A Masters in Special Education degree is intended for individuals with previous degrees who wish to work with students with special needs. The degree provides instruction on the description and nature of disabilities in children of various ages and the psychological factors that affect these students. Students learn about effective teaching strategies and ways to create meaningful learning experiences for these children. They also learn how to develop lesson plans that are modified or create accommodations for a child’s specific disability.
Examples of special education courses include human growth and development, educational psychology, assessment in special education, learning disabilities, special education teaching strategies, emotional and behavioral disorders, disability law, and applied behavior management. Majority of programs require capstone components, such as a thesis, student teaching experiences, or a comprehensive examination. Many Masters in Special Education degree programs offer concentration areas, like working with individuals who are visually impaired or those who have Autism. Graduates of this degree are prepared to work with a large range of children with special needs, as well as their families and other educational staff. They are prepared to teach special needs students at all school levels. A Masters in Special Education degree also prepares students for licensure, which is required by all 50 states in the U.S.
How To Find The Top Masters in Special Education Programs
To find the best Masters in Special Education degrees, it is important for prospective students to consider certain factors of potential programs. The most crucial aspect is if a school is accredited. Accreditation helps provide students with some assurance that the institution has been evaluated and found to meet basic quality standards. You can also do some research on your own by exploring school websites where you can learn quite a bit about the instructors who will be teaching your classes. Specifically for Masters in Special Education programs, students should look for programs that provide a well-rounded education on many different disabilities and ways to help learners reach their full potential. Priority should also be placed on programs that work with local schools to help make arrangements for students to participate in internships and student teaching experiences. The best online Masters in Special Education degree programs offer round the clock technical support and have minimal residency requirements.
Examples of schools that offer top Masters in Special Education programs include the University of Kansas and the University of Florida. The University of Kansas offers a Masters in Special Education with five concentrations: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Early Childhood Unified (Birth-K), Secondary Special Ed Transition, Low-Incidence Disabilities, and High-Incidence Disabilities. The program takes pride in its contributions to special education. The University of Florida is dedicated to promoting successful inclusion of students with disabilities in society. It offers concentrations in early childhood and elementary special education.
We lay out options that could help cover some of the cost of tuition with our article on 50 Great Scholarships for Teaching and Education Degrees.
Careers and Salaries For Individuals With Masters in Special Education Degrees
A variety of Masters in Special Education careers are out there for those who graduate with the degree. Graduates are able to work as a special education teacher at many educational levels. Other possible career paths include early intervention specialist and special education coordinator. Special education teachers work with students who suffer from various physical, mental, emotional, and learning disabilities. They modify lessons and teaching strategies and also teach basic communication and independent living skills.
The Masters in Special Education salary depends on different factors like location and experience. The median annual salary for special education teachers was reported to be $61,030 as of 2019. Those working in ECE classrooms tend to earn the most, with the average coming in at $67,060, while at the kindergarten and elementary levels they earned $64,420 on average that year. For middle school special education teachers the average was $65,740 and for those working in high schools it was nearly the same at $65,710. A Masters in Special Education is a great choice for those who wish to make a difference in the lives of children with a wide range of challenges and disabilities
(May 2019, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics salary estimates for special education teachers are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed November 2020.)