Researching and Preparing for a Special Education Degree
Preparation and training is important to success as a special education teacher. Being drawn into this field says more about your personality than what meets the eye. People that are involved with special education typically have a high desire to make a difference in the lives of children.
Some of the most common traits of special education teachers include patience, a mild mannerism, the ability to calm, creativity, and adaptability. People that are interested in teaching but want to pursue a different path than traditional classroom teacher may find this field to be what they are looking for. Special education often requires teachers to have the ability to lift at least 50 pounds and may require additional training for certain disabilities.
Lamar University offers numerous 100% Online Master of Education degrees within different concentration tracks, including: Special Education, Curriculum & Instruction. Educational Leadership, ESL, School Counseling, and more.
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Arkansas State University offers numerous Online M.Ed. degrees, with nationally recognized and accredited educational degrees at all levels (The College of Education & Behavioral Science is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)) – as well as bachelor completion and professional certifications.
Types of Special Education Degrees
Like most degree programs in education, special education has a wide range of levels for you to choose from. At the very basic level, the certificate program is an option for teachers that have graduated from an educational degree program and wish to have further certification in special education. This option is great for teachers that wish to open themselves up to more professional opportunity or want to broaden their resume.
Associates level degree programs are preferable for students that may want to transition to bachelors programs in the future. This 2-year program introduces students to the basics of special education and sets the stage for higher learning in the future. At the next level, the bachelor’s degree program in special education is the most commonly attained degree program in this discipline.
The standard 4-year bachelors degree provides students with a degree that allows for certification or licensure as a K-12 special education teacher. The curriculum within this degree program focuses on the academic needs of students with disabilities or impairments, as well as the various teaching methods associated with working in special education classrooms.
Students that wish to pursue even higher learning in this field go forward into master level programs, which are great options for students that wish to pursue more profitable careers or for graduates of standard educational degree programs. Partnering your special education degree with a relevant specialization can not only allow you more professional opportunities in the field, but also give you more expertise in certain aspects of special education.
Specializations in Special Education Degrees
Our experts have provided some of the more popular specializations below for you to browse.
- Gifted Education: This specialization focuses on the needs of students with exceptional learning capabilities. If you choose to focus your degree program within this specialty, you can be instructed on how to identify traits of gifted children, assess their abilities and needs, and provide curriculum that is appropriate for their learning level in an effective way.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: As autism spectrum disorders become more prominent in society, it makes sense why this specialization is becoming more popular for special education teachers. ASD can cause a wide range of symptoms in children at school age such as non-verbal tendencies, behavioral difficulties, and several learning and development impairments. Teaching methods that are appropriate for use with children suffering from ASD are taught within this specialty, as well as the broad range of care that children with ASD require.
- Visual Impairments: Upcoming teachers that wish to work with children that are blind or have other visual impairments choose this specialty to assist them with becoming effective and proactive instructors. The use of verbal teaching, sound development, and voice reasoning is taught within this specialty, as well as the implementation of sensory devices such as Braille.
- Early Childhood: Early childhood specializations focus on the special needs of children in grades K-3. If you are studying within this concentration, you will learn techniques and applications that are appropriate and effective for children within this younger age group. Curriculum design for children within this age group is also taught, as well as how to manage behavioral issues and specific disabilities.
- Emotional Disturbance: Children that suffer from different emotional or behavioral disorders require very special attention with an educational environment. If you choose this specialization, you may learn the different techniques associated with working with children with challenging behaviors or those that have minor to serious emotional disabilities. This includes intervention methods, emotion management, and situational preparedness.
Special Needs Teacher Requirements and Curriculum
As with most educational degree programs, there are certain standards that all professionals within this discipline must abide by. The Council for Exceptional Children is an organization that sets these standards and provides information for professionals within this field throughout their career lifetime.
Some of the requirements of special education teachers include obtaining a bachelors degree in a special education field from an accredited degree program, receive training or field experience that includes the application of appropriate pedegogical skills, and participating in a degree program that includes the important core aspects of special education. Having these skills not only allows you to be in line with what is required by most states for licensure, but also may give you the necessary skills to work with fragile children in a way that promotes excellence.
During a standard bachelors degree program, you may see an array of general education courses, as well as the specialty courses required for you to graduate. Our team has researched some of the more popular degree programs in special education to give you a better idea of what to expect throughout your educational experience. Depending on the level of education you are pursuing and any relevant specialties, you could see even more than what is provided here.
Literacy Facilitation for All Learners
This course instructs teachers how to reach learners that have difficulty with reading, writing, or both. The creation of literacy intervention plans may be taught in this class, as well as the assessment, intervention, and follow-up process.
Children with Exceptionalities
Throughout this course, students may learn about the different mental, physical, and emotion disorders that are present within children, as well as the learning difficulties that may be present as a result. Students are introduced to technology as a resource for learning and the involvement of school resources, family, and outside support agencies.
Cost of A Special Education Degree
The cost of an educational degree is one of the most important aspects of making the important decision towards furthering your degree. Some colleges offer 4-year degree programs for under $20,000 for total tuition, while others charge chose to $50,000.
According to some of the costs listed by universities, it is more financially preferred to choose an in-state university or a university that charges a flat rate for students regardless of their place of residence. Our experts looked deep into some special education degree programs to provide you with some estimates on cost. Remember that costs change frequently between universities, so follow-up research is recommended for the colleges you have an interest in.
Auburn University has a highly recommended special education undergraduate degree program for interested learners. The current tuition for attendance to this school is $5,484 per semester, which totals $21,936 for in-state students.
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
The bachelors program at UNL is a great choice for individuals choosing special education for their major. The current program total for this university is $19,297.50 for in-state students. Costs change each semester, so be sure to research any changes prior to enrollment.