship and coursework. Browse our sponsored listings to find possibilities such as Online Doctorate in Education-Leadership in Special Education Concentration; EdD Specialist in Special Education online.
Earn Your Special Education Degree Online: Potential Unique Features
Since universities and colleges format their own Online Special Education Degree Graduate programs, you may find unique features between them that help to attract you to their school (a good thing!). Earning your degree online means several things:
- There are no geographical restrictions between you and your online graduate school
- You have access to online digital tools for communication with your educators
- You may be communicating with your classmates through online discussion boards or live streaming webinars where everyone logs in at the same time to a lecture that is held live on the main campus
- You may have the same faculty as a residential program or not
- Your courses may or may not be identical to the residential programs
- Educational technology varies but you do need a computer and Internet; some schools have had online programs for many years while others have not
- Field and practicum experiences may be arranged within appropriate public schools in your home community
- You may have all pre-recorded lectures which you can access via computer anytime
- You may have some scheduled meetings or classes which may be online or if partially online, then in person
Accreditation provides a framework for quality control and ensures that educator programs meet specific standards. Check with the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for a list of regionally accredited higher learning institutions. In terms of program specific accreditation, you can check with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).[v]
Take the Next Step
While employment growth for special education teachers varies by type (preschool, kindergarten, middle school, secondary school), it is favorable, with an average of 6% increase between 2014 and 2024[vi]. Learn more about online special education graduate degree programs by requesting information from prospective online schools for special education. Find a degree, find a school, take the next step.
sources:[i] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2052.00 |[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] caepnet.org/ |[vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm
Saint Joseph's UniversityUpcoming Start Date: January 07, 2019
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.
The George Washington UniversityUpcoming Start Date: January 14, 2019
GW's Master's in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services is a 36-credit master's degree.
Purdue UniversityUpcoming Start Date: January 07, 2019
Purdue University Calumet is one of five campuses that make up the Purdue University system.The online MSEd in Special Education program sees the entire education landscape and combines practical experience with the latest breakthroughs...
Northcentral UniversityUpcoming Start Date: November 19, 2018
The Education Specialist degree with a specialization in Special Education will prepare you to face the challenging legal issues confronting current administrators of special education programs.
George Mason UniversityUpcoming Start Date: January 22, 2019
George Mason University's online Master's Degree in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis equips students to identify, address, and overcome complex learning challenges to influence the educational potential for people...
Arkansas State University
Arkansas State University’s Master of Science in Education in Gifted, Talented, and Creative (GTC) offers educators a planned program at the graduate-level degree program which is based on recommendations of professional organizations and accrediting asso...
Gain the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with students with disabilities mainstreamed or fully included in general education classrooms. Become a K-12 General Education Inclusion Teacher, College Instructor, Consultant or Advisor, Coa...
University of Hartford
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Grand Canyon University
In a crucially relevant sphere of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a growing demand for special education services and higher graduation standards intersect in public schools across the nation. As the field of diagnosis in spectrum disorders continue...
Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaUpcoming Start Date: January 07, 2019
Learn the skills you need to improve special students’ lives with an online Master of Arts in Special Education degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Elevate your education. Reach a career milestone by earning your Master of Arts in Education online from Ashford University. Study in depth those areas that most influence educational institutions.
With a program designed by educators for educators, the M.S. in Education (M.S.Ed.) focuses on the knowledge and skills you need to help students succeed today.
- Lynchburg, VALynchburg, VA
Liberty University OnlineUpcoming Start Date: January 14, 2019
University of Northern Colorado - Extended Campus
The Masters of Arts program in Special Education Generalist is designed to prepare special educators to work with K-12 students across a range of abilities, from significant support needs to mild/moderate disabilities.
Pennsylvania State University
Expand your ability to support students with special needs by earning a Penn State Masters in Special Education online. Emphases in Academic and Behavioral Supports, Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism tailor the 32-credit program to match your goals.
Coastal Carolina University
The M.Ed. in Special Education is an online program that can be completed in approximately 18 months and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation...
Emporia State University
Master of Science - Special Education (concentrations in High Incidence and Gifted, Talented, and Creative).
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
One of the best online graduate education programs in the country, according to the 2013 U.S. News and World Report survey.
Johns Hopkins University
Graduate Certificate in the Education of Students with Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental DisordersUpcoming Start Date: January 02, 2019
This 18-credit, online certificate is designed for parents, certified educators, educational support personnel, and interested members of the community to gain practical knowledge for supporting children and adults diagnosed with autism...
Become a Learning and Behavior Disorder Educator, P-12, 8-12 through our online program.
The M.Ed. in Special Education prepares certified teachers with the skills, knowledge, and experience to advance in their...
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion is recognized as an international leader in telecommunications with the creation of TELETECHNET, a distance learning network in partnersh...