Special Education Degrees

Special education refers to the teaching of mentally, physically or psychologically handicapped children whose special requirements cannot be met in a typical classroom. It involves the use of different modes and methods of teaching specifically designed keeping in mind the needs of the handicapped student. Teachers trained in special education are required to play this role. In order to become a special education teacher, you will be required to complete a degree program in this field. Most career opportunities lie in teaching children with disabilities. Those who are patient and enjoy working with children may choose to enter this profession.

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Special Education Degree?

Many schools in the US, such as the University of Phoenix, Michigan State University, Grand Canyon University, and National University, are offering Special Education degrees. Students can enroll in a 4-year long Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Special Education / Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Early Childhood Special Education, a 2 year Master of Arts (M.A) in Special Education, or a 4 to 5 year long Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a concentration in Special Education.

What Are the Requirements to Complete a Special Education Degree?

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education have to complete around 120 credits and students enrolled in the Master of Arts (M.A) in Special Education have to complete around 46 credits. They have to study courses like Characteristics of Emotional & Behavioral Disorders, Characteristics of Physical & Health Disabilities, Special Education Assessment and Interpretation, and Special Education Student Teaching.

How Much Can I Make after Completing a Special Education Degree?

After graduating with a degree in Special Education, students can pursue jobs like Special Education Inclusion Teachers, Learning Support Teachers, Resource Teachers, and Intervention Specialists. Special Education Teachers made an annual median income of $59,780 in May 2018. The same year, there were around 437,200 professionals employed in this field. These figures have been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Special Education Degrees and Programs

There are a number of degrees available for those wishing to learn how to become special education teachers. You can find programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Teacher training, developing curriculums and behavioral management are some of the aspects of a special education degree. Students learn to design and implement different curricula depending on the individual requirements of those who are disabled. They also learn to handle children with different disabilities and manage behavior which is not conducive in a learning environment.

A minimum of an undergraduate degree in special education is required for a teaching job. However those with a Master’s degree in the field are preferred. A PhD degree in special education is useful for someone who wants to work on the administrative side or who wants to carry out research in the field. Some of the programs available in special education include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Special Education
  • BS in Elementary and Special Education
  • Master in Special Education
  • MS in Special Education Teaching
  • Master of Education in Special Education
  • PhD in Special Education Leadership

States also have licensing requirements for those who plan on becoming special education teachers. These requirements may vary from state to state but most require completion of particular coursework and teaching practice under supervision. An examination also needs to be taken in order to gain a teaching license.

Areas of Study in Special Education
A special education program offers courses related to teacher training, curriculum development, counseling and behavioral management. Some of the subjects taught during the course of a program include:

  • Child development
  • Educational psychology
  • Child assessment
  • Behavior support
  • Communication techniques
  • Disabled student instruction

Apart from teaching disabled students in the classroom, special education instructors may also teach life skills and social skills.

Careers in Special Education

Someone with a degree in special education can be employed in a variety of settings which include:

  • Public schools
  • Private schools
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private learning centers
  • Mental health facilities

Special education instructors may work with children, adolescents, teenagers and adults. They can be found in roles such as primary school special education teachers, teachers for the visually or hearing impaired and learning disabilities experts. A degree in special education can also lead to careers as an art and music therapist, speech therapist, school counselor and occupational therapist. A children’s special education teacher can earn between 30,000 to 50,000 US dollars on average.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 1660 0.11 1.26 18.13 37720
Florida 1130 0.14 1.68 17.97 37370
Illinois 960 0.16 1.92 17.9 37240
Texas 760 0.07 0.78 16.62 34570
New York 650 0.07 0.85 20.12 41840

Source: bls.gov

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:How many credits are there in the Master's Degree in Behavior Management?

A:The Masters degree program in Behavior Management has usually about 54 credits. However, this may vary with each institute.

Q:What are the courses offered in the Special Education degree programs?

A:Special Education degree programs concentrate on subjects like educational psychology, child development, child assessment, communication techniques, behavior support, and disabled student instructions.

Q:What are the areas of study of Special Education degrees?

A:The areas of study for Special Education degrees include: * Child development * Educational psychology * Child assessment * Behavior support * Communication techniques * Disabled student instruction

Q:How much can I earn with a Child Special Education degree?

A:You can earn 30,000 to 50,000 US dollars on average with a Child Special Education degree. The earnings increase as the level of education attained increases.

Q:How many credits are there in the Bachelors in Special Education Life Skills degree program?

A:The Bachelors of Special Education degree program has a total of 120 credits.

Q:How many credits are required for a Masters in Special Education Degree program online?

A:The Masters in Special Education degree program has the same amount of credits as the on-campus program.

Q:How to become a Special Education teacher with an Accounting degree?

A:With an Accounting degree you need to have some training of Special Education teaching, a proper Associates or Bachelors degree in the field.

Q:What education is required for someone who wants to become a Special Education Teacher?

A:Teaching is considered as one of the most noble and fulfilling professions of today. Individuals can opt for teaching various levels of education such as primary, secondary, kindergarten, and special education. Special education teaching is a very challenging career, thus it requires students to be equipped with communication skills and qualifications. It is required that students must acquire a minimum bachelor degree in special education, although some states require teachers to attain at least a masters degree in special education. Upon completing the degree program, students must earn teaching licenses by clearing the licensing exam set by the state education board.

Q:Why study a special education degree?

A:A Special Education degree has bright career opportunities since special educators are paid really well within the United States. Special educationists are specially trained instructors and teachers who are taught to teach the physically and mentally challenged children of the society. They need special care, attention, and technique for learning which these professionals can provide.

Q:How many credits to be a special ed teacher?

A:In order to become a special education teacher. students need to have completed graduate level education in respective field. To able to get enrolled in a master level program in the specialization students need to have completed undergrad education in a related field. The Master in Special Education requires students to have completed 35 - 40 credits; however, it depends on a number of factors such as institute and the number of prior courses taken.

Q:Course on Characteristics and Methods : Autism was mentioned when searching for online special ED degree. What is included in this course?

A:The Characteristics and Methods: Autism course is an integral part of the special education curriculum. This course primarily deals with understanding and diagnosing Autism. Students with the help of this program learn about the current issues and the best practices involved in educating students with autism. Students also learn about the current theories on autism and unique needs of the students.

Q:Where should I Study A Special Education Degree if I have just finished high school?

A:Choosing a higher education college is a task that requires careful comparison. If you want to pursue an educational program in teaching special education students then you should opt for a bachelor in special education. This program should be earned form an accredited school that has been approved by the higher education commission. After bachelor degree has been attained you can apply for a teaching license and become a professional teacher.

Q:What are the future prospects of a degree in special education?

A:The future prospects of anyone with a degree in special education are quite bright since education is now a priority for everyone. Professionals with degrees from this discipline are needed in almost every kind of academic set-up where children or adults with special needs are present. If you have this degree you will most likely get employed in: Public schools, Private schools, Correctional facilities, Private learning centers and Mental health facilities and expect to earn between 30,000 to 50,000 US dollars on average per year.

Q:What can I expect to achieve with a bachelors degree in special education?

A:A Bachelor of special education gets to work with children and adults with special needs and are much in demand at the moment. They mostly find employment in public and private schools for children with special needs, correctional facilities and mental health facilities for the mentally disabled. This is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding jobs in the field of education but the most challenging too, since working with visually or hearing impaired people as primary school special education teacher is not an easy feat. These professionals can expect to earn between 30,000 to 50,000 US dollars per year.

Q:What is special education?

A:Federal law regulates special education in most educational jurisdictions. The Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines special education as "Specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability." Special education programs are designed in such a manner to give additional services, specialized programs, and supportive environments to kids with special needs.

Q:Will I develop any skills if I enroll in special education programs?

A:There are a number of skills you will develop I n special education programs. The program focuses on not just theoretical knowledge, but also aims at providing students with practical skills needed in this career. A few important skills you will develop include communication skills, writing skills, analytical skills, assessment skills, problem solving skills, and management skills.

Q:Do online special education certification programs have any special entry requirements?

A:Entry requirements will vary from program to program and college to college. Nevertheless certification programs are really aimed at those who are already in the teaching profession. Therefore for most courses it would be a pre-requisite that you are already teaching. Please contact your preferred colleges for further information for specific requirements, though online course providers are generally flexible.

Q:As I was reading about a handicapped degree online, I came across special education degrees. What are these?

A:A special education degree is a program designed to help students become special education teachers. These are professionals who help teach children with physical or mental disabilities. The program covers a wide range of subjects relevant to teaching methodologies. Special education degree programs can be earned ta associate, bachelor, and master's level.

Q:Can I do Special Education after high school?

A:Yes, you can pursue special education degrees at bachelor or associate level after getting a high school diploma. This field of teaching focuses on children with developmental disabilities or disorders. You must have a bachelor degree at least to qualify for a teaching job in your state. Apart from this, you may also need a license.

Q:Can someone explain to me what is special education?

A:Special education can be defined as academic studies designed for students who have a psychological or physical disability. Degrees with a concentration in special education are offered at various academic levels such as bachelor's in special education, bachelor's of science in special and elementary education, master's of science in special education teaching and doctoral programs in special education teaching.

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