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Master of Education (M.Ed.) Degree Program in Special Education Overview

Majors Overview August 5, 2015

This article talks about Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree programs in Special Education and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and licensure choices.

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

A Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education is available at many 4-year schools. Teachers can enroll into this professional degree program to additionally prepare to teach children who need special education owing to developmental, emotional, or physical conditions. Students with bachelor’s degrees in non-education fields who seek initial certification, may enroll in programs devised exclusively to serve their needs; most programs are for current teachers. Coursework typically includes participation in research, classroom instruction, and practical experience.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree and submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Schools also typically require applicants to have teaching or special education certification.


Students learn the regulations and laws pertaining to education, teaching methods and child development. Many programs allow students to choose concentrations in various aspects of special education, such as deaf education, behavior analysis or visual impairment. Practical training is usually required before graduating from a Master of Education (M.Ed.) program in Special Education. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Classroom management
•Human development
•Educational psychology
•Special education research
•Early education assessment
•Education problems
•Teaching methods
•Education philosophy
•Special education trends

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of six percent has been predicted for special education teaching positions (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The rising demand for special education teachers is due to a new legislation advocating better special education standards. Consequently, more states are likely to mandate that special education teachers hold master’s degrees in special education (BLS).

Job prospects for special education teachers can also vary by a candidate’s experience and location. In May 2012, special education teachers at middle schools brought in an average annual wage of $59,320. Those working at secondary schools netted $60,090, and those in kindergarten and elementary schools banked $56,700 per annum, on average.

Continuing Education and Licensure Choices

All states mandate licensure for special education teachers. Licensure requirements vary by state, but a bachelor’s degree and training from an approved teacher preparation program are typically the minimum needs. Some states offer licensure only to candidates with master’s degrees in special education.

Program graduates may seek continuing education by earning a doctoral degree in special education that emphasizes research and teaching at the university level. Students’ curriculum is often customizable through the choice of a specialty.

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