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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Adult Special Education

Majors Overview August 9, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in adult special education and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and certification and continuing education choices.

Information on Adult Special Education Programs

Individuals who aspire to become special education teachers at public schools are required to have a bachelor’s degree (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). They can pursue either a general education degree and minor in adult special education or a baccalaureate degree in special education. Armed with a master’s degree in the field, individuals can seek administrative or leadership roles. Students may gain instruction in specific types of educational disabilities.

Master of Education (M.Ed.) Programs in Special Education

Individuals interested in working with students who have emotional or behavioral disorders or specific learning disabilities could benefit from enrolling into a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education program. Various topics are covered to help candidates with the development and delivery of courses for these special needs students. The focus of many Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education programs is mainly on teaching K-12 students. Individuals keen on teaching special needs adults should pursue programs with specific courses offered in that specialty. The master’s degree with certification is available through some programs, a requirement for teaching in some government-run programs or public schools.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree. In some programs, a recommendation for graduate study from a previous instructor is required to be provided by applicants. Varying by program, evidence of certification in teaching a specific subject, such as English or reading, may also have to be submitted.


Program coursework addresses the needs of special education for adults. The focus of courses is on the legal aspects of instructional competence and special education. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Applied classroom management
•Literacy instruction
•Legal and educational foundations
•Reading for special needs
•Academic interventions for special needs
•Mathematics for special needs
•Research in special education
•Teachings persons with mild disabilities

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of six percent has been predicted for special education teachers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, special education teachers brought in an average annual wage of $55,060 (BLS).

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Licensing is mandatory in all states for those who teach in public schools. Program graduates may seek continuing education by enrolling in a special education doctorate program that could lead to leadership opportunities in colleges, schools, or social services programs.

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