Master's Degree in Deaf Education: Program Overview

In a master's degree program in deaf education, students get a solid foundation in communicating with American Sign Language and how to use it in teaching. Students acquire the skills to understand and adapt to effects of hearing loss on learning.

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in deaf education take one to two years to complete and are generally available online. These programs may prepare graduates to teach school-age students, or they may train them to work in early intervention, helping very young deaf children. Students study the principles of teaching school subjects to the deaf and hard of hearing, with special emphasis on teaching reading and language skills. Most programs include student teaching experiences, and students may have to complete a final project. Bachelor's degrees are also offered in this field; they require a knowledge of American Sign Language or Cued Speech and possibly letters of recommendation.


Master's Degree in Deaf Education

Students in these programs learn to teach the appropriate content to students with hearing loss in residential schools, resource rooms and public day schools. Students have the option of pursuing a teaching track, which prepares students for licensure, or an early intervention track, which provides the skills necessary to work with young children. Deaf education programs are available as a Master of Science, Master of Education, and Master of Arts.

Students of the deaf education program learn the skills required to communicate effectively with deaf students and optimize a student's communication potential. They also learn successful methods of teaching students. Deaf education courses cover topics such as:

  • Speech and hearing science
  • Teaching literacy for the hard of hearing
  • Language theories
  • Sign communication
  • Working with families
  • Early intervention
  • Audiology

Popular Career Options

Graduates can pursue career opportunities in a number of settings, including public and residential schools, state programs or private practices. Some popular career options include:

  • Early intervention specialist
  • Special education teacher
  • Speech-language pathologist

Continuing Education and Licensing Information

Students may wish to pursue a doctoral degree in deaf education to perform critical research or enter positions in leadership or administration. Doctoral programs prepare students to address complex issues in deaf education through research and concentration in specific areas, such as policy, culture and politics.

Graduates seeking work as teachers in public school systems must complete their state's teacher certification or licensing requirements. The state may also require a special education certification, in addition to a general teaching credential. Speech-language pathologists are subject to different licensing requirements.

Students in deaf education master's programs learn how to optimize deaf students' communication and engagement in learning environments. Teaching experience is consequently a common feature of these degrees and graduates who want to work in schools must also gain the proper state licensing and certification.


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