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A Master’s Degree for Special Education Teachers

Earning a master’s degree in special education can set you apart from others in the field, while preparing you to face the most demanding challenges in the teaching profession. At the bachelor’s level, many education programs offer only limited exposure to the methods and skills necessary in the special education classroom. To better prepare yourself to excel, additional education can help you master specific pedagogical tools. Online programs are an excellent way for working teachers to pursue additional education without interrupting their careers.

Blending Work and Study

For many educators, the biggest advantage of an online degree program is its flexibility. Instead of committing to fixed schedules, students in online programs can work on course material when it best suits their existing personal and professional obligations. Many of those who decide to pursue a master’s degree are typically already working in the education sector. As such, they may enroll in special education programs while they continue teaching full or part time. For example, a flexible online program may allow students to devote additional time to study during the summer or winter vacation periods when they do not need to work full time at their teaching jobs.

When selecting a program, it is important for applicants to review the particular expectations of the individual degree program. Some programs allow students to complete the degree as quickly or slowly as they wish. Others adhere to certain parameters.

Degree Aims

Special education degree programs can vary widely in their particular focus and course load. In general, you can expect most master’s degree programs in special education to include some common components. Generally, coursework will cover child psychology and development with an emphasis on the requirements of children in special-needs classrooms. Other subjects may include managing behavioral problems, identifying reliable assessment measures and technology in the special education classroom. Most programs aim to give graduates a nuanced understanding of the broad spectrum of needs they may find among their own students. In addition, graduates should be proficient with a range of methods and approaches to deal with individual learning or developmental disabilities.

Earning a master’s degree in special education through an online degree program is a practical option for working educators. An online course of study usually offers a more flexible schedule, allowing students to complete the program at their own pace. In the end, however, online programs in special education can vary as much as any other discipline. When researching master’s degree programs, it is a good idea first to identify your priorities and preferences to make it easier to target the right program.

Learn more about the Columbus State online M.Ed. in Special Education program.


TEAC: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

U.S. News & World Report: Graduate Education Programs

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