Special education teachers work with students who have special needs such as: learning difficulties, speech and language impairments and other communication difficulties, emotional disturbances, behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, and developmental disorders. But as well as working with students who are learning disabled or developmentally challenged, they might also assist students who are gifted and talented, to help them acquire education and life skills. In order to do this, they need to create a learning environment to meet the unique needs of each student.
Special education programs provide an excellent means to obtain the requisite knowledge and skills, and to qualify for this rewarding career. Many students who take this specialization are already licensed teachers and are seeking a license in special education teaching. The programs can be taken at bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. The fact that these programs are readily available online makes them accessible without leaving employment. This page provides information about special education programs online and on campus, and how they can prepare you for a most rewarding career working with students with special needs. It provides more detail about the programs and where you can take them.
What do you study in special education programs online?
An online special education program provides the educational foundations, curriculum development, teaching methodologies and classroom management strategies that the special education teacher requires to help students with special needs to learn.
Thus, special education degree programs would typically include: educational psychology; child development; adapting the curriculum; management of disruptive behavior; use of technology in the classroom; dealing disabilities; discipline; behavioral management; counseling.
Special education masters online programs are popular with graduates who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, or those who are already licensed teachers, and now wish to become special education teachers. Graduate special education programs are also popular with special education teachers who wish to specialize in a particular aspect of special education. Doctoral level programs in particular, present an opportunity for in-depth study of a topic of interest.
If you are seeking professional teacher status – some aspects cannot be completed online. The college needs to ensure you gain as much practical experience as possible and that your classroom performance is assessed. This not only gives you the experience you need, it also enables you to be certain that you have chosen the right career.
What are the career prospects after graduation?
The minimum qualification for a special education teaching job is a bachelor’s degree in special education, but a masters is preferred. In order to teach in a college of a university, you need to have a masters degree or more preferably a PhD.
As well as teaching in the government education sector, graduates also find employment in: training; teaching in the private sector; community services; and, in administration. Online education programs also provide a base for further training in counseling and careers work. Graduates also find work in development jobs and other non-profit organizations.
List of schools and programs
- Special Ed MAE
- Curriculum & Instruction MAE
An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. We serve more than 36,000 students from the U.S. and around the world and offer more than 140 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 20 certificate programs.
- PhD - Special Education Leadership
- MS - Integrative Studies
- MS - K-12 Studies in Education
- And more...
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
- MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
- MS in Education - Educational Psychology
- MS in Education in Instructional Technology - Adult Learning-Higher Education
- And more...
At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education. That’s why we offer a wide range of quality Certificate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in a highly interactive online format that emphasizes flexibility, convenience, and support. Whichever program you choose, you can take classes in 8-week modules, six times a year from faculty members with advanced degrees and extensive real-world experience. You’ll also enjoy access to a full array of academic support services, including advising, tutoring, writing center assistance, and our virtual library at no additional charge.
- B.S. in Instructional Design and Technology
- B.S. in Child Studies
- Master of Arts in Teaching
As the largest private university in North America, University of Phoenix has locations nationwide, and is available online in most countries around the world. Whether you're seeking a college degree at an associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral level, we can help you reach your academic goal and sooner than you might think.
- M.A. in Education/Special Education
- A.A. in Education
- Continuing Teacher Education
- And more...
Walden degree and certificate programs are designed for working professionals. Submit the form on the right to learn how you can make a change and advance your career.
- Doctor of Education - Special Education
- Ed.S. in Special Education - General
- M.S.Ed - Special Education (non-licensure)(Grades K-12)
- And more...
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University. We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.
- Special Education - PhD in Education
- Special Education - Master of Education
- Special Education - Doctor of Education
- And more...
Pioneering distance education since 1985, Liberty University is now the nation’s seventh largest university. With more than 300 online and residential areas of study, Liberty offers programs from the certificate to doctoral level.
- M.Ed. - Program Specialist in Gifted Specialist
- MA in Teaching - Special Education
- M.Ed. Teaching and Learning - Special Education
- And more...
- MS - Teaching and Learning