Special education teachers work with students who have special needs such as: learning difficulties, speech and language impairments and other communication difficulties, emotional disturbances, behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, and developmental disorders. But as well as working with students who are learning disabled or developmentally challenged, they might also assist students who are gifted and talented, to help them acquire education and life skills. In order to do this, they need to create a learning environment to meet the unique needs of each student.
Special education programs provide an excellent means to obtain the requisite knowledge and skills, and to qualify for this rewarding career. Many students who take this specialization are already licensed teachers and are seeking a license in special education teaching. The programs can be taken at bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. The fact that these programs are readily available online makes them accessible without leaving employment. This page provides information about special education programs online and on campus, and how they can prepare you for a most rewarding career working with students with special needs. It provides more detail about the programs and where you can take them.
What do you study the programs?
An online special education program provides the educational foundations, curriculum development, teaching methodologies and classroom management strategies that the special education teacher requires to help students with special needs to learn.
Thus, special education degree programs would typically include: educational psychology; child development; adapting the curriculum; management of disruptive behavior; use of technology in the classroom; dealing disabilities; discipline; behavioral management; counseling.
Special education masters online programs are popular with graduates who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, or those who are already licensed teachers, and now wish to become special education teachers. Graduate special education programs are also popular with special education teachers who wish to specialize in a particular aspect of special education. Doctoral level programs in particular, present an opportunity for in-depth study of a topic of interest.
If you are seeking professional teacher status – some aspects cannot be completed online. The college needs to ensure you gain as much practical experience as possible and that your classroom performance is assessed. This not only gives you the experience you need, it also enables you to be certain that you have chosen the right career.
What are the career prospects with a special education degree?
The minimum qualification for a special education teaching job is a bachelor’s degree in special education, but a masters is preferred. In order to teach in a college of a university, you need to have a masters degree or more preferably a PhD.
As well as teaching in the government education sector, graduates also find employment in: training; teaching in the private sector; community services; and, in administration. Online education programs also provide a base for further training in counseling and careers work. Graduates also find work in development jobs and other non-profit organizations.
List of schools and programs
- Recognized as a Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Program by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
- Online, campus-based, and evening courses offered in 95 areas of study, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, & more.
- Endorsed by G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2015.
- Features small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1.
- 88% of Regent University students receive financial aid, with $18 million awarded in institutional scholarships & aid each year.
- Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education*
- Recognized in the first Best for Vets: Business Schools list in Military Times Edge magazine’s 2013 “Best for Vets” edition.
- Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
- Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
- A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
- Offers IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
- Master's (M.Ed.) - Instructional Design and Technology
- Master's (M.Ed.) - Curriculum and Instruction for Educators
- Early Childhood Education
Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program. You'll learn new strategies and techniques for your classroom while expanding your knowledge and skills as an educator.
- Special Education (Middle Level/High School)
- M.Ed. in Advanced Study in Special Education
- M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: The Inclusive Classroom (SPED)
- And more...
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University. We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.
- Special Education - PhD in Education
- Special Education - Master of Education
- Special Education - Doctor of Education
- And more...
Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.
A liberal arts institution with 16 colleges and schools, Liberty offers programs in fields such as medicine, religion, law, aviation, cinematic arts, psychology, business, and more. Part of the Big South Conference, Liberty fields 20 NCAA Division I athletic teams and 32 Club Sports teams, offering fans an unparalleled college sports experience.
- M.Ed. - Program Specialist in Gifted Specialist
- MA in Teaching - Special Education
- M.Ed. Teaching and Learning - Special Education
- And more...
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
- MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
- Undergraduate in Early Childhood
- Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Administration
- And more...
Colorado State University-Global Campus
Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) recently received state approval to enroll students with little to no prior college experience. To help ensure student success, the university has created a program especially for these students who plan on starting their college experience for the first time with us.
- The first and only 100% online, fully accredited public university in the United States
- No set class times or locations
- Affordable tuition, guaranteed not to increase as long as you are enrolled
- Accelerated eight-week terms
- Classes start every month
- MS - Teaching and Learning
- Instructional Design & Technology
For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.
- PhD in Instructional Design and Technology
- Education Specialist in Instructional Design and Technology