Top Special Education Schools
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, special education teachers need to complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree and an approved teacher preparation program, as well as obtain a teaching license. Many of the top schools on this list offer special education programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
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
Those interested in teaching may wish to consider the field of special education. Special education teachers work with and instruct children suffering from behavioral disorders or mental, emotional or learning disabilities. These professionals adapt curricula to meet the special needs of these students.
Aspiring teachers can find excellent programs at the four schools profiled here, each of which was nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.
The special education program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, has been ranked in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report's rankings for more than a decade. Vanderbilt University was ranked #2 on the U.S. News & World Report list of the best special education graduate schools for 2017. The school also ranked tied for 15th overall among national universities, and its graduate college of education, the Peabody College of Education and Development, was ranked 4th among all graduate education programs.
Peabody students can choose from special education degree programs at the bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. levels, as well as find an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) training program and an endorsement program in gifted education. Students can also participate in the Student Council for Exceptional Children or Vanderbilt Association for Behavior Analysis.
University of Kansas
University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS offers some of the master's programs in an online format. This university is home to the top-ranked special education program in the country, according to 2017 rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
This school offers five master's degree programs in special education as well as a bachelor's and a Ph.D. program. The master's degree programs are available in autism spectrum disorders, early childhood unified, high-incidence disabilities, low-incidence disabilities, and secondary special education transition.
University of Florida
The University of Florida in Gainesville, FL offers one of the first programs in the nation to receive accreditation from the International Dyslexia Association. The University of Florida offers both online and on-campus programs in special education through its School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies. The school was ranked tied for 50th on U.S. News & World Report's list of top national universities, and its special education master's degree program was tied for 5th in 2017.
The school offers bachelor's, master's, specialist, and doctoral degree programs in special education, including a unique Unified Elementary Proteach dual-certification program. At the end of this 5-year program, students receive a bachelor's degree, certification in special education (ESE K-12), a certification in teaching elementary education (K-6), and an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) endorsement.
Johns Hopkins University
The graduate education program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD was tied for #2 on the U.S. News & World Report list for 2017. Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Science in Special Education. The degree is available in full-time and part-time formats, and it culminates in a graduate project and a comprehensive exam. Johns Hopkins has a partnership with the Montgomery County School System that helps many graduates find jobs in the district after graduation.
In addition to the M.S. degree, Johns Hopkins also offers graduate certificates in Early Intervention/Preschool Special Education Specialist, Education of Students with Autism and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Gifted Education, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and Advanced Methods for Differentiated Instruction and Inclusive Education.
Top Special Education Teaching Programs
Here are six more schools with great special education teaching programs:
|University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign||Champaign, IL||Offers seven different funding opportunities across all levels of studies|
|University of Maryland - College Park||College Park, MD||College of Education has a 4.2:1 ratio of doctoral students to full-time faculty|
|University of Minnesota||Minneapolis, MN||Special education degrees are available with several specialization options|
|University of Oregon||Eugene, OR||Students in special education programs can complete hands-on learning experiences in public schools, clinics, or one of 17 research and outreach units|
|University of Texas||Austin, TX||Students can participate in research projects through 10 campus centers, including the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk and Texas Center for Disabilities Studies|
|University of Wisconsin||Madison, WI||Offers cross-categorical certification programs that encompass intellectual and developmental disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities, and learning disabilities|
Aspiring teachers and experienced educators who want to direct their careers towards special education can find relevant degree and certificate programs at some of the highest-ranked universities in the country.