Login

Master in Special Education: Degree Overview

A master's degree program in special education prepares teachers to create coursework tailored toward a student's specific disability. Many master's programs offer concentration areas, such as working with students who are deaf or visually impaired.

View popular schools

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in special education prepare individuals to teach special needs students at all levels of schooling. Prerequisites for enrollment include a bachelor's degree, and some programs require a teacher's license. Program requirements may include a capstone project (which may include a thesis), a comprehensive exam, or teaching experience. Licensing requirements apply to those seeking to work in this field.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teaching Gifted and Talented Students
  • Teaching Special Education - Autism
  • Teaching Special Education - Developmentally Delayed
  • Teaching Special Education - Emotional Disturbances
  • Teaching Special Education - Hearing Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Learning Disabilities
  • Teaching Special Education - Mental Retardation
  • Teaching Special Education - Multiple Disabilities
  • Teaching Special Education - Orthopedic Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Speech Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Teaching Special Education - Vision Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education, Children and Young Children

Master's Degree in Special Education

Foundational coursework in teaching methods and classroom management is included in the special education master's program. Students learn about specific learning disorders, as well as how to assess a child's performance. These programs cover psychological factors affecting special needs students and specific principles used to overcome these barriers. Some technology-based courses may be included. The following list displays possible course topics:

  • Behavioral and classroom management
  • Technology in special education
  • Assessment in special education
  • Educational psychology
  • Inclusive teaching
  • Disability law

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Special education teachers at the K-12 levels should see a 6% increase in employment between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Driving this growth rate is the increase in enrollment, especially for preschool-aged students. At these grade levels, the employment growth rate is expected to be 9% between 2014 and 2024. BLS data for May 2015 showed that secondary special education teachers earned a median salary of $58,500, while preschool special education teachers earned $53,990, and those at the kindergarten and elementary school levels made $55,810.

Licensure and Continuing Education

The BLS reported that all states have licensing standards for special education teachers. While these standards vary by state, typical requirements include having at least a bachelor's degree, completing a teacher preparation program, gaining student-teaching experience and passing an exam. Depending on their state, individuals may receive a general license or one that specifies a special education specialty. Licensed individuals may need to meet continuing education standards.

Doctoral programs are also available in special education. Students in these programs typically focus on research in a specific aspect of special education as well as take advanced coursework. Graduates may qualify for administrative positions or for those in research or university settings.

Though special education licensure varies state by state, a master's program in this field will provide students with a firm groundwork in the various theories, strategies and goals of special needs education. Graduates can consider teaching careers at various grade levels.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MA in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross-Categorical
    • M.Ed. in Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education-ITL
    • M.Ed. in Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education-NITL
    • M.A. in Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
    • MA in Gifted Education

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Arts in Education: Special Education
    • MA Special Education

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Education in Special Education

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Leadership
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - The Inclusive Classroom (SPED)
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction - Online Teaching and Learning
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)
    • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - English Language Development
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction - Early Childhood Education

    What is your highest level of education?

    • M.Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction with Instructional Technology Leadership Emphasis
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with Curriculum Supervisor Certification
    • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with ESL/ELL Emphasis
    • M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?