online masters degree in special educationOnlineCollegePlan is proud to present you with the best online masters degree programs in Special Education. Below you will find useful information about the individual degree, the online universities, and helpful information about an online Masters in Special Education.

Teaching is so much more than transferring information. It is human beings helping other human beings learn to think, know, love, and serve. This is especially the case with the world of special education; there are currently 6.5 million children in special education K-12.

Special Education is a challenging field to work in that demands incredible patience, compassion, and the ability to persevere. In addition to these character traits, you need the training to address the intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of each child. That is where our colleges and universities come in.

What is a Special Education program like?

online masters special educationSpecial Education programs take you into all the relevant areas of the field. You learn educational behavior and development, theories and methodologies of education, data to inform and guide classroom instruction, cutting-edge assistive technologies, current trends in the education field, and methods of teaching with classroom management. You also learn the ins and outs of legal issues related to the field of SPED as well as best practices to work with families and the community. The world of SPED is truly bigger on the inside than the outside. There are dozens of specializations within the broader heading of Special Education. Some specializations you’ll find out about on our list are: 

    • Autism
    • Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Dyslexia
    • Mild/Moderate Disabilities
    • Severe Developmental Disabilities
    • Special Education Leadership
    • Trauma-Informed Education and Intervention
    • Gifted Education
    • Reading

If you’re looking for something specific, whether it be a specialization or a particular program that offers certification, our country’s schools provide it.

Are there online masters degrees in special education that are affordable and flexible?

online masters special educationDelivery is flexible for those seeking to get in, or move to a different job within, Special Education. You can choose traditional brick-and-mortar learning, a combination of on-campus and online learning, or a fully online program. We focus on online programs on this list because they are often more flexible in terms of start-times, class assignments, and courses (many are customizable). Online masters degrees are also generally more inexpensive. Affordability is often the #1 factor in determining where to earn your degree. The price per credit range is $253 to $1745. All the degrees on our list are accredited with many having multiple accreditations both nationally and regionally. Look for those that are CAEP-accredited (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation). So, with all the bases covered why not go it and jump into the dynamic and challenging world of special education?

What is your Methodology?

There are numerous factors that go into compiling a ranking. Every potential student is looking for something different, whether it be price, reputation, or flexibility. We tried to factor in as many of these variables as possible to give you an accurate list of the best online masters in Special Education degrees. Statistics were gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News and World Report, and school websites. It should be noted that the average net price listed below is per credit hour. Calculations were made based on the following:

  • Reputation – 15%
  • Cost per Credit Hour – 40%
  • Percentage of Graduate Students – 30%
  • Graduation Rate – 15%
  1. MERIT: 100.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $448

    Online Master’s (M.Ed.) in Special Education

    online masters special educationThe University of Florida’s reputation is well deserved for top online masters degrees. The Teach Well Online Academy offers an affordable and high-quality M.Ed in Special Education.  The Teach Well program is 100-percent online and designed primarily for part-time students (either current special education teachers or those seeking to become special education teachers that are already educators). The 36-credit curriculum can be completed in two years by finishing two courses per semester (including summers). The program is divided into a 12-credit Teach Well Core and 24-credits of Special Education. Core classes include:

    • Designing Instruction for Inclusive Classrooms
    • Families and Transition for Students with Disabilities
    • Teaching Learning Strategies
    • Collaborative Practice in Inclusive Schools

    There are six Special Education tracks at U of F: General, Autism, Disabilities in Society, Dyslexia, Early Childhood Studies, and a customized combination of courses. All courses are taught by expert faculty who are passionate about helping vulnerable populations. Admission requirements include GRE scores. It is also worth mentioning that you can transfer up to nine semester hours.

    About the University of Florida

    Numbers don’t lie when it comes to seeing the impact of the University of Florida. This land-grant public research university makes a huge splash. There are over 50,000 students, hundreds of degree choices, over 200 research centers, and 50 percent of students that graduate with no debt! 

    • Location: Gainesville, FL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 32% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  2. MERIT: 93.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $433

    Online MA in Special Education

    online masters special educationThere are great options to earn a top online masters degree at the University of Missouri. Their Master of Arts in Special Education is one of the most inexpensive on our list. There are three other options for online masters in special education at UM: Autism Education (M.Ed.), Early Childhood Special Education (M.Ed.), and Gifted Education (M. Ed.). In addition to a great price, Mizzou Online offers outstanding flexibility, support, and quality. All four options are offered entirely online with no campus visits. The 30-33-credit curriculum takes around two to three years to complete. A sample of some courses includes:

    • Research with Exceptional Children
    • Introduction to Applied Statistics
    • Cross Categorical Special Education
    • Advanced Behavior Management: Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Assessment and Evaluation in Special Education

    The College of Education at Mizzou is a member of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (now part of CAEP). If you are a first-, second- or third-year teacher, and teach in an MPER partner school district, you might qualify for a 50 percent tuition sponsorship from the College of Education. All in all the choice, price, and quality combine to make Mizzou #2 on our list.

    About the University of Missouri

    The University of Missouri is a public flagship research university established in 1839. Their motto, “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law” continues to guide the school to make a difference in our country and the world. The most popular majors at Mizzou are Business, Health Professions, Communication, and Engineering.

    • Location: Columbia, MO
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 24.6%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  3. MERIT: 91.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $780

    Online MA in Special Education

    online masters special educationTop online masters degrees abound at Webster University. The School of Education offers a 100-percent online MA in Special Education with several areas of emphasis:

    • Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Dyslexia
    • Mild/Moderate Disabilities
    • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
    • Severe Developmental Disabilities
    • Trauma-Informed Education and Intervention

    The program philosophy is relevant and set within a focus on social justice and emerging trends in our globalized society. It is designed for educators seeking to gain knowledge and skills to serve those with special needs. Please note that the program does not lead to initial certification in special education. The curriculum is 33 credits with 24 required to be courses in special education. The distinguishing feature is the amount of choice you have to make this your own. You essentially build your core courses and specialization from a set list of topics or areas. These topics/areas have several classes within each one that you choose. Core areas are:

    • Global Citizenship, Teacher Leadership, and Policy
    • Learned Development, Curriculum and Program Outcomes
    • Assessment
    • Professional and Ethical Practice
    • Collaboration
    • Research and Inquiry
    • Elective

    After you complete your core you choose your track, and within that, courses in required areas (like the core). Admission requires a minimum 2.75 GPA and no GRE. All in all, Webster offers one of the most customizable and affordable degrees on our list.

    About Webster University

    Webster University has a history of fighting for what is right. WU was an early opponent of segregation and continues to work toward social justice. The school was originally a Catholic women’s school but is now non-denomination and independent. The school offers over 100 undergraduate and 50 graduate programs to a diverse student population.

    • Location: St. Louis, MO
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 73.1%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  4. MERIT: 88.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $700

    Online Master of Science in Education in Special Education

    online masters special educationWe found some of the nation’s best online masters degrees at Purdue. The MSEd in Special Education program is designed for those who feel called to teach and help people with mild to severe disabilities. The MSEd is suited for those seeking licensure and those who seek to add specializations to their initial license. Indiana licensure has reciprocity in 42 states. There are six tracks: 

    • Master’s only for those not seeking licensure but professional development (31 credits)
    • Master’s for those seeking initial licensure-mild intervention (36 credits) 
    • Master’s for those seeking initial licensure-mild and intense intervention (45 credits) 
    • Master’s for those with initial license seeking an additional license in mild intervention (32 credits)
    • Master’s for those with initial license seeking an additional license in mild and intense intervention (41 credits) 
    • Master’s for those with initial license seeking an additional license in intense intervention (35 credits).  

    The program curriculum consists of required core courses, licensure courses, electives, practicum, and student teaching. There is no practicum or student teaching for the professional development option. There is no student teaching for those who already have initial licensing. The program takes about 20 months to complete. It is aligned with edTPA to ensure new teachers are empowered to teach each student effectively.

    About Purdue University

    Purdue University is a large public university in West Lafayette, Indiana. Research and innovation are big at Purdue, home to three supercomputers and 23 NASA astronauts. The Wall Street Journal put Purdue at #4 for best public universities.

    • Location: West Lafayette, IN
    • Percentage of Graduate Students:  24.1%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  5. MERIT: 84.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $655

    Online Master in Special Education

    online masters special educationThe University of Cincinnati knows how to educate with some of the countries top online masters degrees. The Online Master in Special Education is accredited and effective. The program is conveniently delivered entirely online thought the CAEP-accredited School of Education. Overall the program prepares you to serve in K-12 settings (some graduates work as advocates or case managers). Knowledge and skills include rehabilitation for occupational development and daily independence, community-based case management, disability advocacy, school and individualized consultation services and various other services related to individuals with disabilities and their families. The 30-credit curriculum takes about two years to complete. Courses include:

    • Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Transition Strategies for Individuals with Disabilities
    • Advanced Strategies for Individuals with Disabilities

    There are additional options and add-ons as well. You can choose to specialize in Advanced Studies, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Transition to Work, or Behavior Disorders. There is also a non-degree Intervention Specialist – Mild/Moderate Licensure program. All in all, with UC you have affordability, flexibility, and choice.

    About the University of Cincinnati

    The University of Cincinnati has a long and successful history of educating men and women. The public research university is classified Very High Research Activity by the Carnegie Commission and is ranked at #37 by the National Science Foundation. The top three majors are Business, Health Professions, and Engineering.

    • Location: Cincinnati, OH
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 29.3%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  6. MERIT: 83.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $253

    Online Master of Education in Special Education

    online masters special educationWhen scouring American colleges and universities for the best online masters degree programs Texas Tech emerges. The Online Master of Education in Special Education is accredited by multiple respected agencies such as CAEP/NCATE. The program is the most affordable on our entire list ($253 per credit) and has a plethora of concentration options. Concentration options include:

    • Autism
    • Applied Behavior Analysis 
    • Deafblindness
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
    • Educational Diagnostician
    • Generic Special Education
    • Orientation and Mobility
    • Visual Impairment

    With completely online learning you can complete your training anywhere. The Online MEd in Special Education is 36 credits and you can transfer up to six credits. There are some residency requirements in Visual Impairment, Deaf and blindness, and Applied Behavior Analysis if you choose the hybrid option. The Texas Education Agency and Council of Exceptional Children guide all special education programs, licensure, and certificates. The curricular framework is similar for all options: an education and special education core, followed by concentration courses. 

    About Texas Tech University

    Texas Tech University is a public flagship university located in Lubbock, Texas. TTU is a research powerhouse. TTU is making discoveries and breakthroughs in the areas of epidemiology, pulsed power, grid computing, nanophotonics, atmospheric sciences, and wind energy. TTU is Carnegie-classified as “Highest Research Activity.”

    • Location: Lubbock, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 16.3%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 20  to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  7. MERIT: 83.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $628

    Online M.A. and M.Ed. in Special Education

    online masters special educationThe University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers some of the best online masters degrees. Their M.A. and M.Ed. in Special Education prepares educators to lead by serving the needs of others. The online programs have three specialization options: 

    • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education (Pre-12)
    • Early Childhood Special Education (Birth to age 5)
    • Visual Impairments (Pre-12) (summer on-site participation will be required at various locations)are 

    One feature that comes out with UNL’s program is the different options available to fit your needs. Firstly, you can choose an M.A. or M.Ed. Secondly, you pick one of three specializations. Then it’s your choice if you want a thesis or non-thesis option. Lastly, you can choose a program that includes a minor (which adds more credits) or not. All the degree options require a comprehensive examination and 30-36 credits. The choice to fit your life is real at UNL. So is the quality. The Barkley Center, home to the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, “provides a stimulating environment for educational, clinical, and research activities.” Lastly, the price is nice at only $628 per credit.

    About the University of Nebraska – Lincoln

    The University of Nebraska Lincoln is a public research university. With a land-grant heritage and deep experience, it should come as no surprise that it is known for excellence. UNL offers over 150 undergraduate, 70 masters, and 70 doctoral programs. The top three majors are Business, Engineering, and Agriculture.

    • Location: Lincoln, NE
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 19.3% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  8. MERIT: 82.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $430

    Online Master of Education in Special Education

    online masters special educationYou’ll find many top online masters degrees at the University of Arkansas. UA offers a dynamic and affordable Online Master of Education in Special Education for $428 a credit. If you are looking for the convenience of a 100-percent online degree you’ve found it. This degree is also customizable and you can add endorsements or licensure requirements to your program. 

    • Endorsement Plan for Dyslexia Therapist
    • Endorsement Plan for SPED Educational Examiner
    • Endorsement Plan for SPED Education Resource Room
    • Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Initial Licensure in SPED

    The curriculum is 36 credits and takes about two years to complete on average. The curriculum covers all the knowledge and skills SPED teachers need. If you’re after initial licensure you must complete 36 credit hours of online coursework, including two internships with a minimum of 280 contact hours in the classroom (not online). A notable fact is that you do not need a GRE for admission and there are scholarship/grants available with the Arkansas Teacher Opportunity Program and Teaming for Transition Scholar program.

    About the University of Arkansas

    The University of Arkansas is the largest university in the state with 28,000 students. The school is a kind of universe with over 200 academic programs through 10 schools. It is ranked for “Highest Research Activity” by Carnegie which puts UA in the top 2.7 percent of schools in the nation.

    • Location: Fayetteville, AR
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 15.8%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  9. MERIT: 81.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $651

    Online Master’s of Art in Special Education

    online masters special educationBall State gives students everywhere education access to some of the best online masters degrees in the world. The 100-percent Online M.A. in Special Education is nationally recognized. For example, the applied behavior analysis course sequence is guided by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). The Teachers College is also CAEP-accredited and boasts a 93-percent placement rate among graduates. This kind of quality assurance leads to confidence for employers that you’ve received a superb training but also to you, the student, that you are ready to go on day one. There are several concentration licensing options to choose from (please note that this program does not lead to initial license):

    • Early Childhood Special Education License 
    • Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing License 
    • Intense Interventions License 
    • Mild Interventions License 

    All the courses, whether online, hybrid, or on-campus, are taught by the same faculty who have a passion for their subject and students. Ball State rises to the top 10 for good reason. The incredible quality is complemented by the incredible price. You simply can’t go wrong with choosing BSU.

    About Ball State University 

    The year 1918 was a good year. The First World War ended and Ball State was formed. Ball State University is a research school that offers over 300 total programs to 21,000 students. BSU has the state of Indiana’s largest planetarium and the top three majors are Business, Communication, and Health Professions. 

    • Location: Muncie, IN
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 26.1%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies
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  10. MERIT: 81.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $1025

    Online MS in Exceptional Student Education/Special Education (ESE)

    online masters special educationThe Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice give men and women the ability to earn one of America’s best online masters degrees. The FCE offers an MS in Exceptional Student Education/Special Education (ESE). The MS in ESE is geared for certified teachers or related services professionals who want to gain mastery or professional skills in the field or for those seeking certification in Florida or Nevada. It can lead to add-on endorsements in other states, but it does not terminate in certification automatically. 

    Here’s how the CAEP-accredited degree at NSU works. It’s essentially a customizable program to fit your interests and needs. Through collaboration with an ESE faculty member and an Academic Advisor, you complete 36 credits. The core is required and consists of three classes:

    • Educational Research for Practitioners
    • Special Education Law
    • Educational and Psychological Assessment of Exceptional Students

    Then comes the best part. You choose classes from required areas/categories to complete the remaining credits. You have the option to add endorsements if they meet the conditions of the state you’re living in. Categories are:

    • Autism
    • Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities
    • Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
    • Learning Disabilities
    • Prekindergarten Disabilities
    • Electives

    About Nova Southeastern University

    There are not very many schools that are built on a former WWII Naval field. Nova Southeastern University, however, does claim that fact. Originally called the Nova University of Advanced Technology, the private university has grown to serve over 20,000 total students and offer over 150 academic programs in just about every discipline.

    • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 76%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  11. MERIT: 80.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $420

    Online MA in Special Education (Collaborative 6-12 Certification)

    online masters special educationOnline education at the University of Alabama carries a distinguished reputation for top online masters degrees. The NCATE-accredited MA in Special Education Collaborative 6-12 is very affordable and will help you achieve your professional goals. The program does lead to an Alabama Class A certification in Collaborative 6-12 Special Education. Admission to the program requires a Class B or higher-level professional educator certification, undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a minimum score of 300 on the GRE or 50th percentile on the MAT. The 36-credit curriculum consists of the following sample of courses:

    • Diagnosis and Assessment of Exceptional Children and Youth
    • Advanced Behavior Management for Special Educators
    • Intro to Mild Disabilities
    • Transition in Special Education
    • Philosophy, History, and Social Foundations

    There is also a practicum experience required. The program is a hybrid and includes online, weekend, and web-assisted courses. All teaching is done by the College of Education faculty. There are scholarships available at Bama; the COE gives $500 -$4,000 per year. If you take the factors that matter and put them together, quality, convenience, and price, it’s easy to see why Bama is one of the best.

    About The University of Alabama

    The University of Alabama has it all in terms of American universities: research, athletics, academics, and vibrant student life. The 200-year-old school has been making a cultural impact from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. 

    • Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 13.9%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and numerous other accrediting bodies
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  12. MERIT: 80.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $415

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

    online masters special education

    Liberty University

    Whether or not you are religious, Liberty offers some of the best online masters degrees in terms of quality and choice in the world. Their Online Master of Arts in Teaching-Special Education is 100-percent online and CAEP-accredited. The program is 36 credits and can be completed conveniently in about one-and-a-half years. At Liberty, you will not only be given textbook answers, however, but you’ll also be taught a way of life and thought regarding God and his children. Courses include:

    • Collaborating for Successful Transitions
    • Curriculum Fundamentals
    • Principles of Behavior Management

    This degree does lead to certification in Virginia and many other states. The degree requires completion of a practicum and student teaching. Knowing the quality of being accredited and that LU’s online programs ranked in the top 1% of more than 2,100 online colleges and universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility means you can be confident your investment is wise. The price is in the 6th most affordable on our whole list.

    About Liberty University

    Liberty University has made itself into one of the premier Christian universities on the planet. It is huge in terms of total students at 100,000 and offers just about every degree imaginable. The top three majors are Business, Health Professions, and Visual and Performing Arts.

    • Location: Lynchburg, VA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 41.9%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  13. MERIT: 79.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $897

    Online Master of Arts in Special Education

    online masters special educationThe Top 5 ranking by U.S. News and World Report for best online masters programs in education helps vault Michigan State onto our top 30. MSU offers a convenient and qualified Online Master of Arts in Special Education. Utilized the latest evidence-based practices and research-validated instruction you will be prepared to serve special needs students in a K-12 setting. The program takes an average of two years to finish. There are several areas of focus you can choose from within the degree: 

    • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) 
    • Learning Disabilities (LD). 
    • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) (Graduate Certificate add-on)

    The curriculum is flexible and you do have choices within a framework. There is a core of classes, but depending on previous education, you could complete the degree with 30-36 credits (The ASD or LD endorsements are six credits). It should also be noted that all options require a comprehensive exam. IF you are former MSU intern you can apply six to 12 credits to this MA! There is also a hybrid Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis (MA-ABA) that might be a fit for you. 

    About Michigan State University

    Michigan State University is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in it’s Academic Ranking of World Universities and has been for nine years running. Some of the most popular majors at MSU are Business, Communication, Social Sciences, and Engineering.

    • Location: East Lansing, MI
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 21.7%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies. 
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  14. MERIT: 78.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $365

    Master of Education in Special Education online

    online masters special educationTop online masters programs are accessible and affordable at Mississippi College. Their Master of Education in Special Education online is the #5 most affordable on this list at an amazing $365 per credit! In as little as 10 months, if you’re motivated, you can complete the 30-credit curriculum and become an academic and spiritual advocate for their students with disabilities. The program prepares you to earn your Special Ed Mild/Moderate K-12 endorsement on their license in addition to a Class AA license upgrade. Courses are offered in seven-week terms:

    • Individualized Programming for Students With Mild/Moderate Learning Problems I
    • Teaching Students with Moderate Learning Problems
    • Organizational Procedures for Special Education
    • Diagnostic/Prescriptive Reading
    • Psychology of Exceptional Children

    All the courses and program is guided by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards. In order to be admitted, you must hold a valid teaching license and provide professional test results. In order to graduate you must maintain a 3.0 GPA and pass a comprehensive exam (unless you’re GPA is 3.75 of above). With five start times every year you can enjoy the program on your schedule. After you’ve completed this top online masters you’ll be prepared to teach interrelated disciplines as an independent teacher in a specialized setting.

    About Mississippi College

    Mississippi College is a private Christian school located in Clinton, Mississippi. The Baptist-affiliated school is the oldest private school. Over 5000 total students are offered 80 undergraduate majors, over 50 graduate areas of study, two doctoral programs, a law school, and the state’s only Physician Assistant program.

    • Location: Clinton, MI
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 36.6%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  15. MERIT: 77.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $674

    M.Ed. in Special Education – Online Concentration in Autism Intervention

    online masters special educationU.S. News and World Report ranked the College of Education 13th for some of the best online masters degrees in America. The M.Ed in Special Education-Online Concentration in Autism Intervention is one such program. Whether you are currently working as an educator, have a teaching license and are looking to move into SPED or you work in social work, healthcare, mental health and rehabilitation, life-coaching, or more, this degree is flexible and accessible. The CAEP-accredited and 100-percent online curriculum can be completed anywhere at your pace. A distinction is that you can complete this in a year, whereas many other online masters in SPED take two to three. 

    Teachers take note! You can take up to four accelerated courses in the summer and two each fall and spring and graduate in 15 months. There is also a teacher certification route through UNT’s IMPACT program. The curriculum is rooted in evidence-based practices designed for professionals to work with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in various capacities. Courses include 

    • Characteristics of Individuals with Learning Disabilities 
    • Collab. w/ Parents, Para-educators, Professionals
    • Classroom/Behavioral Management Strategies
    • Teaching Students with High Functioning Autism
    • Autism Across the Life Span

    A GRE is required for admission. The five words UNT uses to market their degree are indeed true: Convenient, Affordable, Flexible, Adaptable, Respected.

    About the University of North Texas

    The University of North Texas was born in an 1890 boomtown when a man had a mission to set up a school to train teachers. Since then UNT has grown in leaps and bounds and is now the flagship of the UNT System. The three top majors are. Business, Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

    • Location: Denton, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 17.9%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 26 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  16. MERIT: 76.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $508

    Online Master of Science in Special Education: Autism Endorsement

    online masters special educationIf you’re looking for the some of the best online masters degrees it’d be best to check out Florida International University. Their Online Master of Science in Special Education: Autism Endorsement is a wonderful option for its price, industry-standard curriculum, and fully online convenience. The program starts in either the fall or summer and to be admitted requires a bachelor’s, minimum 3.0 GPA, Valid Teacher Certification in Exceptional Student Education (ESE), and access to a K-12 ESE educator for the Action Research Project. The curriculum consists of six accelerated eight-week terms. You complete two courses per term in both core and specialization for a total of 36 credits. Courses include:

    • Advanced Theory and Research in Special Education
    • Integration of Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction
    • Working with Families of Students with Disabilities through Collaborative Approaches
    • Nature & Needs of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    An FIU program is not only excellent academically, but connects you to a successful network, both alumni and professionals. There is an FIU Online Academic Merit Scholarship for $1,800 available. In order to apply, you must meet the application requirements for the program, have a minimum 3.25 GPA in your upper-division undergraduate work, and complete the scholarship application.

    About Florida International University

    Florida International University stands out for several reasons. Firstly, it is the fourth-largest public university in the country with nearly 60,000 students. It is also known for cutting-edge innovation and research. The top three majors are Business, Psychology, and Communication.

    • Location: Miami, FL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 15.7%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 27 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  17. MERIT: 76.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $659

    Online M.Ed. in Special Education

    online masters special educationUND Online provides nearly 7000 students with over hundreds of programs including some of the best online masters degrees available today. The Online M.Ed. in Special Education is not only affordable and nationally respected, it comes with a lot of options for you. There are eight concentrations:

    • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    • Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
    • General Special Education
    • Emotional Behavioral Disorders (EBD)
    • Intellectual Disabilities (ID)
    • Learning Disabilities (LD)
    • Special Education Strategist (SES)
    • Visual Impairment (VI)

    It should be noted that UND is the only university in the United States to offer a fully online master’s program in the area of visual impairment. The fully online M.Ed. in SPED is CAEP-accredited and approved by the Educational Standards and Practices Board (ESPB). The curriculum prepares you to serve those with diverse learning abilities and takes a minimum of one-and-a-half years to complete. The 32+ credits required trains you to assess, instruct, manage, and advocate for those with learning challenges as well as work with the families and community as a leader in the field. 

    About the University of North Dakota

    “Light and Law” is the motto of the University of North Dakota. Founded in 1883 before North Dakota became a state, the public research school has always been part of the history and culture there. UND offers over 225 academic programs and has an economic impact of over $300 million.

    • Location: Grand Forks, ND
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 24%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  18. MERIT: 75.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $903

    Online Master of Education in Special Education

    online masters special education“A World of Possibilities” opens up at Penn State’s World Campus with some of the globes best online masters degrees. The Online Master of Education in Special Education provides access to Ivy-level education for anyone interested in serving children and youth with disabilities—from teachers to social workers and mental health counselors to psychologists. The program does not lead to initial licensure for teachers (can help you renew your existing one), but it does prepare you to pass the 5th edition Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification exam. The curriculum is 32 credits and you can choose one of three areas of emphasis:

    • Academic and Behavioral Supports
    • Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Autism.

    The pedagogical sequence is core, concentration, and capstone. The core and concentrations prepare you with comprehensive, evidence-based knowledge that will apply to a broad spectrum of children. The capstone helps you put it all together in a real-time, real-world way. The program teaches you how to assess, manage, instruct, and care for those with special needs as well as how to work within existing law as an advocate and leader in the community. Admission does not require GRE scores. If you take the Online M.Ed. in SPED as a full-time student you can complete it in one year. If you decide that part-time is the route that fits your life you can take one or two classes a semester and complete the program in two years. 

    About Penn State University:

    Pennsylvania State University is a Public Ivy providing the rigor of an Ivy League at a public school price. It is an R1 Doctoral Research University spends over $900 million a year on research and offers hundreds of top degrees.  Penn State operates 24 campuses and burgeoning online school. 

    • Location: University Park, PA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 13.7%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  19. MERIT: 74.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $459

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

    online masters special educationThe combination of convenience and price has made Georgia College a prime place for top online masters degrees. If you’re looking to earn your initial teaching license in Special Education GCSU’s online MAT in Special Education fits the bill. The program is designed for those who do not have a teaching license. The 45-credit curriculum covers the theory and practical know-how for succeeding in this demanding field. There are three internships and a capstone experience along the way. Courses include:

    • Survey of Special Education I
    • Behavior Management
    • Assessment in Special Education
    • Literacy For Special Education
    • Language Development

    A notable feature of GCSU is their cohort model and nationally recognized Department of Teacher Education. The DTE is guided by the Architects of Change Conceptual Framework and has earned several awards. Admission requires a bachelors degree, minimum 2.75 GPA (for unconditional admission), GACE Program Admission Assessment (or GRE or other professional scores that satisfy an exemption). Currently or expired licensed teachers may enroll to add a certification in SPED. 

    About Georgia College 

    Georgia College & State University began as a women’s school in 1889. Georgia College is now a mid-sized public liberal arts school that serves 7000 total students. The most popular majors at GCSU are Registered Nursing, Marketing, Business Administration, Journalism, and Kinesiology and Exercise Science.

    • Location: Milledgeville, GA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 14.7%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  20. MERIT: 74.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $881

    Online Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Exceptional Student Education

    online masters special educationUSF’s reputation for excellence extends to their online learning, where you’ll find the best online masters degrees around. If you are a teacher interested in educating those with learning disabilities USF’s Online MA in Exceptional Student Education could be a great fit. The program includes a common core of classes followed by a choice of specializations. Common core classes give you the knowledge and best practices for all key areas of working with exceptional student populations K-12. From psychoeducational assessment to transitional strategies to working with families and the community. Specializations or endorsements include:

    • Autism
    • Severe & Profound
    • Gifted Education
    • Reading

    The 30-34 credits required for graduation includes the Independent Study: Special Education and the Practicum In Exceptional Student Education. Admission to the program includes a bachelor’s, minimum GPA of 3.0, and GRE scores. The ROI is stable with affordable tuition of $881 per credit. 

    About the University of South Florida

    The University of South Florida is a large, space-grant university offering every level of degree to 55,000 students. Research and innovation are a point of pride at USF. The school is 7th in the nation among public universities for granted U.S. patents. The top three majors are Health Professions and Related Programs, Business, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

    • Location: Tampa, FL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 26.4%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 22 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  21. MERIT: 73.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $660

    Online MA in Special Education

    online masters special educationAt Brandman University, you’ll discover over 20 of the best online masters degrees in business, psychology, public administration, education, or other fields. The Online MA in Special Education is practical and affordable. The cost per credit is low at $660 and you have three options for specialization: Behavior Analysis, Autism, and Advanced Methodology. The total credits to graduate are 42-48 (30-36 core and 12 specializations). Core courses are required for each specialization as well as practical experiences and a capstone. Classes include:

    • Research and Evaluation Methods
    • Leadership and Policy in Special Education
    • Program Development and Organization in Special Education
    • Advanced Assessment and Program Evaluation in Special Education

    The curriculum is trustworthy and aligned with the Council for Exceptional Children’s Advanced Content Standards. There are some notable facts about each specialization. The Behavior Analysis specialization requires you to be employed at least part-time in education, medicine, social work, occupational or speech therapy. The Autism specialization can lead to authorization upon completion. Lastly, the Advanced Methodology specialization offers the opportunity to have six credits applied to your degree through the Education Specialist Clear Induction program.

    About Brandman University

    Brandman University is a private university located in Irvine, California. The School was established for working people and professionals. The Brandman educational method involves a combination of traditional face-to-face learning and online learning. The top three majors are Social Work, Business Administration and Management, and Psychology. 

    • Location: Irvine, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 51.2%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
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  22. MERIT: 71.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $780

    Online Master of Science in Education – Special Education

    online masters special educationThere are many men and women today looking for top online masters degrees to fit their busy schedule. At Saint Joseph’s University, you’ll find them. The online Master of Science in Education – Special Education prepares teachers for career advancement and to make a real difference in the lives of children. The program also offers additional add-on certifications for teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in education and Level 1 teaching certification. You can choose one or more add-ons:

    • Applied Behavior Analysis concentration 
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement
    • Wilson Reading System® certification 
    • Special Education certification

    Certification is based on standards in the state of Pennsylvania through reciprocity exists in other states. Credit requirements vary depending on tracks; the program varies from 36-39. All courses are rooted in evidence-based research and the Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) program. They are also taught by the same credential and expert faculty as on-campus. There is 140 hours (minimum) of student teaching required for this program. The average duration of the program is two years. 

    About Saint Joseph’s University

    Saint Joseph’s University is a private Catholic university located in the city of brotherly love. As a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities SJU offers students a distinctive education focused on social justice, intellectual inquiry, and academic excellence.

    • Location: Philadelphia, PA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 35.3%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
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  23. MERIT: 71.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $270

    Online Master of Science in Special Education (K–12)

    online masters special educationOnline learning is what makes Western Governors University what it is so it should come as no surprise that top online masters degrees abound. The Master of Science in Special Education (K-12) is convenient, high-quality, and the price simply can’t be beat at $270 a credit! If you are a certified teacher desiring to jump into the complex and challenging world of special education this is it. WGU’s degree will prepare you to navigate any and all challenges from instruction and management to transitional strategies and working with families. Core classes include:

    • Introduction to Special Education
    • Law and Legal Issues, 
    • Psychoeducational Assessment 
    • Behavioral Management and Intervention
    • Instructional Models and Design
    • Supervision and Culturally Responsive Teaching

    This degree truly works for normal people and the flexibility is amazing. Seventy-three percent of graduates finish in nine to 26 months. Since 97 percent of grads recommend WGU you know it is the real deal. The WGU Teachers College is the first competency-based online university to be CAEP-accredited. If you’re highly-motivated you can really increase the value of your degree for no cost. WGU allows you to complete one class at a time and move on to the next completing as many as you’d like each term for no additional cost. 

    About Western Governors University

    The creation of Western Governors University originated with state governors who wanted a better solution to adult education. What started in 1997 is now a burgeoning, accredited, and effective online university with over 80,000 total students. 

    • Location: Salt Lake City, UT
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 26.7%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 41 to 1
    • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
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  24. MERIT: 69.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $282

    Online Master of Education in Special Education Pedagogy

    online masters special educationAffordable, high-quality top online masters degrees are available at Eastern New Mexico University. If you’re a dedicated educator and feel called to make a difference in the lives of children who are disabled, the Online Master of Education in Special Education Pedagogy will train you to just that. At only $282 per credit, you’re not going to find many cheaper options. The price, though, does not indicate low quality. The ENMU program covers every significant aspect of Special Education with evidence-based knowledge and skills. Classes include:

    • Educational Research
    • Theories of Learning and Motivation
    • Assessment
    • Special Education Law
    • Class and Behavior Management with Except Child
    • High Incidence Disabilities: Theory to Practice

    The 100-percent online classwork is delivered with the most up-to-date technology for digital learning. In addition to coursework, there is an internship, a written thesis or capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. There are 36 total credits in the program and either you can take the track that leads to licensure in SPecial Education or not. There are two tracks, which do not lead to endorsements but function as professional advancement: General Education and Early Childhood Special Education. There are graduate scholarships available at Eastern New Mexico University

    About Eastern New Mexico University

    “Student Success—That’s What It’s All About” is the motto of Eastern New Mexico University. ENMU offers over 90 affordable and accessible undergraduate, graduate, and certificate options. The school is located in Portales, New Mexico and is a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution.

    • Location: Portales, NM
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 26.7% 
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as a few other accrediting bodies.
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  25. MERIT: 69.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $1765

    Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration

    online masters special educationThe George Washington University reputation for excellence extends to online learning with some of the top online masters degrees out there. If you are interested in K-12 special education, are seeking professional development, or to move into a different job, the Master’s in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners may fit the billGWU is one of only eight schools that offer this particular program. The program ensures that you are prepared to meet the challenges and needs of diverse learners. Significant program details include the 100-percent online convenient delivery, CAEP-accreditation, and ready to pass the ESOL and SPED Praxis exams. Coursework includes classes in all key areas taught by scholar-faculty who are working in the field they teach in. 

    • Second Language Instruction
    • Linguistic Applications in English as a Second Language
    • Teaching Second Language Reading and Writing 
    • Introduction to Quantitative Research 
    • The Development of Language and Literacy 
    • Development of Children with Disabilities

    This program is not only applicable in school settings. It can also lead to jobs in curriculum development, policy research, and more. The program requires 33-credit hours and about two years to complete. Admission does not require GRE scores. 

    About George Washington University

    George Washington University is a nationally-renowned and historic private school located in our nation’s capital. GWU is known for academics, research, public affairs, and engineering to name only a few. With the University’s amazing location, there are some of the best internships in America.

    • Location: Washington, District of Columbia
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 55.4%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  26. MERIT: 69.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $695

    MS in Special Education

    online masters special educationQuinnipiac University is responding to the demand for accessible and affordable degrees with several top online masters degrees. Their online MS in Special Education is designed for working professionals without a teaching license and those with a license seeking their CT Comprehensive Special Education K-12 certification. QU was an early provider of online education and their experience goes back 20 years so you can be confident you are getting the best digital education around. The curriculum for the programs is one of two options: 36 credits leading to the CT Comprehensive SPED certification for 36 credits or an initial SPED license for 30 credits (Please note the Comp. SPED cert. Is only for the state of Connecticut). Courses are guided by IDEA and include:

    • Introduction to the Exceptional Child
    • Specific Learning Disabilities: Identification, Instruction and Assessment (LD)
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
    • Emotional and Behavioral Disorder Identification, Management, and Assessment (EBD)
    • Understanding and Teaching Students with Intellectual Disabilities (ID)

    The MS in Special Education only includes a research thesis as well. The degree is streamlined, convenient, and affordable. There is flexibility to customize your education with the following electives:

    • Educating Young Children with Special Needs
    • Working with Gifted and Talented Students
    • Designing & Utilizing Assistive Learning Technologies

    Admission includes a bachelor’s degree, minimum 2.8 GPA, teaching experience preferred, and sufficient writing skills. With low tuition of $695 per credit your investment results in a favorable ROI.

    About Quinnipiac University

    Quinnipiac University is a non-sectarian private school in Southern New England. QU operates three campuses in Hamden and North Haven, Connecticut.  The Economist and The Brookings Institution ranked the University 13th for “Best Value.” 

    • Location: Hamden, CT
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 27.2%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1
    • Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education as well as numerous other accrediting bodies.
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  27. MERIT: 68.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $1311

    Online Master of Arts in Teaching: Special Education

    online masters special educationWhen taking into account reputation, price, and quality NC State offers some of the best online master degrees. The Online Master of Arts in Teaching: Special Education is a good example. Through 100-percent online learning, you will earn a masters degree and initial teaching license. The program is for working professionals, college graduates, and anyone with a bachelor’s seeking to enter the field of teaching in SPED. Curriculum for the program is 33-credits and can be taken full- or part-time. There is a full semester of student teaching required. Courses include:

    • Principles of Developing and Interpreting Assessment
    • Exploring Diversity in Classroom and Community
    • Classroom Action Research
    • Inquiry and Professional Development
    • Organization and Behavioral Management of Inclusive Classrooms
    • Resource Teaching In Special Education

    Admission to NC State’s MAT requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and no GRE. If you have under a 3.0 GPA you may still be admitted but are required to submit your GRE scores. In order to complete the MAT you must pass the edTPA assessment protocol and to gain your licensure you must pass the state of NC Foundations of Reading test, as well as the General Curriculum test administered by the NCDPI. 

    About North Carolina State University

    • Location: Raleigh, NC
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 28.9%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  28. MERIT: 68.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $526

    M.Ed. in Special Education Online

    online masters special educationWest Chester’s rich experience and history of training teachers translate into a number of top online masters programs to serve the needs of 21st-century learners. The M.Ed. in Special Education Online is designed for teachers to learn advanced knowledge for application in SPED classrooms. Concentrations in Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technologies, Specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders, or optional dual enrollment for Special Education Certification are available. Specifically targeted skills and knowledge include:

    • foundations of the study of disability,
    • the learner with disabilities,
    • the appropriate content for the learner with disabilities, and
    • effective classroom pedagogy.

    The 33-credit curriculum flows from a solid 15-credit core to a 12-credit concentration. There is a Final Project that synthesizes your learning to a real-world solution. The nationally accredited program does lead to employer respect and teacher-practitioner confidence. Not only is the degree fully online, but admission is also simple and requires a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Add to the incredible accessibility the outstanding affordability and it’s easy to see why WCU made our top 30.

    About West Chester University

    The first class of 160 students in 1871 began the story of what is now West Chester University. A large public university serving 17,000 students and offering more than 200 degrees through five colleges. The main campus is only 25 miles from Philadelphia.

    • Location:  West Chester, Pennsylvania
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 16.8%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  29. MERIT: 68.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $984

    Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Populations

    online masters special educationThe University of Houston-Victoria’s top online masters programs equips 21st century people who will make a positive change in our society. The Master of Education in Special Populations is a convenient online option for those seeking to enter into or grow in the knowledge of, SPED. There are four tracks for this degree with two fully online and two hybrids:

    • Special Education Emphasis (Online)
    • Educational Diagnostician Emphasis (Hybrid – 70-percent online) 
    • Gifted and Talented (Online)
    • Special Education Leadership Emphasis (Hybrid – 70-percent online) 

    The SPED Emphasis meets certification requirements for Texas. The Education Diagnostician Emphasis prepares you for certification as Educational Diagnosticians in Texas Public Schools. If you are interested in SPED Leadership and are not a principal there are options for you at UHV. The degrees all feature the same structure: core classes, SPED classes, and a comprehensive exam. The M.Ed. in Special Populations takes one to two years to complete if you enroll full-time. Careers vary, but most people are already working or desire to work in K-12 school settings. Examples include:

    • Public and Private Early Childhood – 12th-grade school settings
    • Educational and Social Agencies
    • Foundations
    • Public and Private Research Organizations
    • Residential Facilities

    About the University of Houston – Victoria

    The University of Houston–Victoria is a small state university in Victoria, Texas. UHV offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and concentrations. The most popular majors at UHV are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Business, Psychology, Accounting, and Information Science.

    • Location: Victoria, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 17.2%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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  30. MERIT: 68.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $326

    Master of Arts in Special Education Online

    online masters special educationFacts don’t lie when it comes to top online masters degrees. At UTPB the Master of Arts in Special Education Online is accredited, fast, and inexpensive. There is no question of quality for any online masters degree when the program is accredited by CAEP, CEC, and SBEC. The 100-percent online degree can be completed in 12 months, which is only the case with a few schools on our list. In addition, the accessible program is designed for working people and has six start dates. The GRE requirement is waived for candidates with a GPA of over 3.0 and no teaching certification is required to enroll. Here are the knowledge and skills you’re in for with a UTPB education:

    • Cultural Diversity in Education and the Social Sciences
    • Educational Psychology
    • Behavior Management and Social Skills
    • Transition Programming for Exceptional Learners
    • Foundation and Legal Aspects of Special Education
    • Parent Involvement in Autism
    • Autism across the Lifespan

    If you are interested in an online track in Autism you’ve found it as well. Like the general track, the curriculum is 36-credits, fully online, fully accessible, and fully affordable.

    About The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

    The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is a mid-sized public university that educates over 7,000 students. UTPB provides students an excellent learning environment with a small-campus feeling but the resources fo the UT System.

    • Location:  Odessa, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 18.6%
    • Faculty to Student Ratio: 20:1
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.
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Why consider an Online Masters in Special Education?

online masters special educationAn online masters in special education is often more accessible, affordable, and flexible than a traditional on-campus degree. Let’s face it, with today’s fast-paced society we need options to meet our needs on our time. What this really boils down to is a strong demand for high-quality, inexpensive online programs; and what you’ll find in this great country are schools meeting that demand. Online learning continues to grow and looks to well into the future. According to the Sloan Consortium, 31 percent of all college students today are enrolled in an online course.

The U.S. Department of Education’s study indicated that “students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” As our economy digitizes and globalizes, educational institutions are adapting and evolving. If you have your teaching license and are looking to meet professional development requirements, gain a deeper insight, or just improve your craft and online masters will get you there. If you do not have your license and want to engage in a challenging field that can bring great satisfaction there are online masters in special education for you. 

What does an Online Masters in Special Education program look like?

online masters special educationOnline learning varies a lot from school to school and program to program. There are hundreds of possibilities in terms of specializations, cost, quality, requirements, admission standards, etc. There are, however, also common aspects and elements. In general online masters in Special Education can be an M.A., M.S., or M.Ed. These differ largely in their overall focus. An M.A. and M.S. are considered academic degrees and include a research component. An M.Ed. is a practitioner degree that is for current teachers (licensed generally). Special Education is a dynamic and complex field to work. Almost all the core requirements of online masters in the subject include classes such as:

  • Introduction to Special Education
  • Law and Legal Issues 
  • Psychoeducational Assessment 
  • Behavioral Management and Intervention
  • Instructional Models and Design
  • Supervision and Culturally Responsive Teaching

Core credits can proportionally vary from 12 to 24 credits. In general, the programs on our list are around 36 credits. If you’re looking for specializations there are many options:

  • online masters special educationAutism Spectrum Disorder 
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • General Special Education
  • Emotional Behavioral Disorders
  • Intellectual Disabilities 
  • Learning Disabilities 
  • Special Education Strategist
  • Visual Impairment

Lastly, be aware that licensure and certification requirements are not always part of the program. In addition, it is always our advice to check with your state for specific requirements and standards.

What is the job outlook for special education?

The job outlook looks good for special education, particularly for specialized training in areas of need. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports job growth of 6% over the next ten years for special education in general. This can be a bit deceiving, however. Since children are being screened and identified earlier and earlier there is an increasing need for special education preschool teachers where job growth is expected to reach 16% by 2022. Trends also indicate that the need for teachers of culturally and linguistically diverse learners is also rising. The fact is, in order to fill the coming need you need specialized training to work with students who have multiple disabilities, severe disabilities, or autism spectrum disorders for example. Autism is another area of growing demand.

In 2018 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). If we look to other sources than the BLS we can see there may even be a shortage. Lynn Boyer, the director of the National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education at the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), says we do have a shortage right now. Thankfully, there are incredible online masters degrees in special education with concentrations in all these areas. Please note, programs vary in terms of meeting licensure requirements for different states.

What do I need to know about accreditation and licensing?

online masters special educationAccreditation is important when considering a school’s program. All the schools listed on our top 30 are regionally accredited by organizations such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, Higher Learning Commission, and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, to name a few These accrediting bodies do provide an indication that the schools are abiding by standards determined by an outside agency. More importantly, however, for a degree in Special Education, you need to look for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), or the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES), to name the most common.

These organizations are specifically focused on providing standards, guidance, and accountability to institutions of higher learning who train people in the field of special education. Many on our list are accredited by national organizations such a CAEP or CEC. This can provide you an edge when looking for jobs as well. Some employers look for programs accredited by these national organizations to ensure quality training. As for licensing, if you enroll in an online school out of your state you need to check the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) website. 

Are there any scholarships available for earning my online masters in special education?

online masters special educationThe cost of education today is very high, but there are still some affordable options. One way to address the financial component in our consideration is scholarships. There are a variety of categories of scholarships: national scholarships, state scholarships, college scholarships, and charitable foundation’s scholarships. The U.S. Department of Education offers the TEACH Grant. This grant is for those who plan to teach in a high-need field in a low-income area. You can receive up to $4,000 a year.  The Bishop Charles P. Greco Graduate Fellowship is through the Knights of Columbus. You can get up to $2000 for two-year masters programs in special education. The American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) offers a national scholarship of $1,250 to college students majoring or minoring in ASL, deaf studies, deaf education, special education, or interpreter preparation.

Another national scholarship is the Janice Jones Critical Need Scholarship. This awards $800 to those enrolled in any category of special education. The Shon Shadrick Memorial Scholarship is a $5000 scholarship awarded to a student pursuing a degree in Special Education. There are too many to list of state scholarships; it would be best to do a simple search in your state to find out potential scholarships for you. If you are part of a faith community, there may be options as well.

Need More? OnlineCollegePlan has it!

If you aren’t ready to commit to an online masters degree in special education or are interested in other potential degrees, check out the links below.