The Masters in Special Education is a degree for teachers who are interested in working with students who have disabilities. Students who have learning disabilities, mental and emotional conditions and physical challenges are all helped by special education teachers. Special education teachers are trained through masters programs and usually choose a specialization that prepares them to work with a certain group of disabled students.
Many teachers find working in special education to be extremely rewarding. Special Education jobs are widely available because there is usually a shortage of qualified applicants. The masters degree is the primary way that teachers who are not licensed to teach special education enter the field. Teachers can add a special education endorsement by taking some of the coursework for the masters program without completing the entire sequence but the masters degree is only a few more classes and often entitles the teacher to a bump in pay grade.
Details of The Masters in Special Education at University of Kansas
The special education department at the University of Kansas (KU) is considered the number one public graduate program in the subject. Students can choose from five specializations and earn licensure in three different subject areas. As well as the Masters in Special Education at University of Kansas, the special education department also offers two doctoral degrees, an undergraduate degree in early childhood special education and a graduate certificate program.
The five specializations in the Masters in Special Education at University of Kansas are in autism spectrum disorders, early childhood education, high-incidence disabilities, low-incidence disabilities and secondary special education transition. The high-and low-incidence disability concentrations are also called the adaptive and functional concentrations. All five concentrations lead to one of three licenses: the early childhood education license, the high-incidence or adaptive special education license and the low-incidence or functional special education license.
Admission to the Masters in Special Education at University of Kansas requires a current teaching license. Exceptions are made for students who do not intend to become a teacher but these students must also hold a bachelor’s degree and gain admission as non-teaching masters students only. Experience as a classroom teacher is required for those seeking the teaching license and experience in a relevant field is required for those seeking entry into the non-teaching masters program.
Coursework for the degrees focuses on a suite of classes such as teaching methods for students with disabilities and classroom management for students with special needs. There are also courses that can be taken to enhance the teacher’s ability to communicate with students such as American Sign Language. Coursework in specific areas such as in helping students with hearing deficits or those with attention disorders is also available.
Special education teachers who work in low-income schools for at least five years can have up to $17,500 of federal student loans forgiven. This is a federal program that is not tied to KU but applies to teachers trained here. Scholarships are available on a competitive basis for academic and teaching achievements in all programs. The Masters in Special Education at University of Kansas also features scholarship opportunities based on financial need.