Special Education Teaching Diploma Programs in Nashville, TN

There are six schools in the Nashville, TN, area that have special education teaching degree programs. To find out which one is a good fit for your goals, read an overview of the admission and program requirements at two universities located within five miles of the city's center.

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Nashville Special Education Teaching Schools

Although there aren't any schools offering special education diplomas in Tennessee's capital city, a number of degree programs in the field are available through institutions in the Nashville area. This article highlights the areas of focus and required coursework in two universities' programs. Even more information to aid your school research is provided through the table of statistics and the details on an additional couple of college options located around the city.

  • Tennessee State University, which is about four miles from downtown Nashville, provides a master's degree and doctoral degree in special education.
  • Located about three miles from the center of Nashville, Vanderbilt University offers students the opportunity to earn a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in special education.

Comparison of Schools

The featured universities have quite different student enrollment numbers as well as tuition rates - both of which may impact your college experience while studying special education. Get specifics on these and other school facts in the table below.

Tennessee State University Vanderbilt University
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017)* 8,177 12,592
Campus Setting Large city Large city
Tuition and Fees (2017-2018)* Graduate:
$10,740 in-state;
$22,380 out-of-state
Undergraduate: $47,664;
Graduate: $46,297
Percent of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 95% 70%
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2017)* N/A 11%
Retention Rate for First-Time Students (2017)* 58% 97% full-time
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (Students began in 2011)* 29% 92%

Sources: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics

Tennessee State University

This university's special education program is offered through the Department of Teaching and Learning, a division of its College of Education. The college is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Master of Education in Special Education

This 42-credit program prepares students to work in classrooms teaching students with disabilities; they might also choose to work in hospitals, mental health centers, or group homes. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, and there are curriculum options for both licensed teachers and those new to teaching. The program requires all students to pass exams in both general and special education, with 15 credits of core training and 27 of special ed. Licensed teachers studying for a special ed endorsement must also complete three credits of supervised teaching. Those new to teaching must be admitted to teacher education before taking the program courses. Core training focuses on the philosophy, psychology, and education of exceptional children, while special ed coursework explores teaching procedures, managing classroom behavior, educational diagnosis, special education technology, and reading strategies.

Doctor of Education with a Concentration in Special Education

This EdD program is designed for in-service educators and those interested in developing curriculum. It features five concentrations, including special education, and requires 60 credits over and above the master's degree program. Core classes cover topics like multicultural education, learning theories for teachers, research and statistics analysis, the foundations of education, and leadership. The special education core emphasizes instructional leadership and curriculum theory, while electives include teaching the emotionally disturbed child, assessment of bilingual students, managing transitions for exceptional children, technology in special education, cultural diversity in special education, managing behavior in the classroom, disabled services, and a special education practicum. EdD candidates must pass qualifying and comprehensive exams and write a dissertation.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University's special education degree programs were ranked first in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2013. They are offered through the Department of Special Education, a component of the Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

Bachelor of Science in Special Education

Graduates of this four-year program are prepared to seek special education teacher licensure for a variety of grade levels. Students must select an area of concentration from three options: special education comprehensive licensure with K-12 endorsement, special education modified licensure with K-12 endorsement, or special education vision licensure with Pre-K-12 endorsement. Students may also choose a dual licensure or second major from options such as child development or cognitive development. There may be additional fees for the teacher certification program.

Master of Education in Special Education

This program is available to both licensed teachers and those earning a license. There are concentrations in early childhood education, low-incidence disabilities, high-incidence disabilities, and visual disabilities. Each of these concentrations includes a student teaching experience and field work. The early childhood program focuses on teaching disabled students in kindergarten through first grade. Training covers behavior management, education and psychology of exceptional children, speech and language, early intervention, and assessment. The high- and low-incidence programs have similar curricula that focus on children in the K-12 age group. In each of these programs, those earning a teaching license must also do student teaching and complete a thesis or comprehensive exam.

The visual disabilities program prepares individuals to teach students with low vision or who are blind. Participants learn how to read Braille, use optical devices in curricula, and assess visual capabilities; all must complete a thesis or comprehensive exam, and those earning a license must also fulfill a student teaching requirement.

Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education

Although this program prepares students to assume leadership positions in education facilities, its curriculum includes a focus on teaching and research. Participants can concentrate on early childhood, high-incidence disabilities, severe disabilities, or visual impairments. The program requires writing a dissertation and completing a college-level student teaching experience. Students lacking a master's degree in the field earn one by completing additional coursework prior to beginning doctoral-level classes.

Other Schools

Within 5 miles of downtown Nashville, there are two private, Christian colleges that have special ed programs. Lipscomb University offers a Master of Education in Special Education that qualifies graduates for Tennessee's special education K-12 modified license, while Trevecca Nazarene University features a bachelor's degree program in K-8 special education.

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