(M.Ed.) Degree Tracks

Special Education with a Pre-K to 8 Grade Teaching Certification

This track is for students who presently hold a current Pennsylvania teaching certificate in early childhood, elementary, and middle school, and/or reading specialist.

Qualified and well-educated teachers in special education are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, enrollment for special education students is expected to grow, resulting in a greater need for special education teachers. Jobs in special education will increase by 17 percent within the next decade overall, while employment for preschool, kindergarten, and elementary special education teachers is expected to grow 20-21 percent. The demand for special education services for young children is expected to also rise, because children with special needs are receiving intervention earlier than ever before.

A career as a special education teacher can be full of challenges and rewards. Often teachers in this field experience children with complicated learning needs and severe disabilities. Creating a successful relationship with any student in special education requires expertise, patience, persistence and a desire to continue to learn and stay current as an educator. The coursework within this track is designed to equip teachers with the core competencies and skills that have a practical use in the classroom. In addition students in this track will learn to work as collaborators and leaders in a way that will have a positive and lasting impact on their peers, students, and parents of their students.

Graduate students in this track can expect to learn about: educational leadership; family and community partnerships; effective educational practices that will better meet the needs of individuals with a wide variety of disabilities; and building stronger instructional planning and assessment skills within the classroom. This track also addresses the theoretical and practical impact that socio-cultural variables bring to bear on education and how to create a classroom and school climate that promotes positive behavior from all students.

With a master’s degree, teachers can expect higher salaries and greater opportunity for advancement within their field. According to salaryexpert.com, the national average income for special education teachers in elementary, middle, and secondary ranges from $61,541 to $63,046.

This track requires 39 credits.