2017 Top Online Schools for Special Education

Scroll down to see the top not-for-profit colleges offering special education degrees online.

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Evaluating Online Special Education Degrees

Thanks to advances in technology, online programs in special education are proliferating. If you’re hoping to earn your initial state teaching license, remember that you will have to take part in practicums (i.e. supervised teaching). Fortunately, they are now hybrid bachelor degrees that combine online courses with fieldwork. Just be sure your program is accredited and approved by the state.

100% online programs are more common at the graduate level. Here you’ll find add-on certificates, MEd programs, EdS programs – the list goes on. Some programs are specifically designed for working teachers; others focus on advanced concentrations (e.g. autism spectrum disorder, applied behavior analysis, assistive technology, etc.).

Worried about quality? Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for:

  • Regional accreditation
  • CAEP/NCATE/TEAC accreditation
  • Meets all state licensing criteria
  • For students interested in initial licensure, the program should arrange local, supervised internships that comply with state requirements
  • High graduate placement rates
  • Same faculty teaching the online and on-campus courses
  • Good “brick and mortar” reputation (e.g. high university rankings, educational research centers, history of being a teaching school, etc.)
  • Dedicated distance learning support services

School Rankings

1

Western Governors University

Western Governors University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education (K-12) and a Master of Science in Special Education (K-12), which can be pursued online. The B.A. leads to teacher licensure and provides graduates with efficient skills to become to become special education instructors for students that have mild to moderate disabilities. The M.S. program is for licensed teachers who already have bachelor's degrees and are interested in becoming special education teachers. These programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students in the B.A. program will take courses exploring teacher education foundations and elementary education methods, and students in the M.S. program will take courses that explore instructional design and research fundamentals.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

2

Ball State University

Ball State University offers a Master of Arts in Special Education, which can be pursued online. It is offered in eight different focus areas: Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism, Deaf Education, Director of Special Education/Exceptional Needs, Early Childhood Special Education, Mild Interventions, Response to Interventions, and Severe Interventions. All of these concentrations include online classes, but the autism, applied behavior analysis, director of exceptional needs, and response to interventions focuses are offered 100 percent online. The program is recognized nationally by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the applied behavioral analysis concentration is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The program can be completed in four or five semesters though most students take five semesters to complete it.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 94.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

20,655 Students

3

National University

Students interested in receiving a California teaching credential in special education can do so while pursuing a Master of Science in Special Education through National University's online degree program. Students must choose from three areas of specialization: deaf and hard of hearing, mild/moderate disabilities, or moderate/severe disabilities. To earn the degree, students must complete 16 or 17 courses. The core requirements are 12 classes covering topics such as language development, equity and diversity, exceptionalities, assessment, and law. A capstone project is included in the core requirements. Students also take four or five courses in their area of specialization. National University also has an online graduate certificate in autism, which requires students to complete four courses.

4

Nova Southeastern University

The Fischler College of Education at Nova Southeastern University has online programs for educators who want a master's degree in special education. The Master of Science in Exceptional Student Education is designed for teachers who are already certified and for individuals in related professions who work with exceptional students but do not require a teaching certificate. The program is flexible, allowing students to devise a curriculum that focuses on a specific disability, such as autism or learning disabilities, or otherwise select courses that meet their professional needs. Out of the 37 credits needed to graduate, 10 are in specified coursework. Students must take part in an applied professional experience and produce a portfolio based on that experience.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

5

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University's online Master of Education in Special Education offers three areas of emphasis: early childhood, disabilities studies, and cross-categorical/high incidence. NAU offers the degree as a continuing professional education program, not as a way for students to obtain certification to teach special education. To earn the degree, candidates must complete at least 30 credits. Students take 12 credits in core classes and 18 credits in the area of emphasis. By taking additional electives, students can also earn graduate certificates in assistive technology, autism spectrum disorders, or positive behavior support. An internship or fieldwork is an optional part of the program. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 92.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

27,705 Students

6

Liberty University

Liberty University offers a Bachelor of Science in Special Education Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education, which can both be pursued entirely online. Both programs approach the subject of education from a Christian perspective. Upon completion of the B.S. degree, students will qualify for a teaching certificate from the Association of Christian Schools. The M.A.T. is meant for students who have no prior teaching experience who want to gain teaching licensure in special education. Both programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students in the B.S. program will take courses like Learning & Behavior Problems, and students in the M.A.T. program will take courses like Principles of Behavior Management.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

7

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University offers a Ed.S. Education Degree Specialist in Special Education online. This is a post-graduate program for special education teachers who already have a Master's degree, and it will prepare teachers for a Special Education Director leadership role. Graduates of the program will be prepared to coordinate and administer learning and activities for special education students. Students in this program will take courses such as Contemporary Issues in American Education, Curriculum Theory and Practice, and Evaluation Education Program and System.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

8

University of Memphis

The University of Memphis offers a Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education degree online. The program leads to Modified Licensure, which is meant for students who wish to teach children with mild disabilities or mild developmental delays. Students in the program must maintain a 3.25 grade point average or higher to stay in the M.A.T. program, and students must take multiple Praxis II exams in order to be fully licensed. Students enrolled in this program may take courses such as Child Psychology Applied to Education, Language & Communication for Inclusive Classrooms, Introduction to Educational Research, and Behavior Management in SPED.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 94.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

21,059 Students

9

St. John's University-New York

St John's University has an online Master of Education in Teaching Children with Disabilities in Childhood Education that qualifies graduates for initial certification in New York as a special education teacher in grades 1 to 6. The 33-credit program is open to students with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. The online program prepares students to work with exceptional students in schools, clinics and early intervention settings. Students complete at least 150 hours of practicum in a variety of settings. Students who complete the program and pass all the tests and experiences required by the state of New York are eligible for New York State initial or professional certification as a teacher of students with disabilities.

Accreditation: Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

10

University of Massachusetts-Boston

The School for Global Inclusion and Social Development in the University of Massachusetts Boston offers an M.Ed. in Vision Studies: Orientation and Mobility, an M.Ed. in Vision Studies: Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, and an M.Ed. in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. These degrees can all be pursued online, and there are no residency requirements in these programs. The goal of these degree programs is to prepare potential educators who are able to work with visually impaired students. In all of these programs, students will take courses such as Implications of Low Vision and Visual Functioning.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

16,756 Students

11

University of Northern Colorado

The School of Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado offers a number of special education degrees online: a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education: K-12 Teaching Emphasis + Special Education Generalist Licensure, a Master of Arts in Special Education, a Master of Arts in Teaching Diverse Learners (including Special Education and CLD Endorsements), a Special Education Ph.D. program, and a number of graduate certificates. The M.A. in Special Education is available in six different concentrations: Intervention Specialist - Academic Coaching or ABA Emphasis, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Emphasis, Early Childhood Emphasis, Gifted & Talented Emphasis, Visual Impairment Emphasis, and Generalist Emphasis. The school is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 93.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,050 Students

12

Saint Joseph's University

Saint Joseph's University offers a Master of Science in Special Education online as well as a variety of stand-alone special education certifications. Most graduates of the program qualify to receive Special Education Certification in Pennsylvania with reciprocity in many other states. The program is offered in two different concentrations: the Autism Endorsement Concentration and the Wilson Reading System Concentration. Graduates of the program often pursue careers as special education teachers, adaptive special education instructors, early intervention specialists, educational diagnosticians, and special education. Students enrolled in the program will take such courses as Current Issues in Special Education: Theoretical Practice and Procedures, Inclusive Classroom Practices, and Design & Technologies for Differentiated Instruction.

13

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota College of Education & Human Development offers a Master of Science in Special Education degree online. The program takes most students a little over a year and a half to complete, and all students pay in-state tuition regardless of where they live. This degree is offered in several specialization areas: Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), Emotional Disturbance (ED), General Special Education, Gifted/Talented (G/T), Intellectual Disabilities (ID), Learning Disabilities (LD), Special Education Strategist (SES), and Visual Impairment. Additionally, a sequence of courses approved for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is available. Students in this program may take such courses as Effective Administrative Communications, Technology and Information Systems, and Special Education Law.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

14

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University offers a Master of Education in Special Education - Assistive Technology Specialization for students to pursue entirely online. The program is available in convenient eight-week sessions, and it consists of 11 courses that take 18 months to complete. The program allows teachers to advance their careers by becoming assistive technology specialists, education leaders, assistive tech coordinators, and more. In this program, students will gain the necessary skills to work effectively with individuals that have special needs as well as their parents, professionals and teachers, and school districts. Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Introduction to Assistive Technology, Assessment Processes for Assistive Technology, and Computer and Technical Applications for Intervention Specialists.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

15

Georgetown College

Georgetown College offers several special education degrees online: a Master's of Education (M.Ed.) with Learning and Behavior Disorders (P-12) Certification, a Master's of Education (M.Ed.) with Moderate & Severe Disabilities (P-12) Certification, a Master's of Education (M.Ed.) with LBD and MSD (P-12) Certification - Rank 2 and 1, a Master's of Education (M.Ed.) with LBD and MSD (P-12) Certification for Initial Certification, a Master's of Education (M.Ed.) with Learning and Behavior Disorders (P-12) Certification for Initial Certification, and a Master's of Education (M.Ed.) with Moderate & Severe Disabilities (P-12) Certification for Initial Certification. All programs are for P-12 teachers who are dedicated to providing high-quality learning experiences and services to students who have various learning and behavioral disorders.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

16

Texas Tech University

The College of Education at Texas Tech University Worldwide eLearning offers a Master of Education in Special Education for students to pursue online. There are seven concentrations for students to choose from: Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis, Deaf Education, Educational Diagnostician, Generic Special Education, Orientation and Mobility, Transition, and Visual Impairment. The program (in all areas of emphasis) is 36 hours, and students enrolled in the program may take such courses as Introduction to Educational Research, the History of Education in the United States, and Cultural Foundations of Education.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 93.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

35,158 Students

17

University of St Thomas

The School of Education and Human Services at the University of St. Thomas offers a Master's Degree in Education with an emphasis in Special Education entirely online. This program requires 36 credit hours of graduate level courses as well as a minimum of two years field experience. Students must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 or higher in the program. Students in the program must take three core courses: Cultural Foundations, Educational Research and Scholarly Writing, and Educational Research Design and Data Analysis.

18

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock University offers several special education degrees online: an Ed.D. in Special Education as well as an M.Ed. in Special Education (with an emphasis in Autism, Grades 7-12, Birth to Grade 8, or Supervision). The doctoral program is meant to help students to become leaders in the field of special education as administrators of special education schools or educators of special education teachers. The M.Ed. program prepares students to be effective special education teachers. The M.Ed. program is exclusively online whereas the doctoral program is a blend of online courses and face-to-face courses during the summer. The curriculum of these programs is aligned with the standards set by Council for Exceptional Children and PA Department of Education competencies.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 94.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,495 Students

19

George Washington University

The Department of Education & Human Development at the George Washington University offers a Master of Arts in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners, which can be pursued online. The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and leads to K-12 certification in special education and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). The program prepares current educators to integrate a knowledge of cultural, language, learning, and social needs of a variety of diverse students with their teaching. This degree program is one of only eight like it in the country, and it is a 33-credit program that can be completed in 1.5 years.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

20

Hofstra University

Hofstra University offers an M.S.Ed. in Special Education: International Perspectives which can be pursued online by educators and related service professionals world-wide. Students in the program focus on special education across several age ranges and a range of disabilities. Students in the program will gain knowledge and skills on early intervention and working with the families, the needs of specific disabilities, evidence-based instructional strategies and practice, and universal design for learning, among other things. The degree program does not lead to New York State Special Education certification. It is a 31-credit program, and it includes coursework in the areas of nature and needs of disability, research, and inclusive education.

Accreditation: Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

21

Morningside College

The Sharon Walker School of Education at Morningside College offers a Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education online with endorsement in Instructional Strategist I: K-8, Instructional Strategist I: 5-12, Instructional Strategist II: K-12 BD/LD, and Instruction Strategist II: K-12 Intellectual Disabilities (MD). This program integrates the areas of technology, reflective thinking, research, and best practices, and it consists of profession foundations core courses like Educational Research and Issues in Education and 28 credits of the special education endorsement, which consists of courses like Diagnostic Teaching of Reading & Practicum, Applied Behavior Analysis, Introduction to Mild/Moderate Disabilities, and Special Education Law.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

22

Fort Hays State University

The Department of Special Education at Fort Hays State University offers a Master of Science in Special Education online. This program is 36 credit hours, and it is fully accredited by the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education as well as the Kansas State Department of Education. Most students can complete this degree in 18-24 months, and the program focuses on best practices, action research, and a case study approach to learning. Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Educational Research, Theories of Exceptionalities and Diversity, Behavior Management in Schools, and Characteristics of Early of Childhood Special Education.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.4

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

13,825 Students

23

The University of West Florida

The University of West Florida offers online programs in special education at the graduate and undergraduate level. The undergraduate program is a degree-completion program that results in a Bachelor of Arts in Exceptional Student Education. The online program covers the 60 credits of coursework normally completed in a student's last two years in college. Students who complete the B.A. are eligible for Florida certification in exceptional student education and elementary education, and they also get ESOL and reading endorsements. The Master of Arts in Exceptional Student Education is a comprehensive program with a 21-credit core and 15 credits in a cognate area such as special education, applied behavior analysis, exceptional and alternative education studies, or pre-K disabilities.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 94.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,602 Students

24

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University offers a Master of Arts in Education in Teacher Leadership - Special Education, which can be pursued online. This program is available in two tracks: Moderate and Severe Disabilities as well as Learning and Behavior Disorders. The Moderate and Severe Disabilities track is meant to develop teacher leaders who will be a positive force in the world of special education while serving those with moderate to severe disabilities. The Learning and Behavior Disorders track is also meant to develop positive teacher leaders who sever students with learning and behavior disorders. Online students will receive the same high quality educational experience of this program as on campus students.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 93.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

20,171 Students

25

University of Toledo

The Judith Herb College of Education at the University of Toledo offers a Master in Special Education, which can be earned entirely online. There are a number of endorsements available such as transition to work endorsement, the Ohio reading endorsement, and preschool special needs endorsement. This program is focused on early childhood special education, and the Judith Herb College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The program consists of 12 hours of foundations core courses, 18 hours of specialty courses in early childhood, and 6 hours of culminating activity, which is a thesis, comprehensive exam, or project.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

26

Niagara University

The College of Education at Niagara University offers a Master of Science in Education - Special Education (either grades 1-6 or grades 7-12) online. The mission of the program is to provide educators with the skills and knowledge to teach students with disabilities. The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The program is 40 credit hours, and it leads to certification in teaching students with disabilities (either grades 1-6 or grades 7-12). Students enrolled in the program will take required foundations courses such as Managing Culturally Responsive Classrooms as well as required advanced courses such as Applied Behavior Analysis. Students are also required to take field courses, supplemental electives, and culminating experience.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

4,015 Students

27

Armstrong State University

The Department of Childhood & Exceptional Student Education at Armstrong State University offers an M.Ed. in Special Education as well as a Special Education Transition Specialist Endorsement entirely online. The M.Ed. program is meant to advance a teacher's skills in becoming a master educator to those with special needs. Graduates of this program are able to upgrade their teaching certificate to the T-5 level of licensure. The highly qualified instructors will help online students to adjust to online courses, and each student is assigned an advisor who will assist him or her. The program consists of 33 credits, and students will be required to take courses such as Educational Research, Career Development and Transition, and Community Based Instruction.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 93.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

7,094 Students

28

East Carolina University

East Carolina University offers a Master of Arts in Education - Special Education, which can be pursued online. This program is only for students who currently hold a North Carolina teaching license. This program is 39 semester hours, and the program is available in four concentrations: Behavioral Emotional Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Learning Disabilities, and Low Incidence Disabilities. Students enrolled in this program will take courses such as Assessment in Special Education, Positive Behavior Intervention & Support, and Instructing Students with Intellectual Disabilities.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

27,511 Students

29

University of South Florida-Main Campus

The College of Education at the University of South Florida offers a Master of Arts in Exceptional Student Education online. The program offers several specializations of learning disabilities, behavior disorders, exceptional student education, and intellectual disabilities. The program is meant for those who have a background in special education, education, or a related field. Each M.A. student must select a specialization area. Students will be required to take core courses such as Management and Motivational Strategies and Working with Families as well as courses within the area of specialization such as Advanced Theories and Practices in Behavior Disorders or Advanced Theories and Practices in Specific Learning Disabilities.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

41,938 Students

30

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University offers a Master of Arts in Special Education - Teacher Leader as well as a Master of Arts in Special Education - Certification, and these degrees can be pursued entirely online. These programs prepare educators to work with students with learning disabilities or behavioral disorders. The Teacher Leader program includes 30 credit hours of study, and the Certification program includes 60 credit hours of study. Students pursuing the Certification track will take courses such as Emotional Disturbance and Behavioral Disorders and Prescriptive and Instructional Methods, and students pursuing the Teacher Leader track will take courses such as Empowerment for Teacher Leadership and Effective Strategies for Improving Students' Classroom Behavior.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

31

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

The Special Education Department at West Chester University offers an M.Ed. in Special Education online with an emphasis in universal design for learning and assistive technologies as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Special Education online. The M.Ed. program will provide students with knowledge of the learner with disabilities, classroom strategies, and appropriate content for learners with disabilities. The program encourages reflection on the art of education, and it consists of 33 credits. Students will take professional education courses such as Methods and Materials of Research in Education, special education core courses such as Legal Issues in Special Education, and an area of concentration in universal design and assistive technology courses such as Integrating Assistive Technology.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

32

University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands offers a Master of Arts in Teaching program with an emphasis in Special Education - Learning & Behavior Disorders (LBD) (P-12) entirely online. This concentration is intended for educators who wish to have a positive impact and make a lasting impression on the lives of students with disabilities and behavior disorders. Students enrolled in this program will take courses such as Teaching Math to Learners with Disabilities, Classroom and Behavior Management for Individuals with Disabilities, Special Education Evaluation, and Reading and Writing Foundations.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

33

Fontbonne University

Fontbonne University offers a Bachelor of Science in Special Education: Paraprofessional Pathways Program and a Master of Arts in Teaching - Special Education: Paraprofessional Pathways program; both of these degrees can be pursued online. The bachelor's degree offers a way for students to earn certification in K-12 mild/moderate cross-categorical for those who are already employed as teacher assistances, paraprofessionals, or other school employees. The M.A.T. program consists of two 16-week courses in the fall and the spring as well as two 10-week courses in the summer. The school is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

34

Virginia Commonwealth University

The School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Master of Education in Special Education that can be pursued entirely online. This program is available in a general education concentration, and it consists of 37 credit hours. This program has a broad focus on concepts of education, development, research, and related disciplines as well as special education so that graduates will be prepared to further their career in this field. It is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Advanced Educational Psychology for Elementary Teachers, Characteristics of Students with High Incidence Disabilities, and Multicultural Perspectives in Education.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

35

University of North Texas

The Educational Psychology department in the College of Education at University of North Texas offers a Master of Education in Special Education with a concentration in Autism Intervention online and a Master of Education in Special Education with Certification as Educational Diagnostician online. The M.Ed. in Special Education with a concentration in Autism Intervention is a one-year program, which is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The Certification as Educational Diagnostician is available on its own for those who have a Master's degree. Students enrolled in these programs will take courses such as Educational Programming for Students with ASD, Educational Research and Evaluation, and Special Education Programs and Practices.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

36,486 Students

36

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The College of Education & Human Sciences at University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a Master of Arts or a Master of Education in Special Education: Mild Moderate Disabilities, a Master of Arts or a Master of Education in Special Education: Early Childhood, and a Master of Arts or a Master of Education in Special Education: Deaf Education, and all of these programs can be pursued online. The deaf education specialization is certified by the Council on Education of the Deaf, and the early childhood specialization reflects the recommended practices of the Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Early Childhood. The mild-moderate disabilities program prepares special education teachers for students (K-6, 7-12, or K-12).

Accreditation: Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

CAG Score 95.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

25,006 Students

37

Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College offers a Master of Education with a concentration in mild to moderate intervention specialist license that can be pursued online. This program prepares students to become teachers of those who have mild to moderate special needs within a K-12 environment. The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and this online program features accelerated courses. The online courses are taught by highly experienced full-time expert faculty, and the program includes the completion of the Common Core and research components that are required for a Master of Education.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

38

Emporia State University

The Department of Elementary Education/Early Childhood/Special Education at Emporia State University offers a Master of Science in Special Education online. The goal of the program is to equip educators to improve the lives of youth with special needs. The program is 36 credit hours, and the curriculum meets the endorsement standards for Early Childhood through Late Childhood (Grades K to 6) as well as Early Adolescence through Late Adolescence (Grades 6 to 12). Students enrolled in the program take such courses as Characteristics of Candidates with Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Seminar in Behavior Management, and Reading Instruction for Diverse Learners.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,114 Students

39

University of Southern California

USC Online offers a graduate-level special education credential that can be completed online. Teachers who hold certification in California can take the program as an independent, stand-alone program. Students who are enrolled in USC's Master of Arts in Teaching program or in the Master of Education in Teacher Leadership program may also earn the special education credential, although it requires them to take additional coursework beyond the standard master's program. The special education credential requires students to complete four courses as well as a three-credit guided practice course, which requires a term teaching in a special education setting. Courses include an introduction to special education, assessment and curriculum for students with disabilities, and creating and maintaining an effective classroom.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

40

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina - Charlotte offers a Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education (K-12) and a Master of Education in Special Education: Academically or Intellectually Gifted, and both degrees can be pursued online. The M.A.T. in Special Education (K-12) is a two-phase 39-hour degree program. In the first phase, students complete a 27-hour graduate certificate (Special Education K-12 General Curriculum or Special Education K-12 Adapted Curriculum), and in the second phase, students complete 12 credit hours that will allow them to complete the master's degree. The M.Ed. in Special Education: Academically or Intellectually Gifted is a 33-hour graduate degree that prepares licensed teachers to use effective instructional practices to extend, enrich, and accelerate the gifted curriculum.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

27,238 Students

41

Oakland University

The School of Education and Human Services at Oakland University offers a Master of Education in Special Education with a Concentration in Emotional Impairment online. This program focuses on the broader concepts of learning among students with emotional or behavioral disorders, and the program is available to teachers and non-teachers alike. Teachers who are seeking the El Teaching Endorsement must complete a practicum as the Michigan Department of Education requires students to complete a minimum of 180 clock hours in a supervised practicum experience. Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Language and Exceptional Children and Youth, Organization/Management of Instruction and Behaviors, and Educational Procedures for Students with El.

Accreditation: Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

42

College of Southern Nevada

The College of Southern Nevada offers an Associate of Arts degree in Special Education online. The program is specifically meant to provide future educators with the first two years of education to become effective special education teachers and/or paraprofessionals. Graduates of the program will be able to understand the dimensions of multicultural education, demonstrate utilization of the latest technology, and have a comprehensive understanding of informal and conventional appraisal techniques within various learning strategies. Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Preparing Teachers to Use Technology, Introduction to Special Education, and Valuing Cultural Diversity.

43

University of West Alabama

The College of Education at the University of West Alabama offers a Master of Education in Special Education Collaborative Teacher K-6 Certification and a Master of Education in Special Education Collaborative Teacher 6-12 Certification. The goal of this program is to equip educators with the experience and the knowledge to improve the lives of children who have special needs. Students in the program must complete a practicum, and those who do not already meet the special education requirement are required to take a general special education survey class. Students enrolled in this program will take courses such as Life Span Development and Learning, Developing Receptive and Expressive Communication Skills, and Characteristics and Strategies for Special Needs Students.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 93.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,989 Students

44

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University has several online options for students who want to teach special education. ODU offers two bachelor degree-completion programs. The Bachelor of Science in Special Education requires students to complete about 40 credits in the major content area and another 42 credits in professional courses and a practicum/internship. The program is open to residents of Virginia and Washington State. The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Adapted Curriculum is another degree-completion program, open only to Virginia residents; it requires about 40 credits in the major and 49 professional and practicum credits. The Master of Science in Special Education is a completely online master's program for fully licensed teachers who reside in Virginia or Washington State.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

24,932 Students

45

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota offers a Master of Arts in Special Education that can be pursued online. There are three options for this program: an M.A. degree in Special Education without licensure, an M.A. degree in Special Education with additional licensure, and an M.A. degree in Special Education with initial licensure. The goal of the program is to help students become more effective educators and to teach diverse learners in better ways. Each student enrolled in the online degree program will receive an iPad that is already loaded with a mobile learning platform. Students enrolled in the program will take courses such as Strategies and Assessment: Learning Disabilities, Characteristics: Learning Disabilities, and Behavior Theories.

Early Childhood

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