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Online Master's in Special Education
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Online Master in Special Education

Master’s in Special Education Degree Programs in Virginia

There are several accredited and highly-respected options for Master’s in Special Education Degree Programs in Virginia for those interested in a career in special education. Special education is a great career choice for those who love working with children and desire to make a difference in the lives of children who have special educational, physical, emotional or behavioral needs. Special education teachers primarily work in schools, although some work in early intervention programs or private tutoring clinics. Special education teachers also work with a variety of needs, from mild needs such as sensory processing disorder or speech delays, to more profound needs such as autism spectrum disorders, significant visual impairment or traumatic brain injury. Individuals with special education degrees can also work as transition specialists for adolescents on IEPs who are making the transition from high school to vocational school, college or job training programs. The following seven colleges and universities offer master’s degrees in special education in the state of Virginia.

George Mason University

Graduate School of Education: Division of Special Education and disAbility Research

At George Mason University, the Division of Special Education and disAbility offers graduate certificates, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees based on the standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). The Applied Behavior Analysis certificate program also meets the Behavior Analysis Certification Board’s set of standards. Individuals interested in graduate degrees can pursue a certificate, master’s or doctorate in areas such as assistive technology, special education leadership, visual impairment and blindness, early childhood special education or adapted curriculum.

MEd — Curriculum and Instruction – Concentration: Assistive Technology

This unique program is designed for teachers who would like to pursue advanced knowledge on the topic of assistive technology. This 30 credit hour program focuses on augmentative communication, input modifications, adapted environments, web accessibility and assistance technology for independent living. Developing and utilizing technology is a very important topic in the field of special education, as new technological developments have recently given a voice to those with autism spectrum disorders and other communication disorders, as well as given individuals with visual impairments, hearing impairments or physical disabilities opportunities for independent living.

MEd — Special Education

This general special education program is designed for teachers who would like to either work exclusively with students in the special education program or simply be better equipped to work with a variety of types of learners in their general classroom. Students in this program have an additional option to add a graduate certificate in the areas of early childhood special education, accessing the general curriculum, accessing the adapted curriculum, visual impairments, assistive technology, applied behavior analysis and special education leadership.

MEd — Special Education – Concentration: Early Childhood Special Education (no teacher licensure)

This 30 credit program does not lead to licensure but will give current preschool and early childhood educators the knowledge and skills needed to work with children who have special needs, from birth through 1st grade. Individuals in this program will be required to take courses on foundations of language and literacy, families of children with special needs, special education research and computer applications for special populations. In addition, graduate students can choose an additional 12 credit hours of electives in order to develop a specialization in behavior analysis, autism, assisted technology or visual impairments.

Accreditations

George Mason University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the education department holds an accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is approved by the Virginia Department of Education.

Contact

George Mason University
Special Education
Graduate School of Education
4400 University Drive, 1F2
Finley Building, 102
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
(703) 993-3670
http://gse.gmu.edu/special-education/academics/

Liberty University

Liberty University Online

Liberty University Online is the distance-learning component of the Liberty University curriculum. The online programs are geared towards busy professionals, students with family or community commitments or people who would like the benefit of a Liberty University education but live far from the campus. The online program includes associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees that are of the same high quality as the university’s traditional campus-based programs. There are more than 160 degree programs available online, including accounting, business administration, criminal justice, education, nursing, psychology and religion.

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) – Special Education

The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) – Special Education program with Liberty University is designed to be completed by individuals who do not have prior teaching experience and are seeking initial teaching licensure. This 36 credit hour program can be completed entirely online, with the exception of three on-campus week-long intensive courses. Individuals in this program will take several core courses, along with behavior management, educational assessment, intervention and collaboration in special education transitions.

Accreditations

The online special education program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is approved by the Virginia State Board of Education for initial licensure.

Contact

Liberty University Online
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(800) 424-9595
luoconsulting@liberty.edu
http://www.liberty.edu/online/masters/teaching/special-education/

Longwood University

Department of Education and Special Education

The Department of Education and Special Education at Longwood University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the field of education, in addition to graduate professional endorsements and certificates. Graduate-level degrees include counselor education, curriculum and intervention specialist, initial teacher licensure, school library media and special education. Graduate certificates in the areas of 21st century learning and leadership, as well as autism spectrum disorders, are available. There are also several study-abroad opportunities for English as a Second Language Program (ESLP) students, international students or those who are interested in teaching in diverse and international settings.

Masters in Special Education General Curriculum: K-12 Initial Licensure

The Masters in Special Education General Curriculum: K-12 Initial Licensure is designed as an initial licensure program for those who hold a bachelor’s degree but are not yet professional educators. Upon program completion, students will earn a teaching license, in additional to a professional endorsement in the field of special education. This program is 54 credit hours in length. Required courses include Research Design, Contemporary Social Issues in American Education, Teaching Mathematics, Assistive Technology, Instructional Phonics, Psychoeducational Assessment and Medical and Neurological Problems in Exceptional Students. All students must have either passing scores on the Praxis I or equivalent SAT/ACT scores to be admitted to the program.

Accreditations

Longwood University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. In addition, the special education department is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and is approved by the Virginia State Board of Education.

Contact

Longwood University
Department of Education and Special Education
201 High St.
Farmville, VA 23909
(434) 395-2000
http://www.longwood.edu/education/index.html

Norfolk State University

Early Childhood/Elementary and Special Education Department (EESE)

The Early Childhood/Elementary and Special Education Department (EESE) at Norfolk State University focuses on high quality education, extensive field experiences and supervised clinical experiences in order to fully prepare teachers to work with diverse populations. The university offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in several areas of teaching, including early childhood education, general education and special education. Several of the programs are focused on initial teacher licensure. For the certification in PreK-12 Vision Impairment program, there is tuition assistance available from the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Visual Impairment. In addition, the K-12 Adapted Curriculum specialization offers tuition assistance from the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Severe Disabilities.

Master of Arts (MA) in Special Education

The Master of Arts in Special Education has five specializations that students can choose from: K-12 general curriculum, K-12 adapted curriculum, rehabilitation counseling, severe disabilities general and vision impairments. The general curriculum program is for those who would like to teach children with mild disabilities in a traditional classroom. The adapted curriculum program involves teaching children with severe programs in either an inclusive or special education classroom. Rehabilitation counseling is designed for those who would like to work one-on-one with children in a rehabilitation setting.

Accreditations

The all of the teacher education programs at Norfolk State University are approved by the Virginia Department of Education (DOE) and accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Contact

Norfolk State University
700 Park Ave.
Norfolk, VA 23504
(757) 823-2700
mdknight@nsu.edu
https://www.nsu.edu/education/eese/

Old Dominion University

Darden College of Education: Department of Communication Disorders and Special Education

The Darden College of Education: Department of Communication Disorders and Special Education offers several programs, including speech and language pathology, special education and an oral preschool program. The department also hosts a speech and hearing clinic, giving learners hands-on experience in communication disorders. There are undergraduate options, as well as professional certificates, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees. Several programs also have distance learning options in addition to traditional classroom options. Students in the special education programs are eligible for the Commonwealth Special Education Endorsement, Paraprofessional Preparation for Extraordinary Teaching Grant, Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Vision Impairments and the Virginia Department of Education Tuition Assistance for Special Educators grant programs. In addition, there are several competitive scholarships available in order to make earning a master’s degree more affordable.

MSEd in Special Education: General Curriculum, K-12 (Mild Disabilities)

This program is for teachers who would like to continue teaching in a general education setting, while being equipped to educate children who have mild disabilities or special learning needs. This program takes approximately two years to complete and includes extensive field experiences in a variety of settings. Individuals with a MSEd in special education may also find employment in private clinics as educational therapists or psycho-educational diagnosticians.

MSEd in Early Childhood Special Education (birth – 5)

The Early Childhood Special Education program is for individuals who would like to work with children, from birth through kindergarten. Early childhood education specialists work with children who have disabilities ranging from mild to severe. ECE teachers may work in preschools, private homes or early intervention centers. Special education teachers working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers assist children and their families in preparing the child to enter school, as well as improving executive functioning and skills needed to live and play at an age-appropriate level.

MSEd in Special Education: Adapted Curriculum K-12

The adapted curriculum program provides knowledge and hands-on experiences in working with children who have severe or profound disabilities. Teachers who have completed this program may be able to find teaching opportunities in public and private schools, in addition to residential settings and private homes, working with students who have autism, severe sensory impairments and cerebral palsy. This program can be completed in approximately two years.

Master’s Degree in Special Education with Research Emphasis

This program is designed for those who would like to contribute to the body of literature in the field of special education. This program also serves as a prerequisite for the PhD program in special education. Those who are seeking a terminal degree in the field should first complete this research-oriented program. Students will participate in scholarly research, advanced instructional strategies and educational leadership. Learners also have the opportunity to add the autism certification program to their degree completion plan. This combination is a great opportunity for individuals that would like to participate in the growing body of researchers focusing on the causes and interventions for autism spectrum disorders.

Post-Masters Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

This unique program is offered in conjunction with George Mason University, Lynchburg College and Virginia Commonwealth University. This is an 18 credit hour post-master’s certificate. Upon successful completion of the program, including a supervised internship, teachers will be able to sit for the national Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam. Once the exam is successfully completed, the teacher can earn their BCBA certification.

Accreditations

Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. In addition, the education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Contact

Special Education Programs at Old Dominion University
Attention: Dr. Cheryl Baker
122 Child Study Center
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529
(757) 683-3226
essegpd@odu.edu

Virginia Commonwealth University

Department of Special Education and Disability Policy

The Special Education and Disability Policy focuses on preparing teachers and educational leaders to make a difference in the lives of children, youth and adults with disabilities, as well as the families and caregivers of those individuals. The programs focus on evidence-based practices, advocacy and community partnerships. The department sponsors several research institutes, including the Center for Teacher Leadership, the Center for School Community Collaboration, the Child Development Center, the Partnership for People with Disabilities and the Autism Center for Excellence. These research institutions offer significant supervised hands-on field experiences, as well as opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research.

MEd Special Education: General Education

This program is for teachers who would like to become better qualified to work with students with various educational needs in the general classroom. Typically, this includes children with mild forms of special needs. Upon completion of the program, teachers may also be qualified to work in residential programs and community agencies. Teachers will receive information and training on children from kindergarten age through adolescents transitioning to a post-secondary setting. Students in the program will take courses on curriculum and instruction, classroom management, characteristics of various special needs and behavior analysis.

MEd Special Education: Early Childhood

This program is designed for teachers that wish to work with children from birth through age five that have mild, moderate or profound disabilities, as well as those that are at risk for educational difficulties. The early childhood program has significant hands-on clinical experiences so that teachers gain exposure to a variety of diagnoses and circumstances. Students also learn how to collaborate with family members and other professionals in order to best work with the child. For current teachers, this program can be completed in five semesters. For those without a valid teaching license, additional prerequisite courses are required prior to beginning the Early Childhood program.

MEd Special Education: Severe Disabilities

This program is designed for teachers that wish to work with children from birth through age five that have mild, moderate or profound disabilities, as well as those that are at risk for educational difficulties. The early childhood program has significant hands-on clinical experiences so that teachers gain exposure to a variety of diagnoses and circumstances. Students also learn how to collaborate with family members and other professionals in order to best work with the child. For current teachers, this program can be completed in five semesters. For those without a valid teaching license, additional prerequisite courses are required prior to beginning the Early Childhood program.

Post Baccalaureate Certificate: Special Education, Autism Spectrum Disorders

This professional certificate allows teachers and other professionals in the special education field to receive the latest training and information regarding autism spectrum disorders, including diagnosis and treatment. This program is offered exclusively online, making it a convenient option for teachers and other professionals. Students in the program will learn how to differentiate between various diagnoses on the autism spectrum, as well as the educational impact of the symptoms of each. Significant instruction on assessment and interventions are also provided. Finally, students will learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and modify the curriculum and programming in order to help children on the autism spectrum successfully learn and work to their potential.

Accreditations

Virginia Commonwealth University is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the VCU School of Education is accredited by The Virginia Department of Education and The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The VCU School of Education is also a member of The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, The Holmes Partnership, The Virginia Middle School Association, The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, University Council for Educational Administration and the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate.

Contact

Virginia Commonwealth University
Department of Special Education and Disability Policy
1015 W Main Street PO BOX 842020
Richmond, VA 23284-2020
(804) 827-2651
cathoma@vcu.edu
http://www.soe.vcu.edu/academicsprograms/program-listing/

In Virginia, there is a drive towards increasing the numbers of qualified special education teachers, especially those certified to work with children who have severe disabilities or visual impairments. As a result, there are several state-based grants available to help make pursuing Master’s in Special Education Degree Programs in Virginia more affordable for those who aspire to become special educational professionals.

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