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
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...
Brandman University, part of the prestigious 150-year-old Chapman University system is a private, non-profit regionally accredited university that offers a high quality education for non-traditional adult students.
At Brandman University, students can choose from over 50 undergraduate, graduate, credential and certificate programs in Arts and Sciences, Business and Professional Studies, Education and Nursing and Health professions.
- Preliminary Education Specialist Moderate/Severe
- MA in Special Education (Early Childhood Special Educ)
- MA in Teaching (Special Ed Emph/Mod/Severe)
- And more...
- Master of Education in Special Education
- Master of Education in Reading
- Transition to Teaching Program
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
- EdS - Personalized and Competency Based Instruction
- EdS - Teacher Leader in Digital Transformation
- And more...
- Early Childhood Education
- Early Childhood Education Post Basic
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...
Pursue learning, scholarship, and creative endeavor at University of Kansas. Contribute valuable research alongside faculty that help shape their disciple as well as teach it.
- Master's - Secondary Special Ed. Transitions
- Master's - High Incidence Disabilities
- MS - Teaching and Learning
For more than 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, career-focused education in fields such as health care, business, criminal justice and information technology. Our one-class-at-a-time schedules allow busy students to focus on their education and balance the demands of work and family. Whether you choose to attend online, on campus, or both you will be part of a caring learning environment led by experienced faculty who bring textbooks to life with real-world challenges and solutions. Our unique combination of a curriculum that is in pace with technology and the skills employers value along with our “students first” approach provides an outstanding academic experience.
- Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Teaching and Learning (Online Only)
- Education, MS (Online Only)
- Preliminary Education Specialist Credential
- M.A. Education with Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
- M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
- And more...