Special Education Teacher Schools and Courses
Learn about the different types of special needs students you could work with as a special education teacher. Read on to learn more about schools that offer courses for aspiring special education teachers, and check undergraduate and graduate degree program options.
What You Need to Know
Special education teachers evaluate, diagnose and aid students with disabilities, sometimes called special needs students. These children, from infancy to 21 years of age, may be exceptional ability children, children with physical, visual or hearing disabilities and those who have behavioral issues or learning disabilities, including developmental delays. Special education professionals may work in schools, juvenile correctional facilities or mental health institutions or hospitals.
|Programs||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate, Graduate Certificate|
|Courses||Educational psychology, human development, assessment, research methods|
|Schools||Michigan State University, Indiana University-Purdue University, University of Delaware|
Sources: School websites
What Kinds of Programs Could I Pursue?
You'll find graduate certificate, master's degree and doctoral degree programs in special education available to you. A bachelor's degree program, with or without an additional graduate certificate program, will prepare you for teaching careers in most states. A master's degree program can prepare you for either teaching or administrative careers.
What Courses Will I Take?
In a bachelor's degree program, you may take some courses in methods for teaching reading, assessment, vocational instruction and development of individualized learning programs. If you choose a graduate certificate or master's degree program, your courses might include:
- Family intervention
- Interventions for children with multiple disabilities
- Characteristics of individuals with disabilities
- Social skills
- Classroom management
- Language and literacy assessment
What About Doctoral Programs?
You might consider enrolling in a doctoral degree program if you plan to conduct research, train teachers and help them with professional development, or serve in leadership roles within institutions and professional organizations.
In a doctoral degree program, your research and practical experience might be supplemented by courses in:
- Behavioral analysis
- Research methods for single-subject studies
- Cognitive aspects of reading acquisition
- Quantitative methods
- Qualitative methods
How Do I Choose a School?
Look for programs accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Find out whether the programs you're considering prepare you for the licensing or certification requirements of the state in which you'll teach. If you prefer an online or distance education program, look for schools that offer these options. The following is a short list of schools that offer special education teacher coursework:
- University of Delaware (Newark)
- Western Governors University (Multiple locations)
- University of the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
- Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
- Michigan State University (East Lansing)