thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Special education teachers provide support and instruction to meet the needs of exceptional learners.

Special education teachers must adapt curriculum content to accommodate various learning, behavioral, emotional, and physical disabilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), special education teachers earned an annual median salary of just over $60,000 in 2019. The BLS projects 13,600 new positions for these professionals between 2018 and 2028.

Master's degrees in special education foster the knowledge and skills needed to develop, implement, and monitor individualized education programs, propelling learners toward their educational goals. This guide ranks the best online special education master's programs. We also include important information for prospective students, such as how to choose the right program and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Best Online Master's in Special Education Programs

#1 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

Texas A&M University

  • College Station, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in special education degree at Texas A&M University, located in College Station, uses a flexible distance learning format. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the master of education or master of science in special education program. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. Applicants without a special education background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

Texas A&M University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 58%

Total Online Master's Programs: 38

Program Name: Master of Education or Master of Science in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,677

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,700

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,941
Out-of-state
$34,190
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
68,726
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

The University of South Florida-Main Campus

  • Tampa, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in special education at the University of South Florida, located in Tampa, offers high academic quality. The master of arts in exceptional student education program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. After earning a master's degree, candidates also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with a background in special education typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

The University of South Florida at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 48%

Total Online Master's Programs: 27

Program Name: Master of Arts in Exceptional Student Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,350

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,048

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,559
Out-of-state
$15,473
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
48%
Students Enrolled
44,246
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

Pennsylvania State University World Campus

  • University Park, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online

From its campus in University Park, Pennsylvania State University World Campus hosts a top-ranked master's in special education program. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the master of education in special education program. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to special education. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. Applicants without a degree in special education or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Pennsylvania State University World Campus at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 76%

Total Online Master's Programs: 52

Program Name: Master of Education in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $21,682

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $21,682

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,484
Out-of-state
$13,484
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
Not provided
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Florida International University, located in Miami, enrolls master's students in its online special education program. The master of science in special education encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to special education. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. Applicants with prior experience in special education or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

Florida International University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 58%

Total Online Master's Programs: 31

Program Name: Master of Science in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,912

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $21,393

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,721
Out-of-state
$16,529
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
58,711
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

The University of Houston

  • Houston, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Texas, the University of Houston enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online special education program. The master of education in special populations draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on special education. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. The master's program recommends a background in special education before applying to the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

The University of Houston at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 65%

Total Online Master's Programs: 15

Program Name: Master of Education in Special Populations

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,370

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,746

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,219
Out-of-state
$20,747
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
46,148
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

Clemson University

  • Clemson, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson University offers an online master's in special education. The master of education in special education program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in special education. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. The master's program recommends a background in special education before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Clemson University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 51%

Total Online Master's Programs: 18

Program Name: Master of Education in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,600

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,050

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,118
Out-of-state
$37,110
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
25,822
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

Georgia Southern University

  • Statesboro, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's degree in special education at Georgia Southern University, located in Statesboro, offers high academic quality. The master of education in special education program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of special education. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. Applicants without a background in special education may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Georgia Southern University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 54%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program Name: Master of Education in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,977

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,890

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,371
Out-of-state
$15,425
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
54%
Students Enrolled
26,054
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

The University of Alabama

  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in special education, offered by The University of Alabama from its Tuscaloosa campus, ranks as a top program. The master of arts or educational specialist in special education helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in special education before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

The University of Alabama at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 23

Program Name: Master of Arts or Educational Specialist in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,780

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $30,250

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,780
Out-of-state
$30,250
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
38,100
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

The University of North Alabama

  • Florence, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of North Alabama, located in Florence, enrolls master's students in its online special education program. The master of arts in education in collaborative special education program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in special education. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a special education background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

The University of North Alabama at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 89%

Total Online Master's Programs: 13

Program Name: Master of Arts in Education in Collaborative Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,660

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,320

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,600
Out-of-state
$19,200
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
7,702
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online special education degree can enroll in the master's program at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, located in Edinburg. The master of education in special education program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in special education. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants without a special education background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 17

Program Name: Master of Education in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,959

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,555

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,664
Out-of-state
$16,792
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
29,113
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#11 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

The University of Arkansas

  • Fayetteville, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Arkansas, located in Fayetteville, offers a flexible online master's in special education. The master of education in special education program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in special education. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. The admission requirements include a background in special education or a related field.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

The University of Arkansas at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 77%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program Name: Master of Education in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,752

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $21,032

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,568
Out-of-state
$24,056
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
27,559
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#12 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

The University of West Georgia

  • Carrollton, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Carrollton, the University of West Georgia hosts a top-ranked master's in special education program. The master of arts in teaching in special education program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or move into new career paths.

The master's curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a special education background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

The University of West Georgia at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 59%

Total Online Master's Programs: 8

Program Name: Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,338

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,830

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,371
Out-of-state
$15,426
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
13,238
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#13 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

Mississippi College

  • Clinton, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in special education program at Mississippi College, located in Clinton, offers a flexible online format. The master of education in special education program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in special education. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with a background in special education typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

Mississippi College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Admission Rate: 42%

Total Online Master's Programs: 23

Program Name: Master of Education in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,250

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,250

Average Tuition
In-state
$17,550
Out-of-state
$17,550
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
42%
Students Enrolled
4,733
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#14 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

Michigan State University

  • East Lansing, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in East Lansing, Michigan State University hosts a top-rated online master's in special education. The master of arts in special education program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. Applicants without a background in special education may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Michigan State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 71%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program Name: Master of Arts in Special Education

Graduate Tuition In State: $18,858

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $37,056

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,555
Out-of-state
$40,384
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
49,809
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#15 Best Online Master’s in Special Education 2022

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  • Charlotte, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte enrolls master's students in its online special education program. The copyandpasteprogramnamehere program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of special education. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The master's program builds on prior special education experience during a bachelor's program.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. The program encourages graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 65%

Total Online Master's Programs: 12

Program Name: copyandpasteprogramnamehere 

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,337

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,771

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,812
Out-of-state
$17,246
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
29,615
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Best Master's

Online Master's in Special Education Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Can You Make With a Master's in Special Education?

According to the BLS, special education teachers earned a median annual salary of $61,030 in 2019.

What Is Special Education?

Special education addresses the needs of individuals with learning, physical, emotional, and behavioral disabilities, though it can also involve working with students who are in accelerated programs. By developing individualized plans to best present information for exceptional students, special education incorporates adapted equipment, techniques, and materials into a unique curriculum.

What Is a Master's in Special Education?

A master's degree in special education trains students to meet the needs of exceptional learners. Designed for individuals with a bachelor's degree, a master's in special education prepares practicing and aspiring teachers to develop and administer content in safe, supportive classroom settings.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Special Education?

Learners can earn a master's in special education in two years, although some accelerated programs may allow students to graduate in 12-18 months.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Special Education Teacher?

The time it takes to become a special education teacher varies by state. All special education teachers need a bachelor's degree, which is usually a four-year commitment. A master's degree in special education and student-teaching requirements may add another two years to the timeline.

Choosing an Online Master's in Special Education Program

When choosing an online master's degree in special education, prospective students should consider factors like cost, transfer policies, and school type. We cover several important considerations for learners below.

  • Program Cost: Tuition for an online master's degree in special education varies by institution. Some online programs offer the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state enrollees, while others offer tuition discounts for in-state students.
  • Transfer Policies: Prospective students with prior relevant experience should explore whether an institution awards academic credit for prior learning, military training, or professional experience. Attending schools with generous transfer policies can save students time and money on a degree.
  • School Size and Type: The size of an institution can influence the number of students in online classes, the amount of personalized attention each learner gets from instructors, and the overall experience. Public colleges and universities typically offer larger class sizes but more degree options than private institutions.
  • Program Length: Most master's degrees take two years of full-time study to complete, but some programs offer accelerated timelines that allow students to graduate in 12-18 months.
  • On-Campus Requirements: Some online programs have on-campus requirements. Students should ensure they can meet these requirements before committing to a program.
  • Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: An online master's in special education program may include a thesis, internship, or teaching requirement, each with unique time commitments. Students should choose a program with requirements aligned with their interests and goals.

What Is Special Education?

Special education coordinates the delivery of instruction for learners with mild, moderate, and severe learning, physical, behavioral, and emotional disabilities. As part of the public education system, special education finds its way to learners through individualized education plans (IEP). Special education teachers work with counselors, administrators, students, and parents to identify the best services, techniques, and content for individuals with disabilities. They monitor IEPs throughout the school year, keeping detailed records about student progress.

Special education requires patience, communication skills, and adaptability.

Special education teachers work with students of all ages, often focusing on one type of disability. Individuals with hearing and visual impairment, speech and language difficulty, autism spectrum disorders, and mood or emotional disturbances all work with special education teachers. Special education may take place in an inclusive classroom or in a modified environment.

Special education requires patience, communication skills, and adaptability. By offering individuals a curriculum that corresponds to their learning needs, special education provides opportunities for all students to meet their full potentials.

What Is a Master's Degree in Special Education?

A master's degree in special education equips students with the tools needed to instruct individuals with special needs. Learners study theoretical and practical foundations of teaching while learning how to create meaningful experiences for students with disabilities.

Many master's in special education programs cater to practicing teachers. These degrees often require a teaching certificate to enroll. However, some programs only require a bachelor's degree, allowing students to begin a teaching career.

Students cultivate research, critical thinking, and communication skills as they learn how to develop modified lesson plans. Online special education master's degrees include classes on disability law, emotional and behavioral disorders, and human growth and development.

Curriculum for an Online Master's in Special Education

Online master's degrees in special education typically emphasize curriculum design, adaptive instruction, behavioral management, and teaching strategies. Online special education master's programs may also allow students to earn specialized credentials in areas like autism spectrum disorders and applied behavior analysis. The following sections cover common courses and credentials found in these programs, but prospective students should note that offerings vary by program.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis: This course introduces students to applied behavior analysis theories, concepts, and principles. Students learn how to assess, intervene, and evaluate special education students. They also learn to measure and analyze behavior, develop methods to reduce negative behaviors, and improve positive behaviors in educational and social settings.
  • Addressing Emotional and Social Needs: This course examines the strategies, techniques, and outcomes that pertain to addressing emotional and social needs. Coursework builds communication and listening skills, teaches gratitude and mindfulness practices, and trains students to foster character development among their pupils.
  • Classroom Management: Classroom management courses examine theoretical and practical approaches to building efficient, effective, and nurturing learning environments. Master's degree students learn techniques for motivating and engaging learners, discipline models for handling misbehavior, and how to establish and communicate expectations, creating a positive classroom setting.
  • Characteristics of Exceptional Learners: This course focuses on how to meet the needs of students with special needs. Learners explore the capabilities and expectations of exceptional learners, building skills that can be used to assist students with behavioral, learning, physical, and social challenges. Classes may integrate a field experience that allows students to observe and work with exceptional learners.

Special Education Certifications and Licenses

Licensure requirements vary by state, but most states require special education teachers to hold a bachelor's degree and relevant teaching experience. Candidates also typically need to pass a background check and licensure examinations. For specific requirements, students should inquire with their state's department or bureau of education.

Some states require educators to take Praxis tests to assess academic skills and subject-specific knowledge. Similarly, the edTPA provides performance-based, subject-specific assessment for future teachers. Experienced educators can also complete examinations offered through the National Board to earn specialized certifications.

Teachers can often transfer their licenses from one state to the next, but requirements can differ significantly by location. Some teachers may need to complete additional requirements before earning full reciprocity to teach in a new state.

Special Education Careers

An online master's degree in special education prepares students for careers in early, elementary, and secondary education. Learners gain the knowledge and competencies needed to work in specialized roles across the educational spectrum.

A special education graduate degree enhances students' understanding of instructional design, teaching strategies, and curriculum development. An advanced degree in education also builds leadership and managerial skills applicable to administrative positions in the field. With a master's degree, individuals can earn additional certifications in education or continue to a doctoral program.

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with exceptional learners at public and private schools. Becoming a public school special education teacher requires state licensure, requisite educational credentials, and experience in the classroom.

Special education teachers work closely with administrators, counselors, students, and parents to identify plans for educational success. By adapting lessons to match individual student needs, special education teachers help exceptional learners reach their full potential.

Patience, strong communication skills, and adaptability serve special education teachers well. With resourcefulness, the ability to think creatively, and analytical strength, special education teachers can thrive.

Median Annual Salary

$59,780

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

3%

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators oversee the development and implementation of curricula within departments, schools, and districts. They may focus on specific grades or subject areas. Instructional coordinators reinforce teaching standards among educators, keeping abreast of instructional trends, technologies, and regulations.

Most instructional coordinators started as teachers. A teaching background gives instructional coordinators an understanding of student, classroom, and teacher needs, allowing them to provide resources and guidance to enhance educational environments. Instructional coordinators provide training, observe teachers, review classroom performance, and make program changes as needed.

Median Annual Salary

$64,450

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

6%

School Principals

School principals work in elementary, middle, and secondary school settings. They supervise instruction, daily activities, and personnel. School administrators like principals ensure efficient, safe school operation while also evaluating teachers and staff, managing budgets, and implementing educational standards.

School principals coordinate with fellow administrators within a school district, often reporting to a school board and a superintendent. They also engage with the community, meet with parents, and serve as liaisons between administrative and instructional personnel.

Communication and critical-thinking skills allow school principals to lead effectively. By collaborating with students, teachers, and staff, school principals help build healthy educational cultures.

Median Annual Salary

$95,310

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

4%

Accreditation for Online Master's in Special Education Degree Programs

Colleges and universities in the United States may hold national or regional accreditation, which are awarded by the overseeing agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to for-profit technical and vocational schools. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two.

When choosing an online master's degree in special education, learners should take accreditation into consideration for several reasons. First, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire candidates with an accredited degree.

Programs within a school may also receive accreditation. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation awards programmatic accreditation for education programs leading to licensure, certification, or endorsement.

law, emotional and behavioral disorders, and human growth and development.

Special Education Professional Organizations

Professional organizations for special education teachers provide opportunities for collaboration, networking, and cooperation through discussion forums and conferences. These organizations also offer resources like job boards, mentorship programs, and continuing education programs.

National Association of Special Education Teachers

Dedicated to ensuring children and adolescents with special needs receive access to the best education possible, NASET promotes professional excellence and innovation in special education. Members can access benefits like professional development programs, continuing education courses, professional discounts, career center resources, and association newsletters.

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Made up of academic researchers, clinicians, and scientists, ASB promotes the field of biomechanics. The organization was founded in 1977 and hosts annual conferences, grants awards, and offers a teaching repository with educational resources. Students and professionals alike can access the society's database of grants and career resources.

Council for Exceptional Children

CEC unites educators who seek to advance success among children with exceptionalities. CEC emphasizes integrity, inclusiveness, and visionary thinking through advocacy, standard implementation, and professional development. Members can access publication discounts, mentorship opportunities, networking resources, and professional development programs.

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office