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An online master’s in gifted and talented education focuses on effective strategies and the role of creativity in teaching the needs of high-ability learners. Graduates in this field of special education pursue careers as K-12 teachers, instructional coordinators, school principals, psychology administrators, behavior analysts, and community advocates.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees the job market for education and training to grow by 10% between now and 2030. On average, special education teachers earn approximately $59,000 yearly.

Depending on the school, according to U.S. News and World Report, a two-year, 30 to 40 credit hours online master’s in gifted and talented education program costs $360 to $590 per credit hour. Expect total tuition to average between $11,000 and $21,000 in total tuition.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Program

Choose your area of study

Before beginning their search, students should take some time to reflect on their educational and career goals, as well as their current level of experience and training. Within the field of gifted and talented education, there are various focus areas, such as curriculum development, elementary or secondary education, or human behavior. Students who know what they want to specialize in will have an easier time finding a program that meets their needs.

Students should also consider their needs in terms of logistics and cost. Some students may be able to enroll in a full-time program, while others plan on taking part-time classes due to work or other responsibilities.

For online programs, courses can be delivered synchronously, with regular virtual class meetings at predetermined times; asynchronously, with coursework accessible 24/7 so students can study on their own schedule; or through a hybrid of both formats. By deciding now what will work best for them, students can set parameters to begin their search.

Research schools and programs

When investigating schools, the first thing to confirm is their accreditation status. This affects whether the school is eligible to award federal financial aid to students. For educators, it can also impact their ability to get the necessary licenses and certifications. Students should seek out schools with regional accreditation as well as accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Other important information that students should seek out during the research phase includes:

  • Are students required to have work experience or teaching licensure to be eligible for the program?
  • Is the content of the program’s courses relevant to your interests and needs?
  • Are there any experiential learning requirements, such as student teaching or a practicum?
  • How do remote students access student services like academic advising, tutoring, tech support, and counseling?
  • Is the program offered completely online, or is it a hybrid format requiring on-campus attendance?
  • Is it a synchronous or asynchronous online program?
  • What are the networking opportunities?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their qualifications?

Students have a variety of avenues for learning more about schools and programs. They can visit the school’s website, contact the admissions office, read online reviews, follow school and program social media accounts, and attend virtual open houses and information sessions.

Prepare for tests and applications

During the research stage, it’s a good idea to collect information on the school’s application requirements, processes, and deadlines. This information is usually available on the school’s website, but you can also contact the admissions office if you have questions. If you’re applying to multiple schools, keep track of application materials and deadlines using a checklist or spreadsheet.

Common eligibility requirements for an online master’s in gifted and talented education include a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field, an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher, and an active, unencumbered teaching license or certification.

A standard application for this program includes:

  • Completed application and fees
  • Official transcripts from all schools previously attended
  • Letters of recommendation detailing your qualifications, character, and potential for program success.
  • A resume or CV that summarizes your education and professional experiences.
  • An essay or personal statement explaining your interest in gifted and talented education and why you are a match for the program.
  • GRE scores

Select your program

Once students have researched their options, they should pare down their list to the programs that most align with their personal and professional needs. This may mean that students only apply to one or two programs or that they apply to many to increase their odds of acceptance. There’s no magic number of applications to submit, but students should keep in mind that the more schools they apply to, the more they’ll pay in application fees.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in determining a student’s eligibility for federal student loans and need-based institutional aid like scholarships and grants. Many schools also offer merit-based aid like scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships to students with a strong academic record and professional achievements. Students can also explore scholarships and grants from outside sources like professional development organizations, community and religious groups, and nonprofits.

For students who are working while enrolled in a master’s program, tuition assistance benefits may help reimburse payment for classes. Military service members and veterans should inquire about tuition discounts for military and GI Bill benefits.

The Top 34 Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Degree Programs

Best Online Master's in Gifted and Talented Education Degree Programs

University of South Florida

University of Georgia

University of Missouri

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of Alabama

Arkansas State University

University of North Texas College of Education

University of Nebraska at Kearney

University of Southern Mississippi

Lamar University

Fort Hays State University

University of Northern Colorado

NSU Florida College of Education & School of Criminal Justice

Lindenwood University

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Arizona State University

University of Cincinnati

West Virginia University

Regent University

Millersville University

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Western Kentucky University

Wichita State University

Eastern Kentucky University

Drury University

Converse University

Wilmington University

Mary Baldwin University

McNeese State University

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How We Rank Schools

Our research focused on finding the best master’s programs in gifted and talented education. Within this subject, students generally earn a Master of Education (M.Ed) or Master of Arts (MA) degree.

We specifically looked at programs that can be completed entirely or primarily through online coursework, although education programs typically have experiential learning components like student teaching.

All of the schools on our list are regionally accredited, which is a confirmation that their programs meet the highest standards of quality for postsecondary education. Additionally, many programs are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educational Programs (CAEP), a specialized agency that oversees postsecondary education programs.

After compiling our list, we reviewed each program’s reputation, faculty, cost, outcomes, and flexibility. Based on these reviews, we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Program?

The master’s degree program allocates the initial year to basic classes that encompass the fundamentals of gifted and talented education. Students explore curriculum design, behavior and human development, and the needs and nature of gifted and talented learners.

In the second year, expect to go deep into the gifted education area that aligns most with your career goals. Gaining experience through practicums and fieldwork is a possibility. Some schools present a specific master’s in gifted and talented education. Other programs might concentrate on particular subject areas or grade levels.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in gifted and talented education degree program

  • Comparative Learning Theory. Students examine how to design learning environments to benefit diverse groups.
  • Gifted Learner Identification. Students learn how to gauge possibly gifted learners.
  • Intro to Gifted Education and Talented Development. This first-semester course reviews current gifted and talented education research, trends, and practices.
  • Curriculum and Instruction for High Ability Learners. Learners design appropriate gifted student learning materials. Class topics concentrate on educational challenges that can emerge.
  • History of Gifted and Talented Education. Students learn the evolution of the discipline from its beginning.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education?

Career outlook

Earning an online master’s degree in gifted and talented education equips educators with specialized knowledge and strategies to support exceptionally bright and talented students. These programs prepare teachers to address the unique academic, social, and emotional needs of gifted learners. Positions in the educational sector are anticipated to grow slowly but steadily over the coming decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and to feature solid salary options. Master’s educated instructional coordinators, for example, earn a median salary of $66,490 annually.

Career paths

The career outlook for educators with a master’s degree in gifted and talented education is promising, driven by a growing recognition of the importance of individualized instruction for exceptional students. According to data from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), there is a strong demand for specialized educators who can provide appropriate programming for gifted learners. Some of the career paths open to those with this academic credential include the following:

  • Enrichment program director — oversees gifted education programs within school districts.
  • Enrichment program director — designs and manages programs and extracurricular activities tailored to gifted children.
  • Academic coach for gifted learners — works closely with gifted students to help them set and achieve their academic and personal goals.
  • Educational researcher — studies gifted education practices, policies, and outcomes, conducting research to advance the field and improve educational experiences.
  • Higher education instructor — teaches at the college or university level, preparing future educators to work with gifted students.

Gifted Education Specialist

Earning Potential: $38,447-$59,821 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in gifted and talented education or related field

A gifted education specialist specializes in identifying and nurturing the academic and intellectual potential of gifted and talented students. They work in K-12 schools, collaborating with students, parents, and teachers to create customized educational plans that challenge and engage gifted learners. Gifted education specialists design differentiated curricula, offer enrichment activities, and provide support to meet the unique cognitive and emotional needs of these students. They play a crucial role in fostering creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, ensuring that gifted students reach their full academic potential and develop a lifelong love for learning.

Curriculum Developer

Earning Potential: $71,500-$87,700 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in gifted and talented education or related field

A curriculum developer for gifted and talented children specializes in creating educational materials and programs tailored to the unique learning needs of exceptionally bright students. They design challenging and engaging curricula that go beyond standard classroom content, focusing on advanced concepts, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving. Curriculum developers ensure that the educational experience for gifted learners is stimulating, enriching, and relevant to their intellectual capabilities. They collaborate with teachers, schools, and districts to implement these specialized curricula, providing gifted students with opportunities to excel, explore their passions, and reach their full academic potential.

School Administrator

Earning Potential: $75,818-$96,534 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in educational administration, gifted and talented education or related field

School administrators, also known as educational administrators, play crucial roles in the management and leadership of educational institutions. They oversee the daily operations of schools, including budgeting, staffing, curriculum development, and student services. School administrators can hold various positions, such as principals, vice-principals, superintendents, or deans. Their responsibilities include setting academic goals, implementing policies, managing staff, and ensuring the well-being and safety of students. They also foster a positive learning environment, handle disciplinary matters, and collaborate with teachers, parents, and the community to promote academic excellence. School administrators are instrumental in shaping the educational experience and success of students.

Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in gifted and talented education degree program?

Contact the admissions counselor for details about the application process. Most schools accept applications and supporting materials online through their websites.

To apply, collect the required materials:

  • Official transcripts from all previous schools
  • Letters of recommendation from two or three references
  • Resume or CV to spotlight your educational and professional experiences
  • GRE test scores or scores from other standardized tests to assess quantitative and verbal reasoning skills
  • Graduate school essay to explain why you are a good fit and interested in the program

How much does an online master’s degree in gifted and talented education cost?

Tuition rates vary by school. U.S. News and World Report reveals that a two-year, 30- to 40-credit-hour online program averages between $11,000 and $21,000 in total tuition. Students can pay $360 to $590 per credit hour.

Beyond tuition, online students can expect to pay fees for technical support, online library resources, and technology purchases like an updated computer. However, they can save money by not paying for transportation, on-campus housing, and activity fees.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in gifted and talented education degree?

The total enrollment time can vary depending on the number of required credits, the student’s pace, and any experiential learning requirements. Two years is the average time to attain a degree. The amount of credits a student carries every semester will determine the completion date. Students enrolled full-time, taking 12 to 15 credits per semester, could usually get a degree in 18 months. A student with a part-time load of nine to 12 credits might need two years or more to finish.

Is an online master's in gifted and talented education worth it?

An online master’s degree in gifted and talented education offers numerous advantages. This degree equips educators with the knowledge and strategies to support the unique needs of gifted students, making them highly valuable in the field of education. Graduates can pursue various career paths within gifted education, from teaching to program coordination and curriculum development.

As schools increasingly recognize the importance of catering to gifted learners, the demand for specialized educators in this field is growing. Although salary ranges may fluctuate based on factors such as location and job description, a gifted and talented teacher can expect to make a median salary of $49,296 annually.

Students in online programs have many advantages over those who attend on-campus programs. They are likely to save money on transportation costs and living expenses and may also be able to take advantage of the increased levels of flexibility that are inherent with asynchronous courses. They will have multiple opportunities to network with other students, faculty members, and industry professionals across the country through their program.

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