Virginia colleges and universities offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in special education. A bachelor's degree is the minimum credential required for licensure in the state, although teachers may need a master's degree in special education for career advancement. Aspiring educators usually pursue degrees in concentration areas, such as early childhood special education or gifted education, although there are general programs available that prepare students to work in both elementary and secondary schools. Those in teacher licensure programs usually complete supervised special education teaching experiences and observe educators in classroom settings.
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson and is located in Charlottesville, offers special education bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Undergraduates wanting to major in special education or elementary education can pursue a bachelor's degree in either by working toward a general education bachelor's degree beside a specific master's degree in special ed or elementary ed. Students in this program may focus on any major in the Curry School of Education to meet the requirements for the Teacher Education BA/BS-MT joint program. The joint degree can be finished in 4 ½ years and graduates can obtain a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science with a Master in Teaching in Elementary Education or Special Education. All programs incorporate field experiences, research projects and seminars.
Graduate students can choose between several master's degree programs in special education, including those focusing on secondary and early childhood special education. There are also general master's degree programs and a doctorate program in education that has an emphasis in special education. Possible course topics include concepts of learning, curriculums for gifted students, and problem solving techniques. There is a required teaching internship.
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Old Dominion University
Located in Norfolk, Old Dominion University is committed to furthering research in the fields of business, science, education, urban affairs, engineering, technology and the arts. The school's Darden College of Education has achieved international prominence for preparing outstanding educators. There are two education master's degree programs in special education available.
The first special education master's degree program has a general curriculum concentration and helps students learn how to develop and implement teaching plans for students in the general education setting with mild disabilities, grades K through 12. Some topics addressed include behavioral management, language acquisition, reading, instructional technology and human development. The second program has an emphasis on research and includes a variety of courses in cognitive process learning strategies, the characteristics of emotional behavior disorders, characteristics of autism spectrum disorders, and teaching students with severe disabilities.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School||School Type & Setting||Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|University of Virginia||4-year, public; small suburb|| Teacher Education BA/BS-MT focus in Special Education
Master of Teaching: Special Education General Curriculum (Elementary)
Master of Teaching: Special Education Secondary Education
Master of Teaching: Special Education Early Childhood
PhD in Education - Special Education
| $15,192 in-state, $44,365 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$17,094 in-state, $26,892 out-of-state (graduate)*
|Old Dominion University||4-year, public; midsize city|| MS in Education: Special Education (K-12 General Curriculum),
MS in Education: Special Education (Research Emphasis)
|$11,136 in-state, $27,444 out-of-state (graduate)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator