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Masters in Early Childhood Special Education: Program Info

Early childhood special education master's programs often focus on advanced teaching methods and research. Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs in the field are primarily designed for students seeking initial certification, while Master of Science (M.S.) programs are tailored to the needs of certified teachers.

Essential Information

Much of the coursework in early childhood special education master's programs is concerned with identifying disabilities and implementing treatment plans as early as possible. Applicants to Master of Arts in Teaching programs may need to hold a bachelor's degree in education or a related field, and applicants to Master of Science programs often need teaching certification. Students must complete fieldwork, internships and/or student teaching within a local school. Programs generally last about two years.


Master's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education

Applicants who have completed undergraduate coursework in developmental psychology, statistics and research design may be familiar with some of the concepts covered in early childhood special education master's programs. These programs consist mainly of research and methods courses. Many programs require students to complete teaching internships and field experiences after completing coursework in the following subjects:

  • Language development
  • Disability screening and assessment
  • Special education behavior management
  • Dynamics of families with disabled children
  • Early education theories

Popular Career Options

People who earn a master's degree in early childhood special education can work with students or in administrative positions. Graduates often work for preschools, school districts or independent rehabilitation and counseling facilities. Some popular career options include:

  • Early childhood disability assessment specialist
  • Special education case manager
  • Program implementation specialist
  • Early childhood special education teacher

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Special education teachers at the preschool level earned a mean annual income of $58,210 as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2014 to 2024, 6% employment growth is expected for both preschool special education teachers and those teaching in kindergarten and elementary schools, per the BLS.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Administrators who work for a public school system need to meet state licensure requirements, which typically include holding a graduate degree, passing a written examination and finishing a supervised internship. Teachers gain licensure by graduating from an accredited teacher education program, completing student teaching assignments and passing a state pedagogy test. Many advanced research positions in early childhood special education require a doctoral degree.

Early childhood special education master's programs can be tailored to the needs of certified teachers or students pursuing initial licensure, depending on the program. Most programs include a combination of lecture-style courses and student-teaching experiences. Preschool, kindergarten and elementary school teachers can expect average growth in employment opportunities from 2014-2024.

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