Arizona is located in the southwestern United States and the last of the lower 48 contiguous admitted to the Union. It is one of the Four Corners states, bordered by New Mexico, Utah and Nevada, and the only place in the U.S. where four states meet. Best known for its desert landscape and climate, Grand Canyon, Colorado River and Meteor Crater, Arizona is also home to many renowned colleges and universities.
- Online MSEd in Special Education (Ranked #11 Best Online Master’s in Special Education Program by U.S. News & World Report 2021)
- Online Master of Science in Special Education
- M.Ed. in Elementary Education and Special Education (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Moderate to Severe (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross Categorical (Leads to initial teacher licensure)
- BA Special Education (Mild to Moerate) - Leads to single licensure in K - 12 special education; MA Teaching, Special Education (K-12)
With a quarter of the state comprised of Native American Reservations and largest number of speaking languages, Arizona’s approach to education is both exceptional and non-traditional. The universities identified below have accredited graduate programs specializing in Special Education with a Master of Education and Master of Arts curricula. Multi-site and online courses offered provide broad accessibility to students from all locales.
Note: Those interested in distance learning programs should consult our recommendations for Online Master’s in Special Education.
Purdue University’s online MSEd in Special Education offers separate tracks for initial teacher licensure, and for licensed teachers looking to add advanced endorsements.
The online MSEd in Special Education from Saint Joseph’s University online MSEd in Special Education from Saint Joseph’s University offers concentrations in ASD, Hearing Impairment and the Wilson Reading System®.
Grand Canyon University, AZ
College of Education
Grand Canyon University College of Education offers several graduate programs in preparation for a career as a teacher or administrator. Areas of specialized training include: Master of Education in Elementary Education, Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, Master of Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Master of Education in Special Education: Cross Categorical. In addition, GCU’s College of Education promises career assistance to their graduates. Those teachers or leaders experiencing difficulty in their first year are eligible for free faculty mentoring to strengthen skills in curriculum planning, classroom time management, presentation and individualized instruction.
Master of Education in Special Education: Cross Categorical (M.Ed.)
The Master of Education in Special Education: Cross-Categorical program is tailored to the education of children with special needs in the K-12 grouping. Instructional areas of focus for this master’s degree include: learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, behavioral disabilities, and other physical and cognitive impairments. In addition, many candidates of this program have a bachelor’s degree outside the education field but are seeking graduate-level training in special education and teaching licensure. Study topics also provide training for diagnosis and assessment in special education, characteristics of disabilities and strategies for teaching children with all impairments.
Master’s degree requirements include a 16-week component of student teaching in a special needs environment. The classroom setting must include at least three disability categories and be completed with a certified special educator. The Master of Education in Special Education: Cross-Categorical program is eligible for institutional recommendation for Arizona certification.
All courses meet the Arizona Professional Teacher Standards (APTS), the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) principles and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards. This master’s degree program allows flexibility for students to fulfill their educational goals while continuing their career. Both online and evening classes are available; providing engaging and challenging courses in a convenient format.
The Higher Learning Commission
Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education
Arizona State Board of Education and the Arizona Department of Education
3300 West Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85017-3030
Northern Arizona University, AZ College of Education
Northern Arizona University prepares students to be leaders in education. Career paths include teacher, counselor, school psychologist and school leader. NAU is recognized as a leader in education and offers specialty master’s degree programs in: Educational Leadership, Education Psychology, Bilingual and Multicultural Education, Career and Technical Education, Educational Technology and Special Education.
Ranked among the top “Best Buys” nationwide by GetEducated.com for cost, quality and credibility plus U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Education Schools,” Northern Arizona University is poised to provide a quality education while utilizing the latest technologies available.
Special Education – Cross-Categorical High-Incidence Certified, Master of Education (M.Ed.)
The Special Education – Cross-Categorical High-Incidence Certified, Master of Education provides training for high-demand area of special education teachers. The program is appropriate for candidates entering the teaching force for the first time or who have a teaching certification in another area. Content, pedagogical and professional special education skills taught in this program. Projected student outcomes include how to best facilitate education for children with learning disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorders, mild-moderate intellectual disabilities, and orthopedic and health impairments.
This master’s degree program emphasizes both groups and individuals in inclusive settings. Focus on theory, classroom design, behavioral analysis and crisis intervention with students with disabilities. Student teaching with a special education supervisor is required to complete the curriculum. An Institutional Recommendation for an Arizona teaching certificate with endorsement in special education can be attained upon completion.
National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
801 South Knoles Drive
PO Box: 5774
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
University of Phoenix, AZ
College of Education
The University of Phoenix College of Education is a global teaching institution utilizing innovative resources with both physical and online classroom settings. Graduate programs are designed for future teachers and current educators. Their mission is to impact student learning by encouraging collaborative work ethics in every aspect of the school community. Master of Arts degree programs are offered in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Teacher Education, Secondary Teacher Education and Special Education. With over 20 years of experience in online education, the university is committed to providing a learning environment designed to support working adults.
Master of Arts in Education/Special Education (MAEd/SPE)
The Master of Arts in Education/Special Education is a graduate degree program designed to prepare students for teacher licensure. The program curriculum provides special education skills necessary for diagnosis and assessment of disabilities, structured English immersion, inclusion strategies and resource management. A minimum of 100 hours of verified field-based experience is required in a cross-categorical special education setting. This master’s degree is tailored for special needs children ages P-12.
This graduate program is intended for students who have a bachelor’s degree but no prior teaching experience. It is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CED) and combines academic theory with coursework, field experience and student teaching.
Candidates may request an institutional recommendation upon successful completion of their program. Projected student outcomes include educational qualification for a career as Special Education Teachers at Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary School, Secondary School, Middle School, and Adapted Physical Education Specialist.
Higher Learning Commission – North Central Association.
Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)
Council for Exceptional Children (CED)
University of Phoenix
1625 W Fountainhead Parkway
Tempe, Arizona 85282-2371