A master’s degree in special education prepares graduates to work with individuals who have a wide range of disabilities from autism to intellectual disabilities to visual impairment. Through a specialized graduate program curriculum, students learn a number of approaches and practices in using concepts in learning and development to diagnose, plan curriculum or approaches to management, and develop programs for instruction. With this background, there are a number of career opportunities for master’s of special education graduates.
Master’s of Special Education Curriculum
Required courses in graduate programs for special education vary by institution, but many courses are common throughout programs across the country. Some courses that students in this graduate field are likely to complete include individualized education plan development, advanced assessment of special needs, collaborative environments, special education law, and education research.
In addition to the core curriculum, many graduate schools also offer options for specializations within special education. Examples of popular specializations include autism spectrum disorders, emotional disturbance, general special education, learning disabilities, special education strategist, and visual impairment. After choosing a specialization, students will take additional courses that could include emotional disturbance introduction, transition to adult life, behavior management, diseases of the eye, Braille, assistive technology, intellectual disabilities, and introduction to autism spectrum.
Career Possibilities in Special Education
One of the benefits of a master’s degree in special education is the opportunity to choose from a diverse range of workplace settings. After graduation, job candidates can find positions in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, as well as in rehabilitation facilities.
In addition to education, positions are available in different types of hospitals that require knowledge and skills in working with individuals from childhood to adulthood who have special education needs. Many hospitals, for example, have early intervention programs set up for families to begin to gain access to help for their children who have a special need in preparing for school, whether it is management of a visual impairment or a learning disability. These programs often continue to offer help throughout an individual’s educational journey through college.
Some hospitals also work with local school districts to offer programs that provide long-term patients with the chance to continue on with schooling. Many of the teachers for these programs are staffed by the hospital, and coordinators in the hospital are also staffed.
Hospitals also often offer rehabilitation and therapy programs for speech, vision, and hearing, in addition to other disabilities. Additional information on career possibilities and other professional information can be found at the International Association of Special Education website at http://www.iase.org.
Additional Certification and Training
For many positions, additional certification or education could be required. For example, in positions where teaching individuals with disabilities is required, many organizations will require candidates to hold a valid teaching certificate.
Completing a graduate program in special education offers opportunities to teach, plan curriculum and developmental plans, and oversee a number of different areas of disability. From working in schools to working in hospitals, master’s degree students with a special education specialization are able to make a difference.