What Can I Do with a Master’s Degree in Special Education?

Master's Degree in Special Education?

This master’s degree in special education is intended for individuals who have completed a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree in education or a related discipline. You will get the “Master of Education” credential after completing the program, which typically takes one to two years.

Masters Degree in Special Education

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Topics covered will include medicine, sociology, psychology, and educational theory. The integration of academic knowledge with experience is of utmost importance. Gaining insight into your students’ physical and motor development, emotional psychology, and social growth is central to the Master of Special Needs Education program.

Special assistance is required for the everyday participation of people with impairments or disadvantages from challenging backgrounds. In particular, getting involved in a regular school curriculum might be a significant hassle. To help these communities thrive, you will spend time with them and open doors for them.

Jobs and Careers  for Masters in Special Education

When you get your master’s degree in special education, what further opportunities will open up for you? Many organizations and agencies provide training, services, or advocacy for persons with disabilities; nonetheless, exceptional education instructors make up most of those pursuing online master’s degrees. Many occupations provide opportunities for growth, flexible scheduling, and competitive pay that teachers in public and private schools don’t necessarily have.

One advantage of obtaining a master’s degree in special education online is the increased likelihood of finding fulfilling and purposeful employment outside of traditional educational settings. You may rest easy knowing that you have increased your employment opportunities, regardless of whether you remain a teacher or try something else.

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in special education have many of the same work opportunities as those holding a master’s degree, except that the latter often opens doors to more senior positions. Please examine this material if you are new to special education or are interested in the on-campus dual certification Master of Education program at PennWest California.

Careers with State Agencies

Several agencies around the country provide services to people with disabilities; one such agency is the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PA DHS). Another is the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (O.V.R.). Consulting and case management roles are great alternatives to teaching for those who want to help people with disabilities but don’t feel comfortable in traditional classroom settings. A master’s degree in applied behavior analysis or autistic spectrum disorders (A.S.D.) with a focus on helping people with A.S.D. is highly desirable, as many states are allocating funding for programs that aim to address the unique needs of people with A.S.D.

Careers in Nonprofits

People with disabilities can access various residential and employment programs via charitable organizations. Many organizations collaborate closely with state and local educational institutions. Positions like “program manager” or “program coordinator” at these groups usually pay about the same as a special education teacher. For instance, in 2016, exceptional education instructors made $58,980 on average, while social community service managers made $64,1000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To meet state and federal standards, several nonprofit organizations that provide residential and employment programs have contracts stipulating that staff members must hold a master’s degree in social work, vocational rehabilitation, special education, or a related field. The program manager of some transitional or job-readiness programs must possess a particular education degree. Nonprofit chief executive officers and executive directors often hold master’s degrees in vocational rehabilitation or special education, even though most nonprofit C.E.O.s now have backgrounds in business or finance.

Individuals who have earned their certification in applied behavior analysis have a good chance of finding fulfilling and adaptable work as behavior plan developers, often working as independent contractors for charities or governmental agencies. Nonprofit organizations provide many consulting opportunities for competent people, similar to special education.

Salary and Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that, between 2021 and 2031, the need for exceptional education instructors would rise at a rate of 4%, which is in line with the national average. According to the B.L.S., working with preschool and kindergarten-aged children may provide the most significant career prospects. In May of 2021, exceptional education instructors might expect a median yearly salary of $61,820, according to the B.L.S.

Degree and Licensing Information

Most students pursuing a Master of Science in Special Education degree are already certified teachers who see the need for further training in this area. Nevertheless, some schools welcome people seeking first certification with Bachelor’s degrees in fields other than education. All programs need field experience. However, online courses are an option. The average time commitment for completing a Master of Science in Special Education degree is between 18 and 24 months.

Several jurisdictions provide broad special education licenses that enable educators to deal with students with a wide range of impairments. In contrast, others offer more narrowly focused permits, such as those for autism education. A bachelor’s degree and successful completion of a student teaching component of a teacher preparation program are prerequisites for teaching in any state.


Advanced degrees in special education are available from several institutions. The University of Kansas, for example, has six concentrations in special education, one for low-incidence impairments like blindness and another for high-incidence disabilities like dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. A Master of Science in Special Education program requires extensive field experience with kids in regular classrooms and a capstone project and thesis. The curriculum for Master’s Degrees in Special Education includes:

  • Disabled student instruction
  • Behavior support
  • Communication strategies
  • Life skills instruction


Advanced degrees are tailored to each individual’s needs. It would be best to be careful while selecting a degree program to maximize your time and money investment for professional advancement. Prioritize your objectives. After you’ve decided about your future, it’s time to compare and contrast master’s degrees in special education and teaching with learning disabilities so you can make an informed decision.

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