A Masters in Special Education can lead to some of the most rewarding jobs available within the education sector. Special ed is all about helping students with learning disabilities achieve their potential. Children with problems like autism and ADHD are often stigmatized and made to feel less capable than their peers – but in actual fact, often these kids are capable of achieving impressive outcomes in education when they have the time, patience and correct teaching techniques applied to them. As an advanced level special education graduate, this is the sort of work that will be available to you.
Top Masters in Special Education Programs
There are many excellent Masters in Special Education programs spread out across the US. Here we’ve put together a quick profile of four top schools in different parts of the country.
Vanderbilt University is a standout school for Masters in Education programs in general, but their special education program is one of their crown jewels. The program has four sub-sections within special education: low incidence disabilities, high incidence disabilities, early childhood and behavior analysis. High incidence disabilities refers to common problems like ADHD. Low incidence disability study allows you to hone in and work with kids who have rare problems, who also tend to be the least understood and most stigmatized in a school environment.
The University of Florida also rates highly for its Masters in Special Ed program. The special education graduate programs they offer break down into an early childhood program, an elementary program and the Online Teach Well program. The major limits here are that you need to have gone through your undergraduate study in the university’s Proteach program before you can do their Master’s level studies – so if you have an undergrad degree from another university you may have a hard time getting into these advanced courses. The online program is more flexible and works for people who are already teaching or who have an undergrad degree in a field other than education.
NYU’s Steinhardt School also has Masters in Special Education programs which focus on early childhood and elementary level teaching. There are two slightly different special education graduate degrees – one for people who are already certified as teachers, and another which is a dual certification program, teaching you the skills you’ll need as a special ed teacher and qualifying you as a teacher in general at the same time. The NYU course offers a broad choice of sub-topics to allow you to focus on the aspects of special ed you’re most interested in.
Masters in Special Education Online
Have a passion for special education, but you don’t have the time to commit to a full-time on-campus Master’s program? Online education offers a convenient solution, with many quality institutions now offering online study at advanced levels.
The University of Phoenix has an online Masters of Arts in Special Education program. This program is flexible not only because it’s online, but because it’s easily accessible to someone with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education. It gives you a broad range of skills to teach kids with various disabilities as well as practical techniques to simplify the teaching process.
Liberty University Online has a Masters of Teaching in Special Education, which focuses not only on giving you the ability to teach disabled kids their curriculum but also helping them deal with behavioral problems. The program also offers field experience, which is necessary to become fully certified as a teacher (although you can do a lot of theory and coursework online, you can’t get certified without putting in some face-time in a classroom).
Masters in Special Education Jobs
The main roles open for people with a Masters in Special Education are teaching and teacher’s assistant jobs. There are also less common roles in administration and counseling, community youth groups, and government research roles.
Masters in Special Education Salary
Jobs for Masters in Special Education grads typically pay somewhere between $40,000 and $70,000 a year. Factors determining the masters in special education salary can include experience, the particular job title and whether a school is public or private.