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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Deaf Education

Majors Overview August 9, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in deaf education and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and licensing and continuing education choices.

Information on Deaf Education Programs

Schools commonly offer deaf education master’s degree programs. Proficiency in American Sign Language and a bachelor’s degree are prerequisite requirements for admission. Schools prefer candidates with a deaf education degree, but may accept students with bachelor’s degrees in other majors, although additional courses may have to be taken by them. Students aspiring to teach in a public school must ensure that teacher licensing requirements of their state are in the program.

Program graduates may be trained to teach school-age students or to work in early intervention, offering help to very young children that are hearing impaired. Students take 1-2 years to complete these programs, varying with the career goals and prior training of the student.

Coursework in a deaf education master’s degree program is designed to provide students with the skills necessary for communicating with American Sign Language and using it in teaching. The principles of teaching school subjects to the hearing impaired and deaf are taught, with special emphasis on teaching language and reading skills. Courses may also include early intervention, working with families, and audiology. Student teaching experiences and completion of a final project are in most programs.

Master’s Programs in Deaf Education

Students gain a grasp of the effects of hearing loss on learning and learn ways of presenting educational materials to the hearing impaired as well as their families. They are taught to impart the appropriate coursework to students with hearing loss in resource rooms, public day schools, and residential schools. Students can choose to pursue a teaching track, thereby preparing for licensure or an early intervention track, where they gain the skills they would need to work with juveniles. Schools offer deaf education programs as a Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Master of Arts (M.A.).

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree; in some programs, they may be required to have completed undergraduate coursework in special, secondary or early childhood education. Applicants may have to provide proof that they know American Sign Language or Cued Speech. Some programs call for the provision of letters of recommendation.


Deaf education program students gain the skills necessary for effective communication with hearing impaired students and optimization of a student’s communication potential. They also learn successful techniques to teach students. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Sign communication
•Language Theories
•Teaching literacy for the hearing impaired
•Speech and hearing science
•Early intervention

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek job opportunities in numerous settings, including state programs, private practices, or public and residential schools. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Speech-language pathologist
•Early intervention specialist
•Special education teacher

Licensing and Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continuing education by pursuing a doctoral degree in deaf education that could lead to careers involving important research or positions in administration or leadership. Doctoral graduates can address complicated problems in hearing impaired education through concentration and research in particular areas, including culture, policy, and politics.

State’s licensure or certification requirements must be completed by the degree program graduate who want to pursue a career as a public school teacher. A certification in special education may also be part of state requirements, apart from credentials in general teaching. Different licensing requirements are applicable to speech-language pathologists.

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