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What Can You Do With a Masters in Special Education?

Special education teachers work with students who may need extra help outside the typical learning classroom. This usually pertains to a child's learning disability, but can also be temporary help because of behavioral problems. These teachers often focus on teaching the student life skills, literacy and other basic functions.

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Careers with a Master's in Special Education

With a master's degree in special education, graduates are able to work as special education teachers at many levels. Teachers may begin their careers by observing classes and working alongside general education teachers or as aides in special education departments.

Special education teachers in all states are required to be licensed. Traditionally, this includes a bachelor's degree and a teacher preparation program. In some states, special education teachers must have received their master's degree in order to become licensed. Students interested in this career should look into their state's requirements when deciding on a degree program.

Other job opportunities to consider for those with a master's degree in special education include job titles such as resource teacher, behavior analyst, intervention specialist and director of special education.

Job Description

Special education teachers work with children suffering from language impairments, emotional problems, visual impairments, autism, mental retardation, attention deficit disorder and several other mental problems. While working with these students, often individually, the teacher may create an educational program for each student. This helps him or her understand the educational concepts. Responsibilities include everything from helping students with their daily homework to creating an appropriate curriculum for the individual student's level.

Special education teachers may work alongside basic education teachers or within their own department. This depends on the school's policy and the level of education in which the special education teacher is involved.

Degree Program Overview

Many schools offer a student the option to major in special education as an undergraduate and stay for one or two extra years and earn a master's degree in the field. Students may be required to choose a specialization within special education. Some of these specialties may include emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, autism intervention, behavioral management, correctional special education and traumatic brain injury. Each of these specialties may be geared toward a different level and place of education, like correctional special education, which involves working with juvenile offenders with disabilities.

Classes differ based on the specialty the student chooses. Many master's degree programs in special education feature core courses, including foundations of special education, human relations, special education law, motor skills assessment and special education leadership.

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