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 in special education programs online?
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 after graduation?
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
- Education programs include BA in Education Studies, BA in Child Development, and MA in Education.
- Students can specialize in areas such as Education and Public Policy, Instructional Design, and Early Childhood Education.
- Courses cover concepts such as phonics, curriculum development, instruction for English language learners, and more.
- Flexible, online courses allow students to pursue a degree on their own schedule.
- MA/Education - Special Education (non-licensure)
- BA/Library Science and Media
- BA/Education Studies
- And more...
- Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
- Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
- College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
- College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
- College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
- Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
- Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Special Education
- M.A. in Autism Spectrum Disorders
- B.S. in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)
- And more...
- 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*
- One of the first fully online M.Ed. programs to be accredited by TEAC (Teacher Education Accreditation Council)
- Courses within 6 distinct education specializations use real-world deliverables aligned with industry-specific objectives
- Specializations include elementary education, secondary education instructional design and technology and more
- AIU’s M.Ed. uses a proprietary adaptive learning engine to provide individualized content delivery not available at this scale in other online programs at this time.
- 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)
- MS in Education - Educational Psychology
- MS in Instructional Technology (K-12)
- And more...
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