Master’s in Special Education Online

What You Should Know

Learn about different schools offering online master’s degree programs in special education. Develop questions and topics to ask admissions officers and gain a deeper understanding of the requirements and potential outcomes of earning an advanced degree.

When it comes to students with special needs, teachers understand the demand to provide quality educational opportunities and assistance to ensure those students succeed in the classroom. Special education students require teachers who are specially trained to recognize students’ disabilities, providing them effective, quality instruction.

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Questions for Admissions …
  • How can this program help me to become a better special education teacher?
  • Will this program be accepted by my state when adjusting pay grades?
  • Can you transfer credits?
  • Does your school have career counselors?
  • Can I get financial aid?

Learning disabilities and physical disabilities are complex topics, however, and many teachers seek advanced degrees to fully meet the needs of their students.

Earning a master’s degree in special education will give you the training and background necessary to fill a variety of roles in the classroom. Traditional master’s degree programs require large time commitments, often forcing students to take time off from family, work, or extra curricular activities to attend classes.

Instead of putting your life on hold to attend class, consider enrolling in an online master’s degree program. Online master’s degree programs in special education provide the same high quality education as traditional universities, while allowing a student to schedule classes to their specific needs.

In an online degree program, your assigned academic adviser will help you to develop a graduation plan that fits around your life. While traditional universities have set class times and requirements, an online degree program is flexible and accommodating.

While earning a master’s degree in special education online, you’ll study a variety of special education topics. Some of these topics include:

  • Specific Learning Disabilities
  • Speech and Visual Impairment
  • Autism
  • Mental Retardation
  • Emotional Disturbances
  • Child Development
  • Behavioral Intervention

This broad range of topics ensures an individual will be best prepared to promote effective learning in special education students. During their online degree programs, individuals will gain knowledge of instructional techniques specifically designed for students with disabilities. For example, some students may require individualized instruction or problem-solving assignments, while others are best suited to complete small group work.

With a master’s degree in special education, you’ll be prepared to develop individualized education programs for each of your students. These programs focus on setting personal goals for each student, paying special attention to their individual needs and attributes.

While the flexibility and prospect of completing school work online may be the biggest draw of earning an online master’s degree, many special education programs do require some work offline. This is usually specific to student teaching work, where individuals will gain first-hand experience in special education classrooms.

Should I earn a Master’s Degree?

If you’re still unsure if now is the best time to enter a master’s degree program, ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Would I like to earn better pay and find more job opportunities?
  • Do I think I can further develop my knowledge of special education research?
  • Can I afford to attend a traditional university? Do I have enough time?
  • If not, would an offline university provide a better opportunity?
  • Do I want to provide the highest level of education possible to my students?

Those who enter master’s degree programs are passionate about their careers, and want to gain as much knowledge as they can about a subject. An online program will help provide you with the tools you’ll need to design appropriate curricula and instructional techniques for your special education students.

During a special education master’s degree program, you’ll gain field-based experiences supplemented with research opportunities in areas like severe disabilities, early childhood development, trends in education, and instructional principles and techniques.

If you still aren’t sure a master’s degree in special education is right for you, consider some of the career options available to those who seek their advanced degrees.


Those who hold master’s degrees in special education may hold a variety of positions, including:

  • Teacher
  • Special Needs Coordinator
  • Diagnostician
  • Special Education Researcher

Special education teachers often become communicators and coordinators between parents, social workers, therapists, school administrators, and other teachers to ensure students’ needs are being met.

Some teachers have their own classrooms and teach only special education students, while others offer personalized assistance to special education students in traditional classrooms. Many times, teachers meet for a few hours a day with a student in a special education classroom, ensuring the student is keeping up with coursework and providing remedial assistance.

More and more schools are looking for master’s degrees holders to provide high-quality education to students in order to meet rising educational standards. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of special education teachers will increase by 17% through 2018, faster than average job growth in America.

If you’re interested in gaining a greater understanding of students with special needs, request information from schools offering online master’s degree programs in special education.