How To Earn a Master's Degree in Special Education

Master of Special Education

Earn your Master's Degree in Special Education

Effectively teaching children with disabilities is a gift. A master's in special education could enhance the expertise you'll need to carry out your vocation. To complete your master's in special education you must complete a series of graduate-level courses, engage in practical training and write a thesis paper. You should check the length of time necessary to obtain the degree as this may be flexible to accommodate working professionals.

If you are admitted into a master's in special education degree program without state certification to teach mentally and physically handicapped students, you may have to take additional courses in areas such as educational theory and policy, human development and family studies, and child psychology. Master's in special education degree programs may enable you to specialize in areas such as the teaching of students with autism or the use of assistive technology to enhance the outcomes of students with disabilities. They could also offer you concentrations to enhance your capacity to teach students with disabilities from diverse language and cultural backgrounds.

Career Paths

With a master's degree in special education you may consider jobs in this area and related fields. Some of the positions that may be available for graduates of master's in special education degree programs could be:

Instructional Coordinator - In this position, you would be responsible for reviewing the curricula and teaching standards of school districts and working with teachers and school administrators to enhance teaching techniques and education quality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov/ooh, 2012) expects the number of instructional coordinator positions to increase by 20 percent between 2010 and 2020 as schools focus more on increasing teacher's effectiveness.

School and Career Counselor - After completing a master's degree in special education you could also help students develop the social and professional skills necessary to succeed in school and beyond. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts school and career counselor positions to grow by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020 as the number of students attending school at all levels increases throughout this period (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). You should check the licensing requirements for positions in special education and related fields right away to meet the conditions for these jobs as soon as they become available.

Career Earnings

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, preschool special education teachers earned a national median annual wage of $52,480 in May 2012, significantly higher than the median annual wage of regular preschool teachers, $27,130. Secondary special education teachers, meanwhile, made a slightly higher median annual wage, $56,830, than their preschool counterparts and standard secondary teachers, whose median annual wage stood at $55,050 (bls.gov/oes, 2013). Your salary, however, may vary by school district, experience and other factors.

Sources:

  1. Instructional Coordinators, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm
  2. M.Ed. in Special Education, PSU, http://www.ed.psu.edu/educ/epcse/special-education/programs/masters-degree/m-ed-in-special-education
  3. Master of Science in Special Education, Drexel, http://www.drexel.com/online-degrees/education-degrees/ms-sped/index.aspx
  4. Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
  5. School and Career Counselors, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm
  6. Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
  7. Special Education Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-4
  8. Special Education Teachers, Preschool, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
  9. Special Education Teachers, Secondary School, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm

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