What You Should Know About This Degree
Master’s in special education degree programs are designed for both current teachers and aspiring ones. Candidates who already have experience in the classroom may wish to advance to a leadership position, jump to a higher pay grade, or expand their knowledge and skills. Other candidates might be seeking a career change and entering the teaching profession for the first time.
Whichever path you choose, a master’s in special education provides highly specialized training to help you support students with a wide range of learning, emotional, or physical disabilities. Compared with a master’s of arts in teaching (MAT), a master’s in special education focuses more intently on inclusive teaching strategies and special education classroom management. Some schools also offer tracks and certifications in specific areas of special education, such as autism spectrum disorder, social, emotional, and behavioral wellness, or reading.
The job outlook for graduates with a master’s degree in special education is positive. With many states reporting a shortage of highly qualified special education teachers, you can help fill a critical need. Career options in this field include but aren’t limited to primary classroom instructor, special education specialist, educational diagnostician, and rehabilitation counselor.
Here are a couple of questions to ask when researching master’s in special education degree programs:
- What licensing or certifications are required? A master’s in special education degree prepares you for licensure (or certification), which is required in all states. Though requirements vary, most states ask for a minimum GPA, completion of a student teaching program, passing a certification exam, and a background check. Teachers at private schools typically don’t need to be licensed.
- Am I eligible for this program? Specific prerequisites may vary by school, but a standard requirement is that you already possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Certain programs are ideal for current teachers who wish to advance their knowledge, while others might be better suited for career changers who have a bachelor’s degree in a completely different discipline.
You can usually find more detailed information about specific requirements for new applicants by researching each school’s website. As you narrow down your top choices, keep track of application deadlines and consider contacting the admissions office to express your interest. For the highest chance of acceptance, apply as early as possible and make sure you have submitted all required materials, including transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.
For more information about financing your master’s in special education, reach out to the school’s office of financial aid. They can help you navigate the process of applying for flexible, low-interest federal loans and regional grants and scholarships for students pursuing a degree in education.