Masters in Special Education

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” No child learns in the same way or at the same pace.

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Karen reads at an eighth grade level, but has trouble with fourth grade math problems. Joey is one of the top athletes in his class, but can’t concentrate long enough to get his schoolwork finished. Emily is first chair flute in the school band, but has trouble reading through her history textbook.

Special education teachers recognize that each child is different, and have the skills necessary to help each individual child develop and grow. Through a master’s program in special education, teachers learn to identify disabilities and design instruction to ensure each child can achieve their expected educational goals.

How can a master’s in special education help me as a teacher?

Graduate classes in special education prepare teachers to work with students with learning disabilities, behavioral disabilities, and mental retardation. They learn the most current and effective teaching methods, and the impact they can have on students and learning.

Organizations for Special Educators

The following organizations give teachers additional resources and insight into special education for further professional development.

Many classes focus on the digital tools available for special education teachers. These allow teachers to identify disabilities easily, implement a learning plan, and also track the progress of each individual student. For example, coursework might help inform teachers how to integrate tools like the Intervention Planner for Behavior into the classroom. Using digital tools, teachers can browse different intervention techniques, record notes, and download customized intervention plans.

One of the main focuses of a master’s in special education program is the strategies and interventions needed to help children learn. Special education teachers learn how every student is different and not every child learns and the same speed. Graduate classes give teachers the tools they need to identify learning disabilities and the strategies used to educate each child. Understanding how to teach subjects in different ways for different students is necessary for educators seeking to improve the learning outcomes of their students.

Special education teachers must understand the importance of working one-on-one or in small groups with children with disabilities. Students with special needs can’t always learn in large classroom settings, so teachers must understand methods of individualized instruction.

Earning a master’s degree in special education also provides teachers the opportunity to network with people in their area or in special education. A graduate degree gives teachers more resources and professional connections to collaborate within their field.

Courses taught in Master’s in Special Education programs
  • Special Education Assessment, Interpretation and Planning

    This type of class focuses on the selection and administration of special education testing, as well as formal testing tools available. Teachers will learn how to plan interventions and lesson plans for different disabilities.
  • Characteristics of Learning Disabilities

    This class is a comprehensive overview of all learning disabilities that special education teachers encounter. Teachers learn what to look for and the challenges these students face.
  • Inclusion Strategies for Special Educators

    These strategies show teachers how to incorporate every special needs child into a regular classroom. Teachers learn how to help students communicate and integrate into a traditional classroom environment.
  • Cognitive Learning and Behavior

    Classes will review cognitive learning and behavior theories. Teachers learn what stepping stones children should be achieving in order to recognize children who are behind.
  • Supervised Practice

    These courses give teachers the chance to practice all of the skills they learned in their graduate course in a supervised capacity.
How will a graduate degree in special education help my students?

Learning the cognitive processes that students with disabilities experience while trying to learn allows teachers to not only learn how to educate them, but to be more empathetic. Special education teachers should be able to see the potential in every child. Graduate school allows teachers to have a complete understanding of each disability, and therefore have the patience and understanding to provide the best possible education.

There’s a famous quote throughout the education world by George Evans, who said, “Every child can learn. Just not on the same day or in the same way.” It’s not that students don’t want to learn, they are just not being taught in a way that they can learn. A graduate degree in special education gives teachers the resources to educate all students in a variety of ways.

For example, some children learn by reading or doing or a combination of both. If a classroom is set up as a lecture and the teacher says, “now do it,” a kinesthetic learner who needs a hands-on approach will have problems learning. Graduate-level classes in special education give teachers the resources they need to teach in a multitude of ways so each child is learning effectively.

Want to know more?

To learn more about what programs are offered in your state, click here.

Schools Offering Accredited Education Programs

Online Learning at Concordia University-Portland


Concordia University-Portland offers several fully online one-year Master of Education (MEd) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (EdD) program. You'll learn new strategies and techniques to amplify your impact in the field of education.



  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: The Inclusive Classroom (SPED)
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies
  • M.Ed. in Career and Technical Education
  • And more...

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.  We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.  We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.

The field of technology is rapidly evolving to meet the growing demands of modern society. For those seeking a future in tech, this means maintaining skills, increasingknowledge and quickly adapting to change. For today’s students, however, successwill require dedication, commitment and access to education specifically designedto meet the demands of this dynamic industry.


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Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017


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Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) offers career relevant bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for working adults and nontraditional learners.

  • The first and only 100% online, fully accredited public university in the United States
  • No set class times or locations
  • Affordable tuition, guaranteed not to increase as long as you are enrolled
  • Accelerated eight-week terms
  • Classes start every month


  • MS - Teaching and Learning


Online Education That Fits Your Life

For 80 years, we’ve been preparing students for career success. We’ve led the wayso that our students can too.

Globally Renowned Purdue to Acquire Kaplan University

Purdue University, one of the nation's most respected universities, will acquire Kaplan University and create a new, nonprofit, public institution within the Purdue system. Pending regulatory approvals, this exciting transition is expected to take place later this year. This change will be seamless—during the transition, you will still be able to enroll at Kaplan University, earn a high-quality education, and meet your educational and career goals.


  • MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
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Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy. We have developed our own online learning environment with the aim of being the most people-focused education experience on the web.


  • Instructional Design & Technology

CTU can help you connect to what matters most: a powerful professional network, faculty who are real-world professionals and innovative technology. And now several CTU degree programs are ranked by U.S. News Best Online Programs for 2015.  Are you in?


  • Doctor of Management – Higher Education Teaching and Learning