Teaching is already a noble profession, but the truly special souls are the ones who have a passion for special education. Not only is it rewarding to teach these children skills to succeed in and enjoy life, but a Masters degree in special education essentially guarantees you a job. The best part is there are several top schools around the country with online masters programs for special education. Here are 20 of the best programs available from the comfort of home.
20. University of Southern California
The University of Southern California has a price tag of $1600 per credit, but this lofty number is worth it considering you’re receiving an education from a nationally accredited Tier-1 research university. This special education is 45 credits. 30 of those credits are for the general Master of Arts in Teaching. The other 15 credits are to receive the special education credential. The course list for this program is: “Introduction to Special Education”, “Collaboration, Families, and Case Management”, “Assesment and Curriculum for Students with Disabilities”, “Establishing and Maintaining an Effective Classroom Ecology”, and “Guided practice: Mild to Moderate Disabilities”.
19. University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati University’s special education program takes 30 credits to complete and costs $729 per credit. The total cost of the degree comes to $21,870, which is quite reasonable considering the quality of the education. They have a curriculum designed by professors who have tons of field experience teaching disabled children. They also offer their online students access to a plethora of online resources to stay current on developments in the field. This progressive attitude towards special education is what puts Cincinnati among the best choices for aspiring educators.
18. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech costs $420 per credit, which comes out to $15,120 for the complete 36 credit degree. This university has one of the more diverse special education programs on this list. The areas of emphasis offered online include Visual Disability, Autism, Orientation & Mobility, and Transition. They also have a program to become an Educational Diagnostician. Their job is to diagnose learning disabilities. These highly specialized certifications make Texas Tech Alumni competitive in the job market. The application process requires a Bachelors degree from a regionally credited university at a GPA of 3.0 or higher. It also requires applicants to have taken the GRE exam.
17. Fort Hays State University
The online special education program at Fort Hays State University comes to $251.38 per credit. This totals to $9049.68 for all 36 credits. At under $10,000, this is one of the cheaper masters programs in the country. The special education program is nationally recognized, so graduates usually have no issue finding a job. Their master of science in High-Incidence Special Education provides its students with tools to assist their students that have been devised by faculty with years of hands-on experience. It also focuses heavily on using technology in the classroom to help students reach their educational goals.
16. University of Nebraska -Kearney
Nebraska-Kearney University’s online program was ranked by U.S News and World Report as one of the best online schools in 2015. What makes that impressive is it only costs $308 per credit. This comes to $11,088 total at the end of the 36 credit program, which is quite cheap for a graduate program. The prerequisites for their special education program is a Bachelors degree and a teaching certification. The program is designed for those wishing to get certified in Nebraska, but it is possible to work with academic advisement and set up the certification in your state.
15. Wyoming State University
At $210 per credit, Wyoming State University has the cheapest program on the list. The 34 credit degree comes to a total of $7,140. This is almost unheard of for a graduate degree of this quality. In fact, Wyoming State University was recently ranked 11th in the country for the best value. The requirements for admission are a Bachelors degree with a 3.25 GPA or higher and a Wyoming state teacher certification. There are two tracks for the program. There is the 34 credit plan B path and a 41 credit plan A path, which is more research-based.
14. Arizona State University
The special education program at Arizona State University totals 36 credits and has a total price tag of $27,360. At $760 a credit, Arizona State is average on the price front. The quality of the program, however, makes that price seem like a bargain. Online students get the same degree as on-campus students with the benefit of completing their degree on their schedule. The program sets itself apart from others through its commitment to staying on the cutting edge of new teaching strategies and tweaking the curriculum accordingly.
13. Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University has been ranked on U.S. News and World Report’s list of best graduate schools for education for the fifth consecutive year. This ranking is a testament to the university’s consistent dedication to excellence. At just $379 a credit, it is virtually a steal to get a degree from this top-ranked university. The 36 credit program comes out to just $12,886 total. Acceptance into this program requires a Bachelors degree from a recognized undergraduate program and an undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or higher. An additional prerequisite required for all students is EDIS 5310, which is “Teaching Students with Special Needs”.
12. Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University has one of the most diverse programs on this list. They offer a 30 credit masters in either K-12 or Early Childhood Education. They also offer a 12 credit certificate in Autism and an 18 credit certification program in Applied Behavior Analysis. The cost per credit is $457, which puts the cost of the 30 credit degree at $13,710. Even if you added one of the certifications, you would still be paying less for 42 or 48 credits than you would for most 30 credit programs.
11. Ball State University
Ball State University has a cost per credit of $315. This puts their 36 credit special education degree at $11,340. There are seven different concentrations offered, but some of them are a combination of online and on-campus classes. The disciplines that are all online are Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism, Director of Special Education & Exceptional Needs, and Severe Interventions. The Mild Interventions concentration is all online except for one on-campus class, which may still be doable for those who live in surrounding states. The diversity of Ball State’s special education program benefits alumni immensely when they enter the job market.
10. Florida State University
Florida State University has a total cost of $15,840 for their 33 credit special education program, which breaks down to $480 per credit. This university is on the pricier end of this list, but it’s worth the access to the elite assembly of faculty members in the special education department. 18 credits of this program come in required coursework, and the remaining 15 credits are focused in either Early Childhood Special Education, High Incidence Disabilities, and Severe Disabilities. The final task for every graduate student is a comprehensive exam that covers everything they’ve learned throughout the program.
9. Texas A&M University
The online special education program at Texas A&M is ranked by U.S News & World Report as one of the best programs in the country. The publication also ranks the University as one of the best in terms of value. Their price is $500 per credit, so the 36 credit program comes to a total of $18,000. All of the faculty are professionally certified in online instruction, which means that they’ve perfected the best way to convey information through distance learning. The program also has a nationally recognized set of standards when it comes to technology in the classroom and course design.
8. UNC Charlotte
UNC Charlotte has a price per credit of $229, which makes is one of the cheapest graduate programs in the country. The 39 credit special education program comes to a total cost of only $8931. Their program is broken down into two phases. Phase one is obtaining the 27 credit graduate certificate, in general, special education. Phase two is the 12 credit final seminar. Each student works with an academic advisor to tailor their program to their career goals.
7. University of Florida
The University of Florida was ranked as the 5th best special education program in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 rankings. If you take that into consideration, then the price of $525 per credit is an absolute bargain. When it’s all said and done the 36 credit program comes to a total cost of $18,900. What is great about the University of Florida is their reputation carries weight. Principals around the country are quite aware of the university’s prestigious special education program. They will jump at the chance to hire a U of F graduate to fill any vacancy.
6. University of Kansas
The University of Kansas is consistently near the top of U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of special education programs. In fact, it has recently been hailed the number one public university on that list. You get an education that is better than most tier one schools, and you get it at a fraction of the price. This degree is also accredited by NCATE, which means that you can find a job virtually anywhere in the country. It is amazing that such an elite program only costs $540 per credit. Completing the entire 33 credit degree comes in at $17,820.
5. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The total cost of the 36 credit special education program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is $13,104. That breaks down to just $364 per credit, which is a steal for a university that regularly is ranked in the top 5 for online graduate schools in education by U.S. News and World Report. Online students get all the benefits offered to on-campus students. The 36 credit program is for those who are already certified. The program for those who aren’t certified is 44 credits.
4. Missouri State University
Missouri State University’s 30 credit program comes to a total cost of $10,410, which breaks down to $347 a credit. At that price, Missouri State University offers one of the best values on this list. Missouri, along with many other states, are currently experiencing a shortage of special education teachers. This means graduates of the program are all but guaranteed a job upon graduation. The program’s three emphasis areas are Autism Spectrum Disorder, Orientation & Mobility, and Blindness & Low Vision. An accelerated program is also available for the Autism Spectrom Disorder emphasis.
3. University of Michigan – Dearborn
Michigan-Dearborn University’s special education program has three areas of study. The only option for remote students that is fully online is the Inclusion Specialist certificate. The Emotional Impairments and Learning Disabilities areas of study offer most classes online, but they do require a few on-campus meetings. This is still an option for those willing to visit the beautiful campus for a couple of days. The cost per credit of this 30 credit program is $404. This puts the total at $12,120. It’s a great value, especially for in-state students who can take full advantage of the program’s diversity.
2. Michigan State University
The fact that two Michigan schools make up the top three on this list says a lot about how much they value higher education. This reason alone makes Michigan State University a great place for anyone looking for a degree in special education. The cost of this 30 credit program is $680, which puts the total cost at $20,400. While this is a bit pricier than other schools, the Michigan State brand carries more weight in the job market. The areas of emphasis offered are Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Applied Behavior Analysis.
1. Purdue University
Purdue University has always been a pioneer in online education. Thier “Purdue Online Writing Lab” is used as a reference and teaching tool by students and teachers across the country. It makes sense that they also have the best online special education program. The cost per credit comes to $329, which puts the total for the 30 credit program at $9,870. The standard of excellence of this program can be found in the fact that its graduates have a 100% pass rate on the Indiana state certification exam. The program is tailored to passing this exam, but out-of-state students are always welcome. They just have to coordinate with the state they plan to teach in so the university can tailor the program accordingly.