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What Are The Best Undergrad Special Education Programs?

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Choosing special education as your undergrad major is smart because the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages (NCPS) found that 49 U.S. states have shortages. Special educators are in above-average demand for grades K-12, but Pre-K is experiencing the highest job growth at 7 percent because of an increased focus on early intervention. Special education degrees are ideal for flexible, even-tempered bachelor’s students who find enjoyment mentoring students with mild to severe disabilities. Majors in special education train undergraduates for pedagogical mastery tailoring curricula to each pupil’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). If you’re interested in joining America’s 28,100 teachers of exceptional children, the following undergrad special education programs represent the best of the best.

University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Affiliated with 21 Nobel laureates as a public, land-grant AAU member that’s enrolling 43,338 Badgers along Lake Monona, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is declared America’s third best education school on the U.S. News and World Report. Located atop Bascom Hill, the School of Education at UW-Madison confers a Bachelor of Science in Education for Special Education or Dual Elementary/Special Education. Approved by the Wisconsin DPI and CAEP, the 120-credit degrees provide cross-categorical certification for learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities, and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Other opportunities include working in the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, studying abroad in Argentina, and joining Best Buddies Club.

Learn more about Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Wisconsin – Madison here.

New York University

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Founded in 1831 by Albert Gallatin as a private, nonsectarian League of World Universities member that’s now endowed for $3.4 billion to enroll 50,027 Violets in Lower Manhattan, New York University is ranked America’s 13th best education school by the U.S. News and World Report. The CAEP-accredited Steinhardt School offers two 122-credit Bachelor of Science options for Childhood Special Education (1-6) or Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-2). The NYS Certification degree is directed by Dr. Audrey A. Trainor with courses like classroom assessment atop the liberal arts core. Known for its ASD Nest Support Project and Literacy Clinic, the field-based program immerses undergrads in New York City schools beginning the freshman year.

Learn more about Special Education Degree Programs at New York University here.

Michigan State University

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Ranked 21st among the best education schools by the U.S. News and World Report, Michigan State University is located in East Lansing with 50,543 Spartans studying in 17 research-intensive colleges. Reaffirmed by the CAEP in 2015, the MSU College of Education in Erickson Hall offers a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education that leads to K-12 endorsement in learning disabilities. Participating in the Teachers for a New Era (TNE) initiative, the 59-credit major integrates courses like behavior management, child psychology, and language development. Special education students also gain 1,000 hours of inclusive or self-contained classroom experience in internships and the Global Educators Cohort Program (GECP).

Learn more about Special Education Degree Programs at Michigan State University here.

University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

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Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for America’s 24th top education school, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign operates a $2 billion annual budget as a public, Big Ten RU/VH powerhouse directed by Chancellor Robert J. Jones with 44,087 Fighting Illini. Boasting 100 percent job placement in 2014, the UIUC College of Education grants a Bachelor of Science in Special Education for Learning & Behavior Specialist (LBS I) credentialing. The 125-credit curriculum maps out concentrated coursework like assistive technology and weekly practicum in Chicago Public Schools with disabled youth aged 3-21. Students can also add Bilingual/ESL Endorsement at this CAEP-accredited university.

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Illionis at Urbana = Champaign here.

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

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Endowed for $1.475 billion under Chancellor Ronnie Green as a land-grant RU/VH hub with 25,260 Cornhuskers in “Star City,” the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is named America’s 43rd best education school by the USNWR. At the Barkley Memorial Center, the UNL College of Education & Human Services awards a CAEP-accredited Special Education Major (B.S.) for K-6 or 7-12 endorsement. Requiring a 2.5 GPA, the 120-credit degree also offers specializations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Visual Impairments, or Early Childhood Special Education. Skills are practiced on-site in the Schmoker Reading Center and during semester-long student teaching assignments.

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln here.

University of Utah

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Named the 66th top teacher education school by the USNWR, the University of Utah is organized by President David W. Pershing with 3,421 academic staff and 31,860 Utes on its public, space-grant RU/VH campus in Salt Lake City. Holding CAEP accreditation, the College of Education has a 122-credit B.S. Degree in Special Education for undergrads who pass the PPST Praxis. Five state licensure tracks are offered: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Severe Disabilities, Early Childhood, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, or Blind and Visually Impaired. Majors are immersed in teaching with 100+ practicum hours and senior internships at partnering schools like Valley View Elementary.

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Utah here.

 

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Teacher preparation programs across the U.S. award 99,202 education degrees each year according to Niche. Picking the right one is important to avoid having to transfer later and perhaps sacrifice hard-earned credits. Bachelor’s degrees in special education should be earned at CAEP-accredited providers to ensure state certification. Other factors to consider for a good fit are affordability, academic quality, location, school size, special education practica, and class diversity. More top undergrad special education programs include Syracuse University, Vanderbilt University, University of Maryland-College Park, Ohio State University, and Boston College.

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The 12 Best Special Education Degree Programs

30 Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs

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Getting a master’s in special education online quickly while teaching is an excellent way to advance your education career. Graduate special education programs go beyond the basics of instructing PreK-12 students with disabilities to receive added endorsements. Taking the voluntary step to obtain a master’s can pay off with a 15-30 percent salary bump to the median annual wage of $57,910 in special education. The BLS predicts increased hiring of an additional 28,100 special ed teachers nationwide through 2024, but master’s graduates could also become educational diagnosticians, reading specialists, behavior analysts, ESL teachers, curriculum developers, and school administrators.

We’ve ranked the following 30 Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs to help teachers save time and avoid enormous debt. We began by searching for advanced special education degrees available by distance education in the NCES College Navigator. The 14 pages of results were narrowed based on length. Each degree had to be 36 credits or less with accelerated online courses, transfer availability, or minimal practicum. Preference was given for education schools recognized by the CAEP and Council for Exceptional Children. We then consulted with the U.S. News and Niche online rankings to arrange the fast programs by quality.

Here are our selections for the 30 Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs:

1. University of Florida

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What later would become the University of Florida was originally founded in 1853 as the East Florida Seminary, the first state-supported institution of higher learning in Florida. Since its inception, the school has become one of the leading universities in state, as well as a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the only one in Florida. The Association of American Universities is an association of 62 leading comprehensive research universities – Of all the doctoral degrees awarded in the United States, almost half are awarded by members of the AAU, and 55% of those are in science and engineering.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, engineer, doctoral and professional degrees. In its 164 years, UF has grown from a school of under 200 students to having a student population of more than 50,000; 33,000 of whom are undergraduate. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Florida #1 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs, #14 for top Public Schools, and #50 for National Universities.

The University of Florida’s CAEP-accredited College of Education offers a 30-credit master’s degree through the Online Live Well Program. Special educators choose fast tracks like Dyslexia, Autism, and Disabilities in Society. Students in the Live Well program are required to take four courses designed to increase their knowledge and awareness of those with disabilities and the sociopolitical issues associated with them.  These courses also qualify students a Disabilities in Society Graduate Certificate in addition to their master’s degree.

Tuition: $448/hour (in-state) or $690/hour (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at the University of Florida here.

2. Indiana Wesleyan University

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Founded in 1890 as Marion Normal College, the school was only incorporated in 1919 and began classes in 1920. Today, Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal-arts university of The Wesleyan Church. Located on a 350-acre residential campus in Marion, Indiana; IWU is the largest private college in Indiana as well as being the largest member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) – a higher education association of 180 Christian institutions around the world. To better understand Indiana Wesleyan University, here is the CCCU’s Mission.

“To advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth.”

IWU has a student population of 14,730 (10,187 undergraduate) and a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to 1. As of 2015, 93 percent of Full-time Beginning Undergraduate Students at IWU were receiving financial aid, the average amount being $9,948. As a whole, Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, while many of their programs are nationally accredited by the appropriate agencies. U.S. News and World Report ranks Indiana Wesleyan #27 for Regional Universities Midwest, and Niche ranks IWU as the third best online college in America.

Indiana Wesleyan University grants a quick, 33-credit M.Ed. in Special Education that’s approved by the CAEP and Council for Exceptional Children. The program was designed for teachers seeking initial licensure in special education for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Graduates qualify for Indiana’s Intervention Specialist Mild/Moderate licensure in under two years. Applicants to the program are required to have completed either a three-credit hour course in phonics (with grade requirements) or a passing score on one of four of Indiana’s CORE exams:

  • Early Childhood Generalist Subtest 1: Reading and English Language Arts
  • Elementary Education Generalist Subtest 1: Reading and English Language Arts
  • Reading
  • Exceptional Needs – Mild Intervention: Reading Instruction

Tuition: $462/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Indiana Wesleyan University here.

3. Capella University

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Founded in 1993 by former Tonka CEO Stephen Shank and Dr. Harold Abel, a former president of three universities, the Graduate School of America would go on to become Capella University in 1999. Capella University was established with the goal of bringing higher education to an underserved adult population. Today Capella University offers 52 different degree programs with 149 graduate and undergraduate specializations, and has (since 1993) awarded 68,750 degrees and certificates to over 63,000 alumni.

As of March 2017, Capella University has 38,802 learners enrolled, 89% of whom are part-time. In order to serve that many students, Capella has 1,583 faculty members and faculty administrators; of those, 85% have doctorates. Niche has ranked Capella University as the Seventh Best Online College in America. As a whole, Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), though many of their programs have earned additional accreditation from the appropriate agencies.

Capella’s CAEP-accredited Master of Science in Education in Special Education Teaching program was designed to help instructors learn to effectively teach children with a variety of learning disabilities. The program is part of Capella University’s Education Preparation Provider Unit, and is also accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Teachers take accelerated, 10-week courses and can transfer up to 12 credits for accelerating the 58-quarter credit curriculum. Thanks to Capella’s structure, all classes are offered entirely online, though students will still participate in field exercises, allowing them to put their newly-learned skills to the test in real-life situations.

Tuition: $444/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Capella University here.

4. Michigan State University

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The Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, the forerunner to Michigan State University, was established on February 15, 1855, just 18 years after Michigan became a state. At the time of its founding the college was the first institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture. Located in East Lansing, Michigan, MSU is today a leading research university and frequently ranks among the top 100 universities globally. Michigan State University offers over 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study, as well as over 275 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries on all continents.

Michigan State University is home to some 50,538 students, 39,143 of them undergraduates, and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1. MSU ranks very well both globally and here in the United States. U.S. News and World Report ranks MSU #78 for Best Global Universities, #82 for Best National Universities, #21 for Best Graduate Education Schools (specifically #1 for Secondary Teacher Education), and #8 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs. Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The Master of Arts in Special Education program from Michigan State University’s CAEP-accredited College of Education prepares teachers to advance the quality of education for students with disabilities in K-12 schools. The fully-online program is 30 credits long, though endorsements for Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Learning Disabilities require an additional six credits. While in the MA/ASD program, students can also pursue a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Tuition: $698/credit (in-state) or $1,372/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Michigan State University here.

5. Pennsylvania State University

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Originally chartered in 1855 as one of the nation’s first colleges of agricultural science, Pennsylvania State University has grown to become one of the nation’s top state universities, with 24 campuses spread across Pennsylvania. In 2000, Penn State and the Dickinson School of Law merged, which is why Penn State now has two law schools, Dickinson Law (in Carlisle, Pennsylvania) and Penn State Law (on University Park campus). While Penn State has been offering distance education since 1892, they firmly established their commitment to it in 1998 with the creation of their World Campus, which graduated its first students in 2000, and today serves over 12,000 students.

Across its 24 campuses Pennsylvania State University has an enrollment of over 99,000 students. The Main Campus with a student population of 47,307, has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1, while the World Campus and its student population of 12,242 has a student-to-faculty ratio of only 12 to 1. Penn State World Campus currently offers over 125 accredited graduate degrees, undergraduate degrees, certificates, and minors. Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and many of their individual programs have additional accreditations from the appropriate.

Requiring just 32 credits, the CAEP-accredited Masters in Education in Special Education program from Penn State World Campus is one of the online programs for which Pennsylvania State University earned its U.S. News and World Report ranking of #9 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs. The program heavily focuses on current issues and topics in the field of special education, and allows students to customize their experience by choosing an emphasis in Academic and Behavioral Supports; Applied Behavior Analysis; or Autism. The emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis includes an 18-credit BACB-approved course sequence and can prepare you to sit for the Behavior Analysis Certification Board certification exam.

Tuition: $821/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Pennsylvania State University here.

6. George Washington University

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George Washington University began its life as Columbian College, which was established by an act of congress on February 9, 1821. The school’s name was changed to Columbian University in 1873 and to George Washington University in 1904. With three campuses and 10 schools, the university is not only the largest institution of higher education in Washington DC, it is also one of the largest private employers in D.C. as well. GW has a unique connection to the Peace Corps – For 11 years in a row, GW has been recognized as a top-5 provider of Peace Corps volunteers among medium-size universities. Since the Peace Corps’ founding, over 1200 GW graduates have served.

George Washington University has a student population of 26,212, 11,157 of whom are undergraduates, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 13 to 1. GW is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. U.S. News and World Report ranks George Washington University #56 for Best National Universities, #38 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #16 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs. The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) currently offers 58 programs, 20 of which are online. The GSEHD has a total enrollment of 1,405 students, and 72 full-time faculty members.

The M.A. in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners program from George Washington University’s GSEHD is CAEP-accredited and offered online. The 33-credit program emphasizes theory-to-practice, and employs cutting edge research and practical experience to instill in teachers the skill necessary to ensure the success of students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds as well as those with social or learning disabilities. The program takes just 1.5 years complete and in the end graduates will find themselves qualified for the SPED PRAXIS and ESOL PRAXIS exams.

Tuition: $1,035/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at George Washington University here.

7. Ball State University

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When the Indiana Normal Institute was foreclosed less than 20 years since its founding in 1899, the land and buildings were acquired by Frank C. Ball and his brothers, young New York industrialists who then donated them to the state of Indiana. The new Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division was opened in 1918. In light of the Ball family’s generosity the school was renamed the Ball Teachers College in 1922, and again in 1929 to Ball State Teachers College. It was only in 1965 that the school finally become Ball State University, an acknowledgment of its growth in both size and quality of education.

Since its final name change Ball State has continued its phenomenal trend of growth, now serving a student population of 21,196 and offering seven associate’s, 178 bachelor’s, 99 master’s, 2 specialist, and 16 doctoral degrees in seven academic colleges. Ball State University reaffirmed their accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) on January 14, 2014, and are now accredited through 2023–24. U.S. News and World Report ranks Ball State University #176 for Best National Universities, #101 for Best Graduate Education Schools, #93 for Best Public Schools, and #16 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The Master of Arts in Special Education program from Ball State is recognized by both the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). The 30-credit program can be completed in five semesters, and offers a total of eight focus areas – three blended programs, and five that are fully-online: Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism, Director of Special Education/Exceptional Needs, Response to Interventions, and Severe Interventions.

Tuition: $394/credit (in-state) or $590/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Ball State University here.

8. University of North Texas

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The Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute would eventually grow to become the University of North Texas, one of the nation’s largest public universities and the largest in the North Texas region. Founded in 1890 by Joshua C. Chilton, the school originally had only 70 students and was housed in a rented space above a hardware store in downtown Denton. For over 125 years the university has striven to live up to the words Chilton spoke upon the school’s founding:

“It will be our aim to become leaders in the education of the young men and women of Texas, fitting them to creditably fill the most important positions in business and professional circles. We desire the cooperation of all who believe in higher education and who want to see our state in the very front of intellectual as well as material progress.”

Today, the University of North Texas is home to more than 37,299 students and 1,578 faculty members, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1. UNT has 13 colleges and schools and offers over 200 degree choices. The University of North Texas is accredited to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, while many individual programs are accredited through the appropriate agencies.  U.S. News and World Report ranks UNT #130 for Best Graduate Education Schools, #16 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The online M.Ed. in Special Education program from the University of North Texas allows students to choose between concentrations in Autism Intervention (AI) or Educational Diagnostician (EdDiag) depending on their preference in working with individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or working as an Educational Diagnostician. The CAEP-accredited, 33-credit program can be completed in as little as 15 months. You could begin one summer and graduate the next.

Tuition: $1,400/course

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at the University of North Texas here.

9. Central Michigan University

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Central Michigan University was founded in 1892, and was originally known as the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute. The 31 original students attended classes in teaching, business, and stenography, all of which were held in second-floor rooms over an office in downtown Mount Pleasant. From its humble origins, the school has grown to become one of the largest universities in Michigan, and is one of the 100 largest public universities in the United States. Today, Central Michigan University offers over 200 academic programs, and has 150 study abroad programs in more than 40 countries, as well as having more than 220,000 alumni around the world.

CMU has a student population of 26,825, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 20 to 1. Central Michigan University distributes more than $361 million in financial aid annually; in fact 74% of all undergraduate students at CMU receive some sort of grant or scholarship aid. CMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). U.S. News and World Report ranks Central Michigan University #202 for National Universities, #110 for Top Public Schools, and #29 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

CMU’s online Master of Arts in Special Education program is only available to Michigan educators with a valid Michigan Teaching Certificate and a Special Education Endorsement. The CAEP-accredited program begins with a base of 18 credit-hours’ worth of core courses, students then take additional classes to qualify for endorsements in Autism Spectrum Disorder (SV endorsement) or Learning Disabilities (SM endorsement).

Tuition: $548/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Central Michigan University here.

10. Western Governors University

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Western Governors University was originally incorporated in 1997, but only began accepting students in 1999. Founded with the intention of maximizing the potential for distance learning, five primary themes went into the initial design of the school: Responsiveness to employment and societal needs, a focus on competency-based education, expanding access, cost-effectiveness, and development of a technology infrastructure. A unique aspect of WGU is that as a competency-based school, students have the ability to accelerate and complete their degrees faster, since progress is based on performance rather than time spent in a class.

As an online university, Western Governors University has a student population of 70,504 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 40 to 1. Luckily, each student is assigned a student mentor, someone to serve as a guide and help motivate their mentee during their time in the program. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Niche ranks Western Governors University the 33rd Best Online College in America.

Western Governors University’s Master of Science in Special Education (K-12) program is entirely online and is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). WGU Teachers College is the first exclusively online university to receive National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure. The 31-unit, competency-based program can be completed in as little as 12 months.

Tuition: $2,890/term

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Western Governors University here.

11. Purdue University

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Following Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1862, the Indiana General Assembly voted to participate in the plan. Purdue University was established in 1869, following a donation of $150,000 from John Purdue, $50,000 from Tippecanoe County and 100 acres from local residents. Located in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University is a public research university and is the main campus in the Purdue University System. Purdue University is sometimes referred to as the “Cradle of Astronauts” as 24 Purdue alumni have been selected for space travel, including Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. In all, Purdue alumni have flown on more than one-third of all U.S. manned flights.

Purdue University has a student population of 40,472, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 1. Purdue has been accredited continually since 1913, and is currently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Purdue has more than 400 research laboratories and 116 university-approved research centers and institutes, all in the name of expanding the frontiers of knowledge. U.S. News and World Report ranks Purdue University #90 for Best Global Universities, #60 for Best National Universities, #20 for Top Public Schools, and #35 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Purdue University currently offers an online Master of Science in Education, in a special education program that can be completed in as little as 20 months. The core of the program focuses on mild intervention, and develops the skills necessary to help assist students with learning disabilities, mild developmental disabilities, emotional behavioral disorders, and high functioning autism. The 31-credit master’s only track is designed for those only seeking knowledge in the field of special education. Students intending to pursue licensure have three additional programs available to them.

Tuition: $329/credit (in-state) or $650/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Purdue University here.

12. University of Cincinnati

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The University of Cincinnati can trace its origins back to 1819, with the foundation of Cincinnati College and the Medical College of Ohio. When the University of Cincinnati was established in 1870, it absorbed Cincinnati College and the Medical College of Ohio. In 1906 the university created the first cooperative education program in the world – Cooperative Education is essentially a structured combination of both in-class education and practical work experience. Today, UC is classified as a Research University (Very High Research Activity) by the Carnegie Commission, and offers hundreds of academic programs for students to choose from.

The University of Cincinnati has a student population of 36,042; 25,009 of whom are undergraduates, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 18 to 1. As a whole, UC is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), though many of its individual programs have earned accreditation through their appropriate agencies and organizations. UC is ranked as one of America’s top 25 public research universities by the National Science Foundation. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Cincinnati #135 for Best National Universities, #64 for Top Public Schools, #89 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #43 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The Master of Education in Special Education program from UC can be completed in six semesters/two years. The CAEP-accredited online program consists of 30 semester credits, and aims to give teachers the necessary skills to not only aid special needs students in learning, but to also help improve their quality of life. Students are free to choose from one of four concentrations: Advanced Studies, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Transition to Work, or Behavior Disorders.

Tuition: $724/hour

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at the University of Cincinnati here.

13. Concordia University – St. Paul

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Founded in 1893, Concordia University, St. Paul was established to provide a Christian learning environment for young men preparing to enter the professional ministries of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, the school is part of the Concordia University System. Operated by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Concordia University System is an organization of ten colleges and universities – each of which is named Concordia.

Concordia University, St. Paul is one of the smallest schools on the list, and has a student population of only 4,380, and a student-to-teacher ratio of 16 to 1. Concordia University has been continually accredited since 1967, its most recent reaccreditation occurring in 2008 through the Higher Learning Commission. Niche ranked Concordia, St. Paul the 59th Best Online College in America. U.S. News and World Report ranks Concordia University, St. Paul #103 for Regional Universities Midwest, #81 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, and #113 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Master of Arts in Education – Special Education program from Concordia University holds accreditation for its accelerated, seven-week courses. Students will engage in courses such as: Ethical Issues for Professional Educators, Collaboration in Inclusive Settings, and Collaborative Consult. SPED. The 36 credit-hour program was designed so that students would complete one three credit course every seven weeks. There’s also a 30-credit Master of Arts in Differentiated Instruction online for PK-12 teachers.

Tuition: $395/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Concordia University – St. Paul here.

14. University of Missouri

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The University of Missouri actually has a rather interesting origin. The University came to be when in 1939, 900 citizens of Boone County came together and pledged $117,921 in cash and land to win the bid to locate the new state university in Columbia. Its establishment made it the first public university west of the Mississippi River, and the first in Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase Territory. Today, the University of Missouri awards 25 percent of the bachelor’s degrees from Missouri public universities. MU currently offers over 300 undergraduate degree programs through 19 colleges and schools, as well as 100 master’s degree programs, over 70 doctoral degree programs.

MU has an overall student population of 35,424 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 20 to 1. Amazingly, 92 percent of percent of full-time, ranked faculty at Mizzou hold doctorates or the highest degree in their field. The University of Missouri is a member of the Association of American Universities, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). U.S. News and World Report ranks Mizzou #111 for Best National Universities, #51 for Top Public Schools, #43 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #61 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The University of Missouri’s CAEP-accredited College of Education offers a 30-credit Master of Education in Special Education with an emphasis on Early Childhood Special Education. The program is delivered completely online, with no required campus visits. Students typically finish the program within two-years, during which time they learn from the program’s specific emphasis on:

  • Assessment methods
  • Creating inclusive classrooms
  • Curriculum development and implementation
  • Language and early literacy development
  • Research-based intervention strategies
  • Problem behavior and positive behavioral supports

Tuition: $12,225 total

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at the University of Missouri here.

15. Florida International University

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Founded in 1965, Florida International University only truly began its life in 1969, as an abandoned airfield. FIU founding president Chuck Perry gathered three men to help him forge his vision into a reality, Butler Waugh, Donald McDowell and Nick Sileo. Set in an abandoned air traffic controller’ tower, which had no phones, no drinkable water and no furniture, it was decided that the tower should never be destroyed. From an abandoned airfield, Florida International University has grown into one of the largest universities in the United States, and at the heart of the campus there still sits an air traffic controller tower, FIU’s Ivory Tower.

Today, Florida International University belongs to the State University System of Florida and has a student population of 49,702, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 25 to 1. To date, FIU has collectively graduated almost 200,000 alumni, and currently offers over 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, as well as a plethora of fully-online programs. U.S. News and World Report ranks FIU #161 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #66 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs. Florida International University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), in addition, FIU’s College of Education is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The CAEP-accredited Online Master of Science in Special Education: Autism Endorsement program from Florida International University focuses on providing teachers with the knowledge and skills to support and educate learners on the autism spectrum. The 36-credit hour program includes courses like: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners, Instructional Technology, and Working with Families of Students with Disabilities through Collaborative Approaches. The program is designed for students to enroll in four courses (12 credits) per semester, completing two courses each eight-week term in the semester.

Tuition: $18,300 total

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Florida International University here.

16. Walden University

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Walden University was founded in 1970 by teachers Bernie and Rita Turner, under the shared vision of a new kind of institution for higher education; an institution that allowed professionals to continue working while earning a degree. In 1979 the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating board approved Walden for licensure, allowing them to grant PhDs and EdDs in the state of Minnesota. Today, Walden University consists of five colleges: The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, the College of Management and Technology, the College of Health Sciences, the Barbara Solomon School of social work and human services, and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, which between them offers 167 programs for students to select from.

Walden University has a student population of 52,799 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 18 to 1. Niche ranks Walden as the 73rd Best Online College in America. Walden University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990, with its most recent reaccreditation occurring in 2013. Many of Walden’s individual programs are further accredited by the appropriate agencies for the field.

For those interested in pursuing a special education major, Walden currently offers a Master of Science in Education – Special Education (Non-Licensure) (Grades K-12) program. The program spans 30 credit hours and is offered through the CAEP-accredited Riley College of Education. Teachers develop their ePortfolio with courses like behavior intervention and adapted curriculum in only 12 months.

Tuition: $570/hour

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Walden University here.

17. Old Dominion University

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Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion was originally founded in 1930 by the College of William and Mary. Established as an extension William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, Old Dominion began as a two-year school for teachers and engineers. Following continued growth, the school was awarded its independence in 1962 and became Old Dominion College, and later Old Dominion University. Today, Old Dominion University has six colleges: Arts and Letters, Business and Public Administration, Education, Engineering and Technology, Health Sciences and Sciences; and offers 73 bachelor’s, 43 master’s, 22 doctoral, and two education specialist programs, including 100 online programs that are offered through ODU Online.

Old Dominion has a student population of 24,672 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 19 to 1. ODU has more than 140,000 alumni in all 50 states and 69 countries; additionally Old Dominion has the second largest percentage of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health (STEM-H) graduates in Virginia. Old Dominion is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Special Education program is further accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). US News and World Report ranks Old Dominion University #210 for National Universities, #118 for Top Public Schools, #112 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #77 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The Master of Science in Education – Special Education program from Old Dominion University is online and is offered through the CAEP-accredited Darden College of Education. The 30-credit program focuses on research, advanced instructional strategies, and the foundations of special education leadership. Aligned to CEC standards, the accelerated program suits fully licensed teachers in Virginia or Washington. Furthermore, the advanced competencies can qualify as prerequisite course work to the PhD concentration in special education.

Tuition: $496/credit (in-state) or $538/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Old Dominion University here.

18. Lamar University

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Founded in 1923 as South Park Junior College, the school would enroll 125 students in its first fall semester. The school’s name was changed to Lamar College in 1932, in honor of Mirabeau B. Lamar, second president of the Republic of Texas and the “Father of Education” in Texas. In 1951 Lamar became the first junior college in Texas to make the transition to a state-supported four-year institution, its name altered to Lamar State College of Technology to reflect the change. Following the introduction of its first doctoral program in 1970, Lamar became Lamar University in 1971, and later joined the Texas State University System in 1995.

Today, Lamar University offers 96 undergraduate, 50 master’s, and eight doctoral degree programs across 7 colleges: The College of Arts and Sciences Majors, the College of Engineering, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the College of Business Majors, the College of Education and Human Development Majors, the College of Graduate Studies, and the Reaud Honors College. LU has a student population of 14,965 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 19 to 1. Lamar University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctorate degrees. U.S. News and World Report ranks Lamar University #77 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The Online Master of Education in Special Education program from Lamar University is offered through the CAEP-accredited College of Education & Human Development. The 36-credit hour course can be completed in as few as 18 months. The five-week courses span from psychoeducational evaluation to school law for advanced SPED endorsements.

Tuition: $275/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Lamar University here.

19. Ashford University

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Ashford University was originally founded in 1918 as Mount St. Clare College, a junior college for women. Established by the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa, the school was first accredited in 1950 by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and was awarded approval to award baccalaureate degrees in 1979. In 2002, Mount St. Clare College became The Franciscan University, and conferred its first master’s degrees in 2004. The university was acquired by the Higher education organization Bridgepoint Education, Inc. in 2005, and the school was renamed Ashford University.

Ashford University has a student population of 42,452 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 13 to 1. Niche ranks Ashford University as the 90th Best Test Optional University College in America, and the 77th Best Online College in America. Today, Ashford University consists of four colleges: The Forbes School of Business & Technology, the College of Education, the College of Health, Human Services, and Science, and the College of Liberal Arts – and offers over 60 degree programs between them. Ashford University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

The online Master of Arts in Special Education program from Ashford University is not CAEP-accredited. The 30-credit program combines theory and application through rigorous and coursework and practice. The six-week courses have 24/7 tech support, and instill the skills necessary for teachers to better develop learning and behavioral interventions, and ways to provide special education students with the means to reach their utmost potential.

Tuition: $452/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Ashford University here.

20. Eastern Kentucky University

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In 1906, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted legislation that would establish the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School. In 1922 the school became a four-year institution, promptly changing its name to the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College. While the school conferred its first degrees in 1925, it wouldn’t be until 1928 that the school would be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Following another two name-changes in 1930 and again in 1948, the Eastern finally came to be known as Eastern Kentucky University in 1966; to go along with this final change the university was given permission to award graduate degrees in academic fields other than education.

Today, Eastern Kentucky University has a student population of 16,844 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1. EKU maintains six campuses between three regions, with Hazard and Manchester in the EKU East Region, Danville and Lancaster in the EKU Central Region, and Corbin and Somerset in the EKU South Region. Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). U.S. World and News Report ranks EKU #29 for Top Public Schools, #79 for Regional Universities South, and #92 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Eastern Kentucky University’s, CAEP-accredited Master of Arts in Special Education program comes in a variety of manners. Whichever specialization you decide to pursue: Early Childhood, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, or Learning and Behavior Disorders, each program has specific options that can affect both credit requirements and certification upon completion. While a master’s advanced study course consists of only 30 credit hours, the master’s, plus certification, adds between six and 12 extra credit hours.

Tuition: $500/hour

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Eastern Kentucky University here.

21. California Baptist University

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Founded in 1950 as the California Baptist College, the school began with 42 students in fall 1950; 120 were enrolled during the 1950-51 academic year. In 1954, eight students became the first to earn undergraduate degrees from California Baptist College. By 1955 the school’s continued growth necessitated a move to larger facilities in Riverside, California. Today, California Baptist University stands as a private, Christian, liberal arts university with 11 schools and colleges that offer 75 bachelor programs, including 159 concentrations and 50 minors; 30 master’s degree programs, with 46 concentrations; and two doctoral programs.

California Baptist University has a student population of 8,541 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 18 to 1. As a whole, CBU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), though many of the CBU’s various schools and programs hold accreditation or membership with organizations related to their particular disciplines. Likely in reference to their style of Spanish architecture, Niche has ranked California Baptist University 6th for Best College Campuses in America. U.S. News and World Report ranks CBU #37 for Regional Universities West, #21 for Best Colleges for Veterans, and #101 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), California Baptist University’s Dr. Bonnie G. Metcalf School of Education currently offers an online Master of Science in Education with a Specialization in Disability Studies Program. Designed for professionals with an interest in serving those with disabilities, the 30-credit program can be completed in as little as 12 months, and should prepare graduates to provide leadership in disability ministries as well as helping to integrate of persons with disabilities into local churches.

Tuition: $615/unit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Calfornia Baptist University here.

22. Boise State University

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Founded in 1932 by the Episcopal Church, Boise Junior College went on to earn its independence a mere two years after its establishment. With their introduction of baccalaureate degrees, the school became a four-year college in 1965, and entered the state system of higher education in 1969, resulting in a name change to Boise State College. In 1974, BSC was officially awarded university status, and its named changed one final time to Boise State University. Today, Boise State is designated as a doctoral research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Boise State University has a student population of 22,086 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1; 7,380 (33 percent) of those students are taking at least one online course. BSU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), and many of its academic programs have special accreditation from organizations related to those fields.  U.S. News and World Report ranks Boise State University #57 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #101 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Boise State University’s CAEP-accredited College of Education grants a fully online Master’s in Teaching for Special Education or Early Childhood Intervention. Admitting cohorts each July, these 36-credit online degrees take just four semesters to complete, and focus on collaboration and teamwork in classroom and clinical settings.Completion of the program enables you for initial licensure in special education K-12 (SPED) or Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education (ECE/ECSE) with the Idaho State Department of Education.

Tuition: $305/credit (in-state) or $600/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Boise State University here.

23. Brandman University

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Established in 1958 by Chapman University, the Chapman University College was created to provide quality education to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Though now a separate university, Brandman has maintained its military-friendly attitude while having expanded to encompass adult learners as well. Still part of the Chapman University System, Brandman University stands today as a private, non-profit university that seeks to provide higher education to working adults.

Brandman University has a student population of 8,004 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1. With 26 locations across California and Washington, Brandman University and its more than 50 accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees are readily available to those looking to expand their education. Brandman University is accredited by the WSCUC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).  U.S. News and World Report ranks Brandman #101 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Brandman University’s CAEP-accredited School of Education currently offers a fully online Master of Arts in Special Education program with five unique concentrations: Emphasis in Teaching and Learning, Advanced Methodology, Autism, Behavior Analysis, or Early Childhood. Whichever concentration you decide upon, the program is divided into two sections, an 18-credit core block that includes courses like: Advanced Assessment and Program Evaluation in Special Education, Research and Evaluation Methods, and Collaborative and Cooperative Teaching – and a concentration block that varies in length, from 12 to 18 credits.

Tuition: $620/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Brandman University here.

24. Indiana State University

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The Indiana State Normal School was established in 1865 with the goal of providing education to elementary and high school teachers. Indiana State University still celebrates January 6th as Founders Day, the day in which 23 students presented themselves to a faculty of three on the first day of classes at the Indiana State Normal School. The school awarded its first baccalaureate degrees in 1908, and its first master’s degrees in 1928, which precipitated a change of name to Indiana State Teachers College. As the school continued to grow and expand its focus it was renamed twice more, once in 1961 to Indiana State College, and finally to Indiana State University in 1965.

ISU has a student population of 13,584 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 20 to 1. Today, Indiana State University offers more than 100 undergraduate majors, over 75 graduate programs, including master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 30 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered entirely online. Indiana State University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1915; in addition, many of its programs are accredited by specialized agencies and organizations. U.S. News and World Report ranks ISU #156 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #113 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education currently offers an online Master of Science in Special Education program. The CAEP-accredited program allows for tailoring depending on a student’s prior licensure, and experience. Those looking to add a special education teaching license to an existing teaching license are required to only complete 30 credits of coursework, and can complete the program in as little as 12 months. Alternatively, there is a 39-credit hour program that can be completed in 14 months of full-time study.

Tuition: $396/credit (in-state) and $499/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Indiana State University here.

25. George Mason University

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Founded in 1949 as a branch of the University of Virginia, the Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia obtained its independence in 1972 and was summarily renamed George Mason University.  Today, George Mason University has three campuses: in Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William Counties in Virginia and an international campus in Songdo, Korea. Mason is the largest public research university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Fairfax campus alone consists of over 677 wooded acres and its residential areas are home to more than 6,000 students.

Mason has a total student population of 33,929; 23,066 are undergraduates. The school also has a student-to-faculty ratio of only 16 to 1. George Mason University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Mason ranks very well among various institutions, Forbes ranks Mason #64 in Public Colleges and #111 in Best Value Colleges. Niche has ranked it 94th for Best Colleges for Education in America, 85th for Top Public Universities in America, and #76 for Best Big Colleges in America. U.S. News and World Report ranks Mason #143 for National Universities, #14 for Most Innovative Schools, #62 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #123 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

George Mason University’s College of Education currently offers a Masters of Education in Special Education with Emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis program. The program consists of three credit requirements, totaling between 30 and 42 credits: 18 credits ABA courses, 12 credits MEd courses, 15 credits optional practicum. Since practicum is optional, the 30-credit degree leads to BACB certification in one year.

Tuition: $563/credit (in-state) or $763/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at George Mason University here.

26. University of Minnesota

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Originally founded as a preparatory school in 1851, seven years before the territory of Minnesota became a state, the school was forced to close its doors during the Civil War due to financial difficulties. Thankfully, John Sargent Pillsbury, University regent, state senator, and governor, used what pull he had to establish the school as the recipient of the Morrill Land-Grant Act. As the state’s land-grant institution, the University of Minnesota soon began to flourish, awarding its first bachelor of arts degrees in 1873, and its first doctor of philosophy degree in 1888. Over the years the University of Minnesota has added four new campuses: the Duluth campus in 1947; the Morris campus in 1960; the Crookston campus in 1966; and the Rochester campus in 2006.

Today, the University of Minnesota consists of 19 colleges and schools, and has a total student population of 50,678 – with a student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1. While the Twin Cities campus has been continually accredited since 1913, all campuses of the University of Minnesota operate with the accreditation of the Higher Learning Commission. Each campus is accredited to award bachelor’s degrees, while only the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses are accredited to offer master’s degrees, and only the Twin Cities campus is accredited to grant doctoral and professional degrees. U.S. News and World Report ranks UMN #38 for Best Global Universities, #71 for National Universities, #26 (tied) for Top Public Schools, #21 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #123 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota currently offers an online Master of Education in Special Education program and teacher licensures. The CAEP-accredited program teaches students to use the IDEAL Problem-Solving Model in special education. A minimum of 30 credits are required for completion of the M.Ed. degree. The program has numerous options, allowing students to choose between various single or dual programs. Depending on the licensure you choose, an additional 12.5 – 31 credits may be required.

Tuition: $676/credit (in-state) or $1,046/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at the University of Minnesota here.

27. University of Kansas

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The University of Kansas was founded on March 21, 1865. Located in Lawrence, Kansas, the university is one of 62 members of the Association of American Universities. Since its founding, the University of Kansas has grown to encompass five campuses: the Lawrence Campus, the Medical Center Campus in Kansas City, The Wichita Campus, the Salina Campus, and the Edwards campus. Between the five campuses KU has a total of 13 schools, including the only schools of pharmacy and medicine in the state, and offers more than 370 degree programs.

Today, the University of Kansas is a major public research and teaching institution, and has a total student population of 27,259 with a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1. The University of Kansas has been continuously accredited since 1913, and is currently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Forbes ranks the KU #71 for Top Public Colleges. U.S. News and World Report ranks Kansas #118 for National Universities, #56 for Top Public Schools, #17 for Best Graduate Education Schools, and #136 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The University of Kansas School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Standards through the CAEP Accreditation System. With their most recent reaccreditation, as of 2015, the school is accredited through 2021. The Master’s in Education – Special Education program from the University of Kansas features accelerated, eight-week courses in two concentrations: Autism or Secondary Special Ed and Transition.

Tuition: $575/hour

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at the University of Kansas here.

28. University of Texas of the Permian Basin

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Authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1969, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin was officially founded in 1973. Between 1973 and 1991 UT Permian Basin only offered junior, senior, and graduate-level courses, though this changed to a more traditional curriculum in 1991 when Permian Basin became a four-year university. The change from an upper-level institution to a four-year campus allowed students to complete their education requirements without having to leave Permian Basin. An interesting fact is that the majority of Permian Basin students work part-time or full-time, and as a result many upper-level and graduate courses now are offered with scheduling options like evening hours, distance education, or weekend programs.

UT Permian Basin has a relatively small student population of only 6,077, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 20 to 1. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Many of the university’s programs and schools are accredited by specialized organizations, such as the Educator Certification Program and its accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). U.S. News and World Report ranks UT Permian Basin #93 for Regional Universities West, #37 for Top Public Schools, and #136 (tied) for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The Master of Arts in Special Education program from University of Texas Permian Basin is offered entirely online. The 33-credit hour program is accredited by the CAEP, the CEC, and the SBEC and can allow you to earn your Master’s degree in just 12 months with eight-week, online courses. Every course taught in the online program is taught by the same teachers that instruct on campus, and the flexible curriculum can be tailored towards specialization in Autism or Developmental Disabilities.

Tuition: $261/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin here.

29. Liberty University

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Founded in 1971 as Lynchburg Baptist College, the school came about due to a challenge from Pastor Jerry Falwell Sr. Falwell challenged his congregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church to establish a Christian college whose students would “go out in all walks of life to impact this world for God.” The name of the school was changed to Liberty Baptist College in 1976. By 1985 the school was fully accredited and had changed its name to Liberty University when it obtained university status in 1984. Following the death of Jerry Falwell Sr. in 2007, his son Jerry Falwell Jr. took over as president of the university.

In its 46 years in operation, Liberty University has grown to become the fifth largest university in the United States, and the world’s largest Christian university. Today, Liberty University has a student population of 80,494; 49,863 are undergraduates, and they can boast of a student-to-faculty ratio of only 18 to 1. Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Niche ranks Liberty University 1st for Most Conservative University in America, and 3rd for Best College Campuses in America. U.S. News and World Report ranks Liberty University #174 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The Master of Arts in Teaching – Special Education program from Liberty University’s CAEP-accredited School of Education is delivered in a format that requires students to be on campus from time to time. Note that the program cannot be completed entirely online. The 36-credit Online M.A.T. in Special Education is designed specifically for those who have no prior teaching experience, and are interested in initial teaching licensure in special education. The program welcomes up to 13 transfer credits for acceleration toward the inclusive student teaching internship.

Tuition: $565/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Liberty University here.

30. Florida Atlantic University

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In order to meet the growing educational demands in South Florida, the state legislature authorized the establishment of a new university in Boca Raton. From its earliest stages, Florida Atlantic University was envisioned as the herald of a new generation of universities, institutions that would eschew the traditional trappings of established universities and invent new and better ways of making higher education available to any who sought it. FAU officially opened in 1964, in fact it was Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States, who declared the university open. President Johnson firmly believed in the idea of FAU as a revolutionary force in the world of academia; in his dedication he said that America had entered an era “when education is no longer only for the sons of the rich, but for all who can qualify.”

Today, Florida Atlantic University offers over 180 degree programs through its 10 colleges. FAU has over 149,412 living alumni, and a current student population of 30,380, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23A to 1. As a whole FAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), though many of its colleges and academic programs within those colleges are colleges are also accredited by field-specific organizations and associations. Forbes ranks Florida Atlantic University #196 in Public Colleges, and #208 in Research Universities. U.S. News and World Report ranks FAU #193 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The Master’s in Education in Exceptional Student Education from Florida Atlantic University is offered with several areas of concentration: Instructional Practices in ESE, Gifted Education, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Early Childhood, Reading, Applied Behavior Analysis, or Professional Development. FAU’s CAEP-accredited program has a 36-credit hour minimum requirement, this includes College and Department Core, as well as the student’s choice of a concentration area.

Tuition: $369/hour (in-state) or $1,024/hour (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Special Education Master’s Degree Programs at Florida Atlantic University here.

The Top 20 Online PhD in Special Education Degree Programs

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The Census Bureau reports that only 1.68 percent of U.S. adults over age 25 have finished a terminal doctorate degree. Attending graduate school for a PhD in Special Education can set you apart in the teaching field with top-level knowledge of childhood disabilities. Doctoral programs in special education develop the research and pedagogical skills required to adapt Common Core curriculum. Earning a doctorate in education leads to mean lifetime earnings at $2.80 million, which is significantly higher than the master’s-level average of $2.26 million. Advanced training can unlock jobs like special education administrator, educational diagnostician, applied behavior analyst, assistive technology specialist, and early intervention director. Some PhD graduates become tenured college faculty to train tomorrow’s special educators.

Thanks to digital technology, finishing your doctorate can happen wholly online too. We’ve devoted the following article to the Top 20 Online PhD in Special Education Degree Programs nationwide. We aligned our order with the U.S. News and World Report rankings for the best graduate online education offerings. Next, we narrowed down the list to universities offering doctoral concentrations for special education teachers primarily online. Strong preference was given to programs recognized by the Council on Accreditation of Teacher Preparation (CAEP) and/or Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Other factors we considered were post-grad enrollment, curriculum model, academic rigor, teacher licensing, financial aid, dissertation support, and flexibility.

Here are our selections for the Top 20 Online PhD in Special Education Degree Programs:

1. University of Buffalo-SUNY

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Endowed for $619.3 million, the University of Buffalo-SUNY is a flagship public, sea-grant and space-grant RU/VH doctoral institution with over 9,800 post-grad Bulls studying in New York’s Southern Tier and online. The U.S. News recognized UB for the10th best online graduate education programs nationwide. With CAEP approval, the Graduate School of Education confers a 72-credit PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning online with research clusters like Spatial Literacy and Special Education.

Learn more about the Online PhD In Special Education Program at the University of Buffalo – SUNY here.

2. St. John’s University

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Headquartered on Utopia Parkway in Queens, St. John’s University is a private, nonprofit Catholic NAICU member endowed for $644 million that’s upholding Vincentian values to educate over 5,600 post-graduates on-site and online. The U.S. News distinguished SJU for America’s 22nd best online graduate education degrees. Special educators with current NYSED certification could enter the CAEP-accredited School of Education to pursue the 42-credit PhD in Literacy for Diverse and At-Risk Learners online.

Learn more about the Online PhD In Special Education Program at St. John’s University here.

3. University of Colorado – Denver

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Attracting over 18,000 students and $375 million in research funding, the University of Colorado-Denver is a public, land-grant RU/H institution created in 1912 that’s offering courses at the Auraria Campus, Anschutz Medical Campus, and online. According to the U.S. News, UC-Denver houses the country’s 47th best online graduate education programs. The CAEP-accredited School of Education grants its 75-credit PhD in Education and Human Development in seven concentrations, including Early Childhood Special Education, online.

Learn more about the Online PhD In Special Education Program at the University of Colorado – Denver here.

4. University of Pittsburgh

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Classified as a public, doctoral-granting RU/VH institution with a community impact of $1.7 billion, the University of Pittsburgh has grown since 1787 to enroll more than 9,800 post-grad Panthers on its 132-acre urban campus in Oakland and online. The U.S. News honored Pitt for awarding the United States’ 47th best online graduate education degrees. Aligned to CAEP guidelines, the three-year, part-time EdD in Special Education offers hybrid online courses with specializations like Autism and Early Intervention.

Learn more about the Online PhD In Special Education Program at the University of Pittsburgh here.

5. Regent University

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Affiliated with five Fulbright Scholars, Regent University is a private, nonprofit evangelical Christian institution led by Chancellor Pat Robertson with a $186 million endowment that’s serving 3,900 post-grads in Virginia Beach and online. The U.S. News applauded Regent for America’s 56th best online graduate education degrees. Maintaining CAEP accreditation, the Graduate School of Education awards a 66-credit EdD or 75-credit Online PhD in Special Education with only one four-day campus residency each year.

Learn more about the Online PhD In Special Education Program at Regent University here.

6. Concordia University Chicago

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Established by Lutheran followers of Johann Konrad Wilhelm Lohe in 1864, Concordia University Chicago transformed from a private teacher’s seminary into a liberal arts institution with over 3,600 post-grad Cougars studying in River Forest and online. The U.S. News lauded CUC for the 66th best online graduate education degrees nationwide. The CAEP-accredited College of Education confers a 61-credit EdD or 67-credit PhD in Special Education Leadership online for master’s-level teachers with LBS1 Endorsement.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at Concordia University Chicago here.

7. Drexel University

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Opened in 1891, Drexel University is a private, nonprofit RU/H institution that’s enrolling over 10,900 post-grad Dragons in the AITU both online and on-site in Philadelphia’s Powelton Village. As a USDLA Best Practices Award winner, Drexel grants America’s 84th best online graduate education degrees according to the U.S. News. Within the CAEP-accredited School of Education, online cohorts can enter the three-year, part-time EdD in Educational Leadership and Management with a 15-credit Special Education Leadership Concentration.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at Drexel University here.

8. University of West Georgia

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Originally called the Fourth District A&M School in 1906, the University of West Georgia has evolved into a public, doctoral-granting RU/H institution with a $20.49 million endowment and around 2,000 post-grad Wolves studying from Carrollton to Dalton and online. The U.S. News tied UWG for America’s 84th best online graduate education programs. With CAEP approval, the three-year, 60-credit Online EdD in School Improvement degree confers an Area of Concentration in Special Education.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at the University of West Georgia here.

9. Nova Southeastern University

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Sprawling across 480 acres in the Sunshine State’s eighth-largest city, Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University is a private, nonprofit RU/H distance learning hub endowed for $102.7 million to educate nearly 20,100 post-grad Sharks yearly. The U.S. News designated NSU as America’s 84th best online provider of graduate education degrees. The CAEP-accredited Fischler College of Education awards a 54-credit Doctor of Education concentrated in Special Education online with an optional BACB-approved Applied Behavior Analysis track.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at Nova Southeastern University here.

10. University of the Cumberlands

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Nestled in Williamsburg, Kentucky, around 70 miles north of Knoxville, the University of the Cumberlands is a private, nonprofit Baptist institution that’s holding a $73.3 million endowment to educate around 3,150 post-grad Patriots on-site and online. According to the U.S. News, UC delivers the country’s 92nd best online graduate education offerings with CAEP accreditation. Tracing back to 1888, the School of Education began a 60-credit Doctorate in Educational Leadership with specialty areas like Special Education.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at the University of the Cumberlands here.

11. Texas Tech University

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Belonging to the ORAU, Texas Tech University is the Longhorn State’s sixth-largest public, doctoral-granting research hub educating over 6,050 post-grad Red Raiders within the Big 12 Conference in Lubbock, Abilene, Dallas, and online. The U.S. News ranked TTU 108th nationally for the best online graduate education degrees. Adhering to CAEP and CEC standards, the College of Education offers a 90-credit Special Education PhD online for master’s-level teachers with optional Educational Diagnostician Certification.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at Texas Tech University here.

12. Portland State University

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Occupying a 50-acre, LEED-certified campus in Oregon’s “Rose City,” Portland State University is a public, co-educational APLU research center endowed for $58.4 million that’s welcoming around 5,600 post-grad Vikings on-site and online. The U.S. News recognized PDX as America’s 101st best graduate education school and ninth most innovative college. The CAEP-accredited Graduate School of Education offers an Educational Leadership Doctoral (EdD) in Special Education with hybrid, 11-week sessions with online D2L components.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at Portland State University here.

13. West Virginia University

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Enrolling around 6,600 post-grad Mountaineers, West Virginia University is a public, land-grant and space-grant RU/VH institution carrying a $515 million endowment for online and on-site teaching in Morgantown. The U.S. News congratulated WVU for America’s 123rd best online graduate education degrees. Approved by the CAEP and CEC, the College of Education and Human Services awards a 42-credit, post-master’s Doctoral Program in Special Education online for PreK-12 certified teachers with two full years of classroom experience.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at West Virginia University here.

14. New Mexico State University

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Featuring nearly 121,000 living alumni like Alvy Ray Smith and Paul W. Klipsch, New Mexico State University is a public, space-grant Hispanic-serving RU/H institution endowed for $214.8 million to teach 3,700 post-grad Aggies in Las Cruces and online. The U.S. News ranked NMSU the 101st top graduate education school countrywide. The CAEP-accredited College of Education offers a hybrid, tech-based PhD in Educational Leadership for 78 credits with cognates like Child Development and Special Education.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at New Mexico State University here.

15. University of Northern Colorado

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Established as the Colorado State Normal School in 1890, the University of Northern Colorado is a public, doctoral-granting institution located in Greeley to educate over 2,800 post-grad Bears online and on-campus. According to the U.S. News, UNCO houses the nation’s 123rd best online graduate education degrees. Through the Bresnahan-Halstead Center, the 72-credit Special Education PhD is conducted online with CAEP-accredited categorical emphases like Autism, Visual Impairment, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Behavioral Disorders.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at the University of Northern Colorado here.

16. Slippery Rock University

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Positioned 52 miles north of Pittsburgh on western Pennsylvania’s largest campus, Slippery Rock University is a public, co-educational PASSHE member that’s endowed for $16.5 million to educate around 700 post-grads on-site and online. The U.S. News placed SRU as the North’s 75th best college and 23rd top public school. Maintaining CAEP accreditation, the College of Education offers a three-year, part-time Doctor in Special Education program primarily online with weekend face-to-face teaching during summers.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at Slippery Rock University here.

17. Liberty University

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Started by Southern Baptist televangelist Jerry Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1971, Liberty University is a private, nonprofit faith-based NAICU institution endowed for $1.05 billion to educate over 12,500 online post-grads from Lynchburg, Virginia. The U.S. News crowned Liberty the 174th best online college nationwide for graduate education. Charging $595 per credit full-time, the CAEP-accredited School of Education grants a 60-credit EdD in Curriculum & Instruction for Special Education online.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education Program at Liberty University here.

18. Gwynedd Mercy University

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Founded in 1948 on Willowbrook Farm in 1948, Gwynedd Mercy University is a private, nonprofit CIC member rooted in the Sisters of Mercy’s Catholic tradition to educate around 650 post-grad Griffins from eastern Pennsylvania and online. According to the U.S. News, GMU is the North’s 137th best regional college with a 10:1 student-faculty ratio. Online master’s-level cohorts finish the CAEP-accredited, 54-credit Accelerated Executive PhD in Educational Leadership in Special Education in just three years.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education at Gwynedd Mercy University here.

19. Capella University

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Given the CHEA Award for Outstanding Practice, Capella University is a publicly traded, for-profit online learning system established by Tonka CEO Stephen Shank in 1993 that’s headquartered in Minneapolis and attracting over 35,800 scholars from 61 countries. On Niche, Capella was graded “A” for value as America’s seventh best online college. Recognized by the CAEP and CEC, the 92-credit PhD in Special Education Leadership program offers flexible, 10-week online courses and in-person residency at seven locations.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education at Capella University here.

20. Walden University

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Owned by Laureate Education, Walden University is a global publicly traded, for-profit network led by President Jonathan A. Kaplan that’s enrolling over 48,900 online students in 50 states and 29 countries from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Niche ranked Walden as America’s 73rd best online college and Minnesota’s 22nd top value. Featuring two in-person and two virtual residencies, the CAEP-accredited Riley College of Education’s 86-unit PhD in Education grants nine specializations, including the NAEYC-sponsored Early Childhood Special Education track.

Learn more about the Online PhD in Special Education at Walden University here.

Related

The Top 20 PhD Programs in Special Education
The Top 15 Accredited Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs
The Top 15 Accredited Schools Online Offering Doctoral Degrees in Special Education

Top 20 PhD Programs in Special Education

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Heading to graduate school for a Doctor of Philosophy is an option worth considering for special educators seeking career advancement. The PhD in Special Education is a terminal degree that provides the highest level of research-based methods for studying and developing new pedagogical tools that improve outcomes for exceptional children. Many PhD graduates enter faculty positions in higher education to teach tomorrow’s teachers. The BLS predicts faster-than-average job growth in academia at 13 percent through 2024. University-level education professors report a mean annual wage of $70,260. Education PhD holders could also become special education directors, school principals, curriculum developers, superintendents, and childcare administrators.

Therefore, we’ve constructed the following list of the Top 20 Ph.D. Special Education Programs in the United States. We consulted with the U.S. News and World Report rankings to narrow down the best campus-based colleges for graduate teaching degrees. We visited the website for each high-ranking school to find Ph.D. programs, which are more scientific and lab-oriented than Ed.D. degrees. Our ranking favored programs offering several degree specializations. Special priority was given to teacher programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) or similar entities. Other conditions considered were doctoral tuition support, graduate assistantships, student-faculty ratio, admission selectivity, academic rigor, and dissertation opportunities.

1. University of Wisconsin – Madison

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As a “Public Ivy,” land-grant institution with RU/VH status, the University of Wisconsin-Madison stands upon 936 urban acres along Lake Monona to educate over 13,800 post-graduates. The U.S. News applauded UW-Madison for the third best graduate education school nationally. Within the NCATE-accredited School of Education, advanced cohorts of four to eight students pursue the 56-credit Special Education Ph.D. program yearly. Over $50 million in extramural funding supports dissertations in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER).

Doctoral Tuition: $791 (in-state) or $1,623 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Wisconsin – Madison here.

2. Columbia University

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Endowed for $9.04 billion, Columbia University is a private, Ivy League AAU member founded in 1754 before the Declaration of Independence that’s now enrolling around 19,500 post-grads on 299 urban acres in Upper Manhattan. The U.S. News ranked Columbia’s Teachers College seventh nationally for best graduate education. Special educators have several doctoral options, including a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis, Ph.D. in Intellectual Disability/Autism & Severe/Multiple Disabilities, or Ph.D. in Deaf and Hard of Hearing, with CAEP approval.

Doctoral Tuition: $9,072 (half-time) or $18,144 (full-time) per semester

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at Columbia University here.

3. Vanderbilt University

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Attracting 5,800 post-grads from 90 foreign countries, Vanderbilt University is a private, nonprofit RU/VH institution in the 568 Group that’s located on a 330-acre urban campus in Middle Tennessee near midtown Nashville. According to the U.S. News, the Peabody College is tied for America’s seventh best graduate education school. The NCATE-accredited Ph.D. in Special Education provides four tracks: Early Childhood, High Incidence, Severe Disabilities, and Visual Impairments. Doctoral candidates also contribute to Vanderbilt’s premier Kennedy Center Research on Human Development.

Doctoral Tuition: $1,854 per credit hour

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at Vanderbilt University here.

4. University of Washington

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Affiliated with seven Nobel Prize laureates, the University of Washington is a public, land-grant APRU institution in the Pac-12 Conference that’s endowed for $2.9 billion and serving over 14,600 post-grad Huskies from 703 acres in Seattle. The U.S. News placed the UW College of Education ninth nationally for graduate teaching programs. Offering tuition waivers and $1,700 monthly stipends, the Ph.D. in Special Education degree has three specializations: High- and Low-Incidence Disabilities, Secondary Education, and Applied Behavior Analysis.

Doctoral Tuition: $5,992 (in-state) or $10,404 (out-of-state) per quarter

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Washington here.

5. University of Texas at Austin

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Led by president Gregory L. Fenves, the University of Texas at Austin occupies 434 urban acres as a flagship public, space-grant RU/VH institution with 11,350 post-graduates. UT-Austin has America’s 11th best graduate education according to the USNWR. Linked to the Texas Center for Disability Studies, the Ph.D. in Special Education program lets Longhorns choose from four concentrations: Autism & Developmental Disabilities, Early Childhood Special Education, Learning Disabilities & Behavioral Disorders, or Multicultural Special Education.

Doctoral Tuition: $5,062 (in-state) or $9,232 (out-of-state) each semester

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Texas at Austin here.

6. New York University

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New York University is a private, nonprofit RU/VH institution with an $8.04 billion budget to educate over 24,300 post-grad Violets from a 230-acre urban campus in Greenwich Village. Founded in 1890, NYU’s Steinhardt School was ranked 13th nationally for best graduate education by the U.S. News. Holding CAEP accreditation, the 60-credit Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning program offers a Special Education emphasis. Students work with poverty-impacted children at 25 partnering schools in East Harlem and South Bronx.

Doctoral Tuition: $10,390 (half-time) or $20,368 (full-time) per year

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at New York University here.

7. University of Oregon

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Boasting over 195,000 living alumni, including Columbia’s President Lee Bollinger, the University of Oregon is a flagship public, Pac-12 RU/VH institution endowed for $758 million on a 295-acre urban campus in Eugene along the Willamette. The U.S. News ranked the UO College of Education 14th nationally. Linked with the award-winning Pearl Duck Autism Center, the Ph.D. in Special Education offers five emphases in Positive Behavior Support, Low-Incidence Disabilities, Early Intervention, Prevention & Academic Intervention, and Secondary/Transition Services.

Doctoral Tuition: $16,602 (in-state) or $27,591 (out-of-state) each year

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Oregon here.

8. University of Kansas

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Chartered in 1864 after “Bleeding Kansas” ended, the University of Kansas is a flagship public, land-grant AAU member with a $1.86 billion endowment and 28,100 Jayhawks enrolled on its spacious 1,100-acre urban campus on Mount Oread. Kansas placed 17th for best graduate education school according to the U.S. News. Taking a scientific-practitioner model, the Ph.D. in Special Education maintains CAEP accreditation for six specializations, such as Early Childhood Unified, Instruction Design and Technology, and Special Education Policy.

Doctoral Tuition: $402 (in-state) or $909 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Kansas here.

9. Ohio State University

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Reporting $652 million in research expenditures, Ohio State University is a public, sea-grant RU/VH institution contributing to the Big Ten Academic Alliance with over 13,500 post-grad Buckeyes studying on its 1,765-acre headquarters in Columbus. The U.S. News ranked the NCATE-accredited College of Education and Human Ecology 18th nationwide. In Ramseyer Hall, students begin the 63-credit Ph.D. in Educational Studies, Special Education program every Autumn with self-designed specializations like Applied Behavior Analysis or Urban Issues in Special Education.

Doctoral Tuition: $12,888 (in-state) or $33,334 (out-of-state) each year

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at Ohio State University here.

10. University of California – Berkeley

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Created under the Dwinelle Bill of 1868, the University of California-Berkeley is a public, land-grant IARU member noted for the Free Speech Movement that’s teaching 10,800 post-grad Golden Bears across its 1,232 urban acres in Alameda County. The Berkeley Graduate School of Education was tied for 18th nationally by the U.S. News. Partnering with San Francisco State University, the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education offers a Ph.D. and access to the UC SPEDDR Center for Research.

Doctoral Tuition: $11,220 (in-state) or $26,322 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of California – Berkeley here.

11. University of Virginia

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Since becoming the South’s first AAU member in 1904, the University of Virginia has grown its $5.85 billion endowment as a flagship public, land-grant RU/VH institution to engage over 6,500 post-grad Cavaliers upon its 1,682-acre historic campus in Charlottesville. UVA’s Curry School of Education holds CAEP accreditation as the 18th best teacher educator nationwide according to the U.S. News. Advanced cohorts can enter the 72-credit Ph.D. in Special Education program specialized in High-Incidence Disabilities or Gifted/Talented Education.

Doctoral Tuition: $15,224 (in-state) or $25,174 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Virginia here.

12. Michigan State University

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Split into 17 colleges with 11,400 post-grad Spartans total, Michigan State University is a public, land-grant and sea-grant RU/VH powerhouse with a $2.25 billion endowment that occupies 5,200 acres on the Red Cedar River in East Lansing. The U.S. News applauded MSU for America’s 21st best graduate education degrees. Within the CAEP-accredited College of Education, there’s a 67-credit Special Education Ph.D. program available. Doctoral students conduct dissertations in state-of-the-art labs like the Research on Teaching and Learning Institute.

Doctoral Tuition: $698 (in-state) or $1,372 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at Michigan State University here.

13. University of Minnesota Twin Cities

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Sitting atop a 2,730-acre urban campus in Minneapolis-St. Paul overlooking the Mississippi River, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is a public, land-grant and space-grant BTAA member with nearly 15,900 post-grad Golden Gophers enrolled. Minnesota’s CAEP-accredited College of Education & Human Development is ranked 21st nationally by the U.S. News. Teachers could earn the 69-credit Special Education Ph.D. degree on-campus. Several are recruited for the National Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention (NCLii) Fellowships.

Doctoral Tuition: $8,120 (in-state) or $12,560 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities here.

14. University of Illinois – Chicago

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Easily accessed from the UIC-Halsted Blue Line, the University of Illinois-Chicago is a public, state-funded GCU Coalition member that will “Teach, Research, Serve” with 11,400 post-grad Flames yearly from 244 urban acres on Chicago’s Near West Side. Illinois was ranked 24th for best graduate education by the U.S. News. Adhering to NCATE standards, the 96-hour Ph.D. in Special Education offers practice in the UIC Educational Assessment Clinic and research in the Center for Urban Education Leadership.

Doctoral Tuition: $5,740 (in-state) or $11,860 (out-of-state) each semester

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Illinois – Chicago here.

15. Utah State University

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Established in 1888 from Anthon H. Lund’s vision, Utah State University is a public, land-grant and space-grant RU/VH institution drawing over 3,900 post-grad Aggies from the “Beehive State” and beyond to its 400-acre suburban campus in Logan. According to the U.S. News, USU’s Emma Eccles Jones College is the 26th best graduate education school. Special educators could pursue the 70-credit Disability Disciplines Doctoral Program for seven Ph.D. specializations, including Applied Behavior Analysis, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Special Education.

Doctoral Tuition: $3,138 (in-state) or $9,793 (out-of-state) per term

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at Utah State University here.

16. University of Connecticut

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Connecticut here.

Belonging to Universitas 21 Global with Ohio State, the University of Connecticut is a public, land-grant, space-grant RU/VH hub located on 4,400 rural acres in Storrs to educate 8,300 post-grad Huskies in New England’s Knowledge Corridor. The NCATE-accredited Neag School of Education has America’s 27th best graduate degrees according to the U.S. News. Full-time students could earn full-tuition coverage for the Ph.D. in Special Education tracks for Literacy Supports, Positive Behavior Supports, Postsecondary Transition, or Early Childhood.

Doctoral Tuition: $7,998 (in-state) or $18,516 (out-of-state) each semester

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Connecticut University here.

17. University of Pittsburgh

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Positioned on 132 urban acres in Western Pennsylvania’s Schenley Farms Historic District, the University of Pittsburgh is a public, land-grant RU/VH center tracing back to 1787 that’s endowed for $3.52 billion and educating 9,800 post-grad Panthers. The NCATE-accredited School of Education is tied for 27th place according to the U.S. News. Special educators have three doctoral options: the Ph.D. in Early Intervention, Ph.D. in Education of Students with Mental & Physical Disabilities, or Ph.D. in Vision Studies.

Doctoral Tuition: $21,260 (in-state) or $34,944 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Pittsburgh here.

18. University of Florida

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Continuously operating in Gainesville since 1906, the University of Florida is a public, land-grant and sea-grant RU/VH superpower with a $1.46 billion endowment and more than 16,200 post-grad Gators gobbling knowledge on its 2,000-acre suburban campus. The U.S. News ranked UF 29th for best graduate education programs. With NCATE accreditation, the 90-hour Ph.D. in Special Education gives research-oriented training in cutting-edge institutes like the CEEDAR Center. Doctoral candidates could add the Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia or Disabilities in Society.

Doctoral Tuition: $12,740 (in-state) or $30,134 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of Florida here.

19. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

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Under Chancellor Carol Folt’s leadership, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill educates more than 10,600 post-grad Tar Heels as a public, land-grant SURA member with a $2.89 billion endowment and sprawling 729-acre urban campus near Raleigh. The CAEP-accredited School of Education stood out for America’s 31st best graduate degrees on the U.S. News survey. The 64-credit Ph.D. in Education program offers an Applied Developmental Sciences and Special Education track with emphases like Autism and Early Childhood.

Doctoral Tuition: $11,940 (in-state) or $29,150 (out-of-state) each year

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill here.

20. Indiana University – Bloomington

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Occupying a 1,937-acre urban campus atop Salem Limestone near Giffy Lake Nature Preserve, Indiana University-Bloomington is a public, land-grant URA research institution endowed for $1.98 billion that’s training 10,150 post-grad Hoosiers. According to the U.S. News, the NCATE-accredited W.W. Wright School of Education has the 32nd best graduate teaching degrees. Admitting each January, the Ph.D. in Special Education program grants seven unique specializations, such as Family Supportive Practices, Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities, and Autism Spectrum Disorders Intervention.

Doctoral Tuition: $4,002 (in-state) or $12,161 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the Top PhD Programs in Special Education at Indiana University – Bloomington here.

Top 20 Colleges For Students With Special Needs

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Finding the ideal college match is considerably harder for individuals with physical, learning, psychological, and cognitive disabilities. Although the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 protects students with special needs from discrimination on any campus, some universities aren’t as disability-friendly as others. One survey found that just 86 percent of U.S. institutions enroll learners with diagnosed impairments. Attending a college with a track record of accommodating exceptional students is beneficial because nearly two-thirds of young adults with disabilities don’t finish their degree. That’s problematic since bachelor’s degrees provide an average lifetime advantage of $1 million over high school grads. Luckily, students with disabilities can beat the odds and maximize their career potential by choosing the right school.

We’ve created the following article the Top 20 Colleges for Students With Special Education Needs. Forming our ranking began with an online search of universities with strong, effective programming for disabled learners. We looked beyond minimum ADA accessibility requirements to find colleges paving the way for equal opportunity. Each prospective school had to include a fully-equipped disability center offering free accommodations, even if extras were available for added tuition. Being regionally accredited for high-quality, transferrable education was mandatory. Preference was given to disability-friendly colleges with top rankings in the U.S. News and World Report, especially for student support. Other factors included financial aid, academic choice, graduation rate, technology, faculty credentials, and personalized attention.

Here are our selections for the Top 20 Colleges For Students With Special Education Needs:

1. University of Iowa

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Endowed for $1.25 billion, the University of Iowa is a public, space-grant RU/VH institution in the Big Ten Academic Alliance that’s educating over 33,300 Hawkeyes in Iowa City. The U.S. News ranked Iowa the 82nd best university and 33rd top public college nationally. Students with disabilities can be empowered with a two-year, transitional certificate from the UI REACH Program. The Student Disability Services (SDS) Center also offers accommodations within Iowa’s 200+ majors, such as the Music B.A. and Geoscience B.S.

Learn more about the University of Iowa’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

2. University of Michigan

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Classified as a public, sea-grant RU/VH institution, the University of Michigan educates over 44,700 Wolverines of various ability levels in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, and Dearborn. According to the U.S. News, UMich is America’s 27th best university and ninth most innovative school. The 14 undergraduate schools offer 265+ majors from Judaic Studies to Drama. In Haven Hall, the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) offers free accommodations, including Modern Language Aptitude Testing. Dyslexic students could obtain the Karine Eide Memorial Scholarship.

Learn more about the University of Michigan’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

3. Gallaudet University

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Officially bilingual with English and ASL used, Gallaudet University is a private, federally-chartered institution serving over 2,200 deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Washington, DC. The USNWR recognized Gallaudet as the North’s 16th best school and top value. Hearing impaired students can choose from 30 bachelor’s, including the Government B.A. and Interpretation B.A. The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSWD) provides various accommodations from Braille textbooks to guide dogs and wheelchair repair service.

Learn more about Gallaudet University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

4. University of Southern California

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Enrolling over 42,400 Trojans, the University of Southern California is a private, sea-grant AAU member endowed for $4.6 billion in Los Angeles’ University Park district. USC was ranked America’s 23rd best university and 56th top value by the U.S. News. The Office of Disability Services and Programs (DSP) accommodates special needs with note taking, extra testing time, assistive technology, and more. These help finish USC’s 95+ majors, such as the Astronomy B.S. and Political Economy B.A.

Learn more about the University of Southern California’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

5. Northeastern University

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Established in 1898, Northeastern University is a private, non-sectarian RU/VH institution rooted in cooperative education to teach over 24,900 Huskies in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. The U.S. News ranked NEU as the 39th best national university and seventh most innovative school. Located in Dodge Hall, the Disability Resource Center is well-known for its comprehensive Learning Disabilities Program (LDP), which costs $2,750 per semester. Basic accommodations are free within Northeastern’s 150+ majors from the B.S. in Psychology to B.S. in Physics.

Learn more about Northeastern University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

6. American University

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Chartered by Congress under President Harrison in 1893, American University is a private, nonprofit Methodist institution enrolling over 12,100 Eagles in Washington, DC. The U.S. News applauded American as the country’s 74th top university and 66th best value. Undergrads with disabilities benefit from free accommodations in AU’s 100+ majors from Economics to Spanish Studies. For a one-time $4,500 fee, there’s also the Learning Services Program (LSP) for freshmen with weekly meetings, peer mentoring, course advising, and writing assistance.

Learn more about American University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

7. Southern Illinois University

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Based on 1,133 rural acres in Carbondale, Southern Illinois University is a flagship public, research hub endowed for $111.6 million with more than 15,900 Salukis. The U.S. News placed SIU as America’s 214th best university and 122th top public college. Southern Illinois’ 10 schools hold HLC-NCA accreditation for 300+ programs, including a Dental Hygiene B.S. and Theater B.A. The Disability Support Services (DSS) provides free programmatic help for hearing, visual, learning, psychological, and mobility impairments.

Learn more about Southern Illinois University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

8. University of Arizona

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Belonging to the Pac-12 Conference, the University of Arizona is a public, co-educational RU/VH institution with over 43,000 Wildcats studying in Tucson. According to the USNWR, Arizona is the 124th top university and 60th best public college nationwide. The Disability Resource Center supports special needs in UA’s 334 fields of study like the B.A. in Education and B.S. in Animal Science. There’s also the SALT Program for $2,800 per semester for tutoring and life skills workshops with strategic learning specialists.

Learn more about the University of Arizona’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

9. Rochester Institute of Technology

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Featuring the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, the Rochester Institute of Technology is a private, doctoral-granting research powerhouse with 16,800 Tigers studying in western New York. The U.S. News crowned RIT the 107th best national university and 33th top value. The Academic Support Center offers various special needs services for RIT’s 200+ programs, such as the Accounting B.S. or Bioinformatics B.S. Extra, weekly support is available for $660 per semester via the highly esteemed EMPOWER Program too.

Learn more about the Rochester Institute of Technology’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

10. University of Connecticut

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Named a “Public Ivy,” land-grant RU/VH institution, the University of Connecticut enrolls over 32,000 Huskies on its campuses in Storrs, Mansfield, and Stamford. The USNWR congratulated Connecticut as America’s 60th best university and 20th top public school. Accommodations for UConn’s 100+ majors, such as the Geography B.A. and Marketing B.S., are offered freely by the Center for Students with Disabilities. Learning disabled students can also join the Beyond Access Program for $1,800 per semester for social skills training, career preparation, and more.

Learn more about the University of Connecticut’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

11. DePaul University

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Noted for recruiting first-generation, disadvantaged students, DePaul University is a private, Catholic liberal arts institution with enrollment over 22,900 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. The U.S. News ranked DePaul as America’s 124th best university and 70th top value. The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) offers individualized accommodations for DePaul’s 130+ majors like the Animation B.A. and Neuroscience B.S. Students with learning disabilities, including ADHD, also benefit from the year-round Productive Learning Strategies (PLuS) program.

Learn more about DePaul University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

12. Hofstra University

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As Long Island’s largest private, non-sectarian institution, Hofstra University utilizes a $411.7 million endowment to educate 10,800 diverse students in Hempstead. According to the USNWR, Hofstra is America’s 133rd best college and 89th most veteran-friendly school, including those disabled in combat. Hofstra’s 10 divisions offer 120+ degrees like the B.A. in Urban Ecology and B.A. in Japanese. In the Mack Student Center, Student Access Services offers several accommodations and the fee-based Program for Academic Learning Skills (PALS).

Learn more about Hofstra University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

13. University of the Ozarks

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Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the University of the Ozarks enrolls 680 Eagles as a private, Christian nonprofit located in Clarksville, Arkansas. The U.S. News ranked Ozarks the South’s third best university and top value. With a 100 percent referral rate, the Jones Learning Center (JLC) fulfills special needs with ASD support, peer tutoring, assistive, technology, and academic skills workshops. Ozarks’ close-knit community assists disabled learners through 31 programs of study, including Biology and International Business.

Learn more about the University of the Ozarks’ College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

14. Creighton University

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Opened in 1878, Creighton University is a private, co-educational Jesuit institution enlightening over 8,400 faithful Bluejays from its 140 urban acres in Omaha, Nebraska. The USNWR placed Creighton as the Midwest’s best regional university and third most innovative school. Across Creighton’s nine colleges, 72 percent of applicants are accepted into 50+ majors like the Mathematics B.S. and Theology B.A. Special education, accessible housing, and counseling needs are readily fulfilled by the Office of Disability Accommodations (ODA).

Learn more about Creighton University’s College For Students with Special Education Needs here.

15. Gonzaga University

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Occupying 152 acres on the Spokane River in eastern Washington, Gonzaga University is a private, co-educational Catholic AJCU member enrolling over 7,300 Bulldogs. The U.S. News honored Gonzaga as the West’s fourth best university and 13th top value. In Foley Center Library, the Disability Access Office offers auxiliary academic and housing aids, including class note takers. Students with special education needs can feel confident entering Gonzaga’s 92 programs like BBA in Entrepreneurship and B.A. in Sociology.

Learn more about Gonzaga University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

16. Fairleigh Dickinson University

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Attracting over 12,200 Knights, Fairleigh Dickinson University stands in Teaneck and Madison as New Jersey’s largest private, non-sectarian institution. According to the U.S. News, FDU is the North’s 67th best university with a 14:1 student-faculty ratio. The Regional Center for Learning Disabilities (RCLD) in Hennessy Hall offers free accommodations, such as tech support and priority registration. A two-semester Course for Success could improve students’ ability to finish FDU’s 140+ degrees like the Chemistry B.S. and Humanities B.A. too.

Learn more about Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

17. Marshall University

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Regionally accredited by the HLC-NCA, Marshall University is a public, co-educational research institution located in Huntington, West Virginia, with a Thundering Herd of over 13,600. The U.S. News distinguished Marshall as the South’s 47th best college and 16th top public school. Free accommodations in the Office of Disability Services are available for Marshall’s 57 bachelor’s programs, including the Forensic Chemistry B.S. and Nursing B.S. The Higher Education for Learning Problems Center also offers extra, fee-based support like skills development.

Learn more about Marshall University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

18. Abilene Christian University

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Nestled in West Texas just 150 miles from Fort Worth, Abilene Christian University is a private, nonprofit CCCU member affiliated with the Churches of Christ and serving over 4,400 Wildcats. The U.S. News ranked Abilene Christian as the West’s 18th top college and 12th best value. With a 90 percent graduation rate, the Alpha Scholars Program offers coaching, tutoring, and disability accommodations. Upward Bound could prepare students for ACU’s 70+ SACS-accredited majors from the B.S. in Agribusiness to B.S. in Nutrition.

Learn more about Abilene Christian University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

19. Mercyhurst University

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Founded by Mother Eagan in 1926, Mercyhurst University is a private, Catholic liberal arts institution serving more than 4,400 Lakers in Erie, Pennsylvania. The U.S. News recognized Mercyhurst as the North’s 61st best college and 37th top value. For 30 years, the Learning Differences Program (LDP) has provided free academic adjustments and in-depth support for $2,450 annually. The Summer PASS can help stay on track for Mercyhurst’s 50+ majors, such as the B.A. in Intelligence Studies and B.A. in Social Work.

Learn more about Mercyhurst University’s College For Students With Special Education Needs here.

20. West Virginia Wesleyan College

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Endowed for $42.4 million, West Virginia Wesleyan College is a private, Methodist liberal arts institution attracting over 1,450 Bobcats from 26 countries to Buckhannon. WVWC stands as the South’s 47th best university and fifth top value according to the U.S. News. The Learning Center grants free disability support 12.5 hours daily for West Virginia Wesleyan’s 43 majors, including Political Science and English. There’s also a fee-based Mentor Advantage option with advisers applying the Lindamood-Bell approach.

Learn more about West Virginia Wesleyan College’s For Students With Special Education Needs here.

12 Best Special Education Degree Programs for 2017

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Special education classrooms demand highly trained teachers with the pedagogical know-how to develop and implement IEPs that maximize children’s academic potential. Since the inception of the Individuals with Disablities Education Act (IDEA), the United States provides adapted curriculum to suit the exceptional learning needs of approximately 6.5 million students with disabilities. Whether in inclusive or self-contained K-12 classrooms, special education teachers are positive role models who advocate for the fair treatment of physical, mental, learning, and sensory difficulties. The BLS estimates that America’s 491,100 special educators earn a median pay of $56,800. Above-average job growth through 2024 will also increase hiring in special education by 6 percent. Qualifying for these positions requires becoming state certified after a high-quality teacher preparation program.

To help potential and current special education professionals, we’ve created the following article to distinguish the 12 Best Special Education Degree Programs for 2017. We began by consulting with the U.S. News and World Report’s teaching school rankings. The publication’s methodology involved weighing student selectivity, faculty resources, research activity, and peer assessment scores. Next, we double checked that each university was regionally and professionally accredited by the NCATE, TEAC, or CAEP for excellence. Preference was given to schools with multiple degree levels in special education. We then used the NCES College Navigator tool to record each college’s average net price with financial aid. Other factors we deemed important were retention, job placement, PRAXIS exam pass rates, class size, and experiential training.

Here are our selections for the 12 Best Special Education Degree Programs for 2017:

1. University of Kansas

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Noted for the Beach Center on Disability, the University of Kansas is a flagship public, co-ed RU/VH institution established in 1865 that’s educating over 28,000 Jayhawks from 1,100 urban acres in downtown Lawrence. Ranked America’s 45th “Top Public University” on Niche, the University of Kansas is recognized for the #1 Best Special Education Department by the U.S. News and World Report. The NCATE-accredited School of Education offers a Unified Early Childhood B.S., High-Incidence Disabilities M.S.Ed., Low-Incidence Disabilities M.S.Ed., Secondary Special Education & Transition M.S.Ed., and Autism Spectrum Disorders M.S.Ed. There’s also a Special & Inclusive Education Leadership Graduate Certificate. Teachers practice their skills through on-campus initiatives like the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project and field practicum in Douglas County school districts.

Average Net Price: $18,485

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Kansas here.

2. Vanderbilt University

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Endowed for $4.13 billion, Vanderbilt University is a private, nonsectarian 568 Group member with “very high research activity” and over 12,600 Commodores engaging on its 330-acre urban campus in Tennessee’s capital. Placed #4 for “Great Financial Aid” on The Princeton Review, Vanderbilt is acclaimed for the second Best Special Education Programs by the U.S. News. Holding NCATE accreditation, the Peabody College of Education and Human Development offers a B.S., M.Ed., or Ph.D. in Special Education to master innovative practices with disabled youth. Each major graduates with at least 500 hours of classroom experience in Nashville and the Cumberland Valley. Students also serve young children with developmentally disabilities in the on-campus Susan Gray School.

Average Net Price: $22,937

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at Vanderbilt University here.

3. University of Oregon

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Following the motto “Mind moves the mass,” the University of Oregon educates over 23,600 Ducks as a flagship public, research hub endowed for $753 million with 295 urban acres in Eugene along the Willamette River’s shoreline. Deemed the West’s 40th Best University on Forbes, Oregon claims the #3 spot for Best Special Needs Education by the U.S. News. The CAEP-accredited College of Education has respect for their M.Ed. in Special Education (K-12), M.Ed. in Early Intervention, and Ph.D. in Special Education. There’s a SPED Undergraduate Minor and ESOL Endorsement for undergrads too. Oregon students benefit from gaining experience in the HEDCO Clinic and 17 research units, such as the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

Average Net Price: $15,128

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Oregon here.

4. University of Texas – Austin

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Belonging to the AAU, the University of Texas-Austin is a flagship public, space-grant RU/VH institution teaching over 50,900 Longhorns from 434 urban acres near the nation’s sixth tallest state capitol. Named the fifth “Best Big College in America” on Niche, UT-Austin houses the fourth top special education programs according to the USNWR. Within the NCATE-accredited College of Education, undergraduates can pursue the All-Level Special Education (K-12) Certification. Advanced specialist training is available with M.Ed. and Ed.D. concentrations for Autism & Developmental Disabilities, Early Childhood Special Education, High-Incidence Disabilities, or Learning Disabilities & Behavioral Disorders. UT-Austin also conducts cutting-edge research in the Texas Center for Disability Studies and Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk.

Average Net Price: $17,366

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Texas – Austin here.

5. University of Florida

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Enrolling over 52,500 Gators, the University of Florida is a preeminent public, land-grant RU/VH institution contributing $8.76 to the “Sunshine State’s” economy from a massive 2,000-acre suburban campus outside Gainesville in Alachua County. Noted for the #17 “Best Alumni Network” on The Princeton Review, UF maintains the fifth best special education department according to the U.S. News. Meeting CAEP standards, the College of Education offers a five-year Bachelor’s/Master’s ProTeach program for Dual Early Childhood or Elementary and Special Education. The Teach Well Online Academy confers a 36-credit M.Ed. in Autism, Disabilities in Society, and Dyslexia or Ph.D. in Special Education. Florida is highly regarded for its P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School.

Average Net Price: $14,610

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Florida here.

6. University of Virginia

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Established by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia occupies 1,682 urban acres of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Charlottesville to educate over 22,300 Cavaliers as a flagship public, co-educational RU/VH research institution. Tied for the fifth best special needs education by the U.S. News, UVA claimed #14 in The Princeton Review’s “Colleges That Pay You Back.” The Curry School of Education is TEAC-accredited to provide a Master of Teaching (MT) in Special Education with endorsement in Gifted Education, English as a Second Language, Elementary Education, or Secondary Education. There’s a five-year B/MT for undergraduates with a Communication Sciences Disorders major. Aspiring teachers also gain experience with the America Reads program and Children’s Learning Clinic.

Average Net Price: $14,539

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Virginia here.

7. University of Washington

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Applauded for its DO-IT Scholars Program, the University of Washington is a flagship public, co-educational RU/VH institution endowed for $3.07 billion to inclusively teach over 45,200 Huskies from a main 703-acre urban campus in Seattle at Mount Rainier’s foothills. Graded A+ for America’s 32nd “Best College Location” on Niche, UW is ranked seventh nationally for special education programs by the U.S. News. The College of Education offers a cohort-based Special Education Preparation Program for B.A./B.S. students. For post-baccalaureate study, consider the M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis, M.Ed. in High-Incidence Disabilities, M.Ed. in Low-Incidence Disabilities, or M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education. UW student teachers total more than 383,000 practice hours in 300+ Washington State schools.

Average Net Price: $9,744

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at University of Washington here.

8. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

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Within the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is a public, land-grant research powerhouse located on 2,730 urban acres in the Falcon Heights neighborhood of Saint Paul to enlighten over 48,200 Golden Gophers. Ranked the 21st “Top Public University in America” on Niche, UM is distinguished for the eighth best special needs education by the U.S. News. The NCATE-accredited College of Education and Human Development attracts diverse students from 58 countries. Degree options include the Special Education B.S., Special Education M.Ed., and English as a Second Language M.A. There’s also a Certificate in Disability Policy & Services. More than $51 million in grant funding supports initiatives like the ITR for Children’s Mental Health.

Average Net Price: $15,371

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities here.

9. University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Deemed a “Public Ivy,” sea-grant RU/VH institution with a $2.46 billion endowment, the University of Wisconsin-Madison educates over 43,300 Badgers from a 936-acre urban campus on the Madison isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona. Placed #13 for “Best College Library” on The Princeton Review, UW-Madison is distinguished for the ninth top special education department by the U.S. News. Holding NCATE accreditation, the School of Education’s iconic red doors welcome undergrads into the B.S.Ed. in Special Education. It’s also possible to obtain a M.S. and Ph.D. in Special Education with an optional TESOL Endorsement. UW-Madison helps empower schools with Culturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (CRPBIS). Future teachers also benefit from institutional partnerships in Australia, Brazil, and Singapore.

Average Net Price: $16,060

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Wisconsin – Madison here.

10. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

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Known for innovating the first PLATO computer-assisted instruction system in 1960, the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign is a public, space-grant RU/VH AAU member serving over 44,000 Fighting Illini from 4,552 urban acres in the twin cities. Crowned America’s #7 Best Value on Forbes, UIUC is recognized for the 10th best special needs education by the U.S. News. The CAEP-accredited College of Education offers a B.S. in Learning and Education Studies concentrated in Special Education. Graduates could sharpen their skills with the M.S. in Learning & Behavior Specialist, M.S. in Infancy & Early Childhood Special Education, or Ph.D. in Special Education programs. Students benefit from studying the Pyramid Model Consortium, participating in the Goldstick Family Lecture Series, and joining Kappa Delta Pi.

Average Net Price: $16,841

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign here.

11. Ohio State University

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Having produced academia icons like Nancy L. Zimpher and Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr., Ohio State University is a prestigious public, land-grant RU/VH institution with over 101,200 total Buckeyes studying across 16,132 acres in Columbus, Lima, Mansfield, Marion, and Wooster. Noted as America’s 14th “Best Big College” on Niche, OSU is recognized for the 11th best special education degrees by the U.S. News. The NCATE-accredited College of Education and Human Ecology offers a B.S.Ed. in Special Education with optional Pre-Kindergarten Special Needs Endorsement. Licensed teachers could attain the M.A. in Education Studies for Special Education or Ph.D. in Special Education also. Programs have intensive clinical requirement with partnering schools, including Columbus City Schools and Southwestern City School District.

Average Net Price: $18,502

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at Ohio State University here.

12. University of San Diego

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Chartered in 1949 by Reverend Charles F. Buddy, D.D., the University of San Diego is a private, nonprofit Catholic institution endowed for $450 million that’s enlightening over 7,400 Toreros from 108 urban acres overlooking California’s Mission Bay. Distinguished for the #12 “Most Beautiful Campus” on The Princeton Review, USD houses America’s 12th best special needs education according to the U.S. News. The School of Leadership and Education Sciences has several NCATE-accredited programs, including the Preliminary Education Specialist Credential for Mild to Moderate Disabilities. Graduate cohorts pursue the M.A.T. in Special Education, M.Ed. in Inclusive Learning with Special Education and Universal Design Specialization, and M.Ed. in TESOL Education. San Diego also manages the state-of-the-art Manchester Family Child Development Center.

Average Net Price: $35,950

Learn more about the Special Education Degree Programs at the University of San Diego here.

Related Links:

The Top 10 Special Education Degree Programs
The Top 15 Accredited Online Special Education Bachelors Degree Programs
The Top 15 Accredited Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs of 2016

Top 12 Websites For Children With Learning Disabilities

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As many educators, parents, and families know, having a learning disability doesn’t make a child any less smart than his or her peers. In fact, it often means that the child is as smart or smarter but their brain just works differently because it’s neurological process. People with learning disabilities have a biological brain make up which counterintuitively functions to typical memory, reasoning, planning, organizational, and attention tasks. These disabilities are often lifelong and create a divide between intellectual abilities and actual success, especially when the learning disability is unidentified. That’s why it’s supremely important to evaluate the possibility of the presence of a learning disbaility while a child is young. That way they can gain the tools they need to function, thrive, and learn as individuals.

Parents and special education teachers often have difficulty finding new tactics to provoke a love for learning in children with learning disabilities. Fast-advancing technology has made the Internet one of the best resources for discovering entertaining activities that teach as well as excite children. Educational websites assist children with learning disabilities master basic skills in reading and math or advanced concepts like calculus. To help with that process, the following are 12 Websites For Children with Learning Disabilities, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and visual motor deficit.

1. IXL Worldwide


Aligned with Common Core Standards, IXL Worldwide is a dynamic, immersive website offering adaptive learning for students with disabilities. From Pre-K through senior year, IXL will provide fun exercises for mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies. Children remain motivated by earning awards like stickers and balloon animals for each lesson mastered.

2. FunBrain


Featuring the kidSAFE Seal, FunBrain is an educational website managed by Sandbox Networks since 1997 with exciting arcade games. Children with learning disabilities in grades K-8 can watch lesson videos and practice their skills in attention-grabbing games like Penguin Drop. Game directions are conveniently illustrated to assist struggling readers too.

3. AAA Math


Children diagnosed with dyscalculia will particularly benefit from AAA Math, a website filled with free, easy-to-understand K-8 mathematics lessons. Interactive pages help remove frustration from tough concepts like division, ratios, exponents, and graphing. Practice questions and fun games like Countdown give students’ instant feedback to prevent learning incorrect methods.

4. Storyline Online


Published by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, Storyline Online is an excellent resource for children with learning disabilities like dyslexia. This website records free videos of narrators, and sometimes well-known actors like Eva Longoria, reading children’s books aloud. Students develop their literacy skills by following along with text as the literature comes alive.

5. Into the Book!


The Wisconsin Media Lab created the Into the Book! website to provide engaging reading comprehension activities in English and Spanish. Elementary children with learning disabilities will benefit from dissecting books, such as The Wolf Who Cried Boy and A Pirate’s Life. Short, 15-minute videos are included to teach important reading strategies like visualization and summarizing.

6. Starfall


Launched in 2002 by the Polis-Schutz family, Starfall is a free educational website with an optional low-cost membership program that teaches phonics. Young children diagnosed with learning disabilities will load fun activity lessons from letter recognition to reading full-length books. Students can also download swinging sing-alongs, including “Wheels on the Bus,” for fine-motor coordination.

7. The Exploratorium


Children with learning disabilities and a knack for science will enjoy The Exploratorium, a website that brings the San Francisco museum to your desktop. Youth can scroll through 55 pages of educational videos to illustrate key topics like climate change, electricity, and human anatomy. Also download the Total Solar Eclipse app to prepare for the upcoming astronomical event on August 21, 2017.

8. Do2Learn


Attracting over 11 million views monthly, Do2Learn is an unparalleled special needs resource website started in 1996 through a NIH Small Business Innovation Research grant. Learning disabled youth access thousands of free elementary-level worksheets for literacy, math, visual discrimination, behavior management, and more. There are also printable picture cards available to promote functional communication in children with Autism.

9. Reading Rockets


Featured on PBS, Reading Rockets is a David M. Rubenstein Prize-winning website devoted to providing research-based activities that help struggling readers. There is an extensive library of lessons centered on fluency, oral language, phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, and other literacy skills. Children can also incite their passion for reading with themed booklists, such “Young Detectives.”

10. AdaptedMind


Trusted by over 150,000 teachers, AdaptedMind was established by Stanford graduates for exercises that adapt to exceptional children’s needs. From first through eighth grade, students will discover hundreds of amusing reading and math activities illustrated by goofy monsters. Children will start with a quick pretest before engaging in video lessons and taking a confidence-boosting progress assessment.

11. Arcademic Skill Builders


Arcademic Skill Builders is an online educational video games hub that won an EdTech Magazine 2016 Cool Tool Award. Free, multi-player games are available for engaging students in tricky K-6 content from spelling to algebra and geography. Children with learning disabilities can compete for top scores while boosting their fact fluency. Plus, teachers or parents can access data tracking reports.

12. Learning Ally


For nearly 70 years, Learning Ally has been a leading nonprofit devoted to helping people with print disabilities, especially dyslexia. From kindergarten to college, learning disabled youth can access the website’s library of over 80,000 audiobooks with VOICEtext. Award-winning books, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Alice in Wonderland, are human narrated in clear voices to boost students’ comprehension.

It’s important that children with learning disabilities don’t lag behind. After all, the NCLD reports that 19 percent of learning disabled youth drop out before high school graduation. Keep your child or student progressing academically with these any of the above listed Top 12 Websites For Children With Learning Disabilities.

Related Links

The Best Websites For Parents of Special Needs Children

Top 10 Special Education Reading Certificate Programs

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Reading intervention specialists play a pivotal role in special education by devoting attention to students with disabilities who experience trouble with reading. PreK-12 schools hire reading teachers to differentiate literacy curriculum and meet the diverse pedagogical needs of struggling readers. Although requirements vary by state, reading specialists generally need at least a bachelor’s degree with specialized certificate training. Special education reading certificates develop the diagnostic and instructional methods utilized to improve students’ comprehension of basic to advanced literature. Adding the Reading Endorsement to your teaching certification pays off because demand in literacy education is growing by 7 percent through 2024. According to PayScale, reading specialists also bring home a median yearly salary of $49,908. Because of how important the special education reading certification is, we’ve created the following ranking of the Top 10 Special Sducation reading certificate programs. We began by searching through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) directory of accredited education programs. Prospective schools had to be currently approved by the NCATE or TEAC. Extra attention was given for aligning with the International Literacy Association (ILA) guidelines. Next, we narrowed down colleges based on availability of an on-campus or online certificate for reading specialist licensure. Certificates had to include coursework on language disability intervention in special education classrooms to qualify. Our ranking was organized after consulting with the national rankings from the U.S. News and World Report. Job placement, total program cost, retention, faculty credentials, and fieldwork were also factors in our determining the following Top 10 Special Education Reading Certificate Programs:

1. University of California – San Diego

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Endowed for $1.17 billion, the University of California – San Diego is a public, sea-grant RU/VH research institution educating over 33,700 students from its sprawling 2,141-acre suburban campus in La Jolla overlooking the Pacific. The U.S. News and World Report distinguishes the University of California – San Diego as the 44th Best National University, 71st Top Value, and 10th Best Public College. The NCATE-accredited Department of Education Studies holds the 74th Best Graduate Education Degrees. Through the University of California – San Diego Extension, special educators can finish the Reading Instruction Certificate online with six courses. Teachers become fluent in literacy assessment, intervention, and instruction strategies to improve student achievement. After the capstone reading portfolio, graduates can pursue endorsement via the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Estimated Cost: $16,630 (California resident) or $31,732 (non-resident)

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at the University of California – San Diego here.

2. University of Florida

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As the Sunshine State’s only AAU member, the University of Florida is a flagship public, land-grant RU/VH institution standing upon a 2,000-acre suburban campus in Gainesville to serve over 52,500 students. The “Public Ivy” is crowned America’s 50th Best University and 14th Top Public College by the U.S. News and World Report. Holding NCATE accreditation, the University of Florida College of Education is lauded for the #1 Best Online Graduate Education Programs. One such option is the Dyslexia Graduate Certificate. This 12-month certificate allows practicing educators to conduct literacy assessments and implement evidence-based reading interventions for dyslexic youth. Post-baccalaureate online courses will include one local practicum placement. Certified teachers could also add the five-course Reading Endorsement for remediation of literacy difficulties.

Estimated Cost: $7,335 (Florida resident) or $10,965 (non-resident)

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at the University of Florida here.

3. Rutgers University

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Chartered by the Dutch Reformed Church in 1766, Rutgers University is a public, nonsectarian RU/VH institution enrolling over 67,000 students in the Big Ten Academic Alliance from its main 2,688-acre urban campus in New Brunswick and several extensions. The U.S. News and World Report named Rutgers the 70th Best National University, 25th Top Public School, and 42nd Most Veteran-Friendly College. Known for its Center of Literacy Development, the NCATE-accredited Graduate School of Education also ranks 62nd nationally. Individuals with a master’s degree in education could pursue the Reading Specialist Certificate in a hybrid format. This 30-credit endorsement aligns with New Jersey standards to deepen teachers’ literacy skills with struggling readers. Courses can also transfer into the Ed.M. in Reading program.

Estimated Cost: $20,670 (New Jersey resident) or $35,160 (non-resident)

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at Rutgers University here.

4. Lewis & Clark College

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Belonging to the Annapolis Group, Lewis & Clark College is a private, nonprofit liberal arts institution enlightening around 3,500 students from its 137-acre residential campus atop Palatine Hill in Portland, Oregon. Named Kiplinger’s 75th Best Value, Lewis & Clark is America’s 87th Top Liberal Arts college according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Princeton Review listed Lewis & Clark among the country’s “Top 25 Schools Making an Impact.” Within the NCATE-accredited Graduate School of Education and Counseling, there’s a 15-credit Reading Intervention Endorsement Program available. Beginning each September, January, and June, this cohort-based certificate spans 18 months part-time in evenings and on weekends. Certified teachers study theories from Rosenblatt to Atwell to perfect their reading and writing instruction strategies in PreK-12 schools.

Estimated Cost: $11,685

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at Lewis & Clark College here.

5. Loyola University Chicago

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Affiliated with the Society of Jesus since 1870, Loyola University Chicago is a private, co-educational Catholic and Jesus research institution enrolling over 15,000 students upon its 105-acre urban campus in Rogers Park along the Lake Michigan shoreline. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Loyola University Chicago is America’s 99th Best University, 64th Best for Vets School, and 47th Top Value. Also recognized for the 99th Best Teacher Preparation, the School of Education maintains NCATE accreditation and ISBE approval. Special education teachers could obtain the 24-credit Reading Teacher Endorsement Certificate part-time in four semesters. Courses cover literacy assessment, disability diagnosis, literature analysis, emergent literacy, and writing composition. One practicum in any PreK-12 school setting is required. Admission mandates an accredited bachelor’s degree and minimum 3.0 GPA.

Estimated Cost: $22,776

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at Loyola University Chicago here.

6. University of Nebraska – Lincoln

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Established in 1869 under the Morrill Act, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln is a flagship public, land-grant research institution endowed for $1.5 billion to educate more than 25,200 from its 613-acre urban campus in the Cornhusker State’s capital. The U.S. News and World Report placed the University of Nebraska – Lincoln as the 111th Best National University and 51st Best Public College. Holding TEAC accreditation, the College of Education stands out as America’s 39th Top Teacher Producer. Licensed educators can pursue the Response to Intervention: Reading Certificate with on-site and online courses. The 15-credit program follows IDEA Act legislation to train literacy specialists on RTI training for exceptional children. Teachers develop the multi-tier strategies to support reading disabilities early with top-quality instruction.

Estimated Cost: $4,875 (Nebraska resident) or $9,135 (non-resident)

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln here.

7. Ohio University

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Classified as a public, doctoral-granting RU/H research institution, Ohio University selectively admits over 38,000 students from its 1,850-acre rural campus in Athens to extensions in Dublin, Ironton, Proctorville, Zanesville, and online. Cited in Forbes’ “100 Best College Buys,” Ohio is ranked the 146th Best National University and 74th Top Public School by the U.S. News and World Report. The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education maintains NCATE accreditation for the 62nd Best Online Graduate Teaching Degrees. The 15-credit Reading Endorsement Program can be completed online by licensed teachers broadening their specialty to literacy. Each reading intervention course is supplemented with 35 fieldwork hours. The certificate is approved by the Ohio Board of Regents for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.

Estimated Cost: $7,845 (Ohio resident) or $8,130 (non-resident)

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at Ohio University here.

8. University of Wyoming

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Positioned atop the Laramie Plains on a 785-acre suburban campus at 7,220 feet elevation, the University of Wyoming is a flagship public, land-grant Midwestern institution attracting over 13,900 students. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Wyoming is America’s 171st Best University and 90th Top Public College. As the Cowboy State’s only NCATE-accredited school, the College of Education confers the 126th Best Graduate Teaching Education Nationally. Special education teachers could obtain the 21-credit Certificate of Literacy. Conducted via video lectures, this distance learning certificate leads to Reading Endorsement for instructing youth who have trouble grasping literacy concepts. Teachers can specialize learning at the K-6, 7-12, or K-12 level for special education. Courses transfer into the M.A.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction degree.

Estimated Cost: $4,872 (Wyoming resident) or $14,553 (non-resident)

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at the University of Wyoming here.

9. Lesley University

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Founded by Edith Lesley in 1909 to train kindergarten teachers, Lesley University is a private, co-educational teaching institution with enrollment surpassing 9,600 on its 13-acre urban campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Picked for Princeton Review’s “Best Northeastern Schools” list, Lesley is crowned the 197th Best National Iniversity by the U.S. News and World Report. Boasting over 35,000 alumni, the TEAC-accredited Graduate School of Education is recognized for its 97 percent job placement rate. Experienced K-12 practitioners are welcomed into Lesley’s Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Specialist Teacher of Reading program. This 45-credit, post-master’s certificate meets the International Literacy Association’s standards for designing language arts curriculum. Courses are face-to-face with a 150-hour, off-campus practicum. Professional teaching license in Massachusetts is required.

Estimated Cost: $40,950

Learn more about the Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at Lesley University here.

10. University of Missouri – Kansas City

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Occupying a 157-acre urban campus adjacent to the Country Club Plaza in the Show Me State’s largest city, the University of Missouri-Kansas City has grown since 1933 to educate over 16,100 students as a public research institution. The U.S. News placed the University of Missouri – Kansas City as America’s 210th Best National University and 118th Top Public College. Also distinguished as the 146th Best Education School, the NCATE-accredited School of Education has an unwavering commitment to urban youth. The Reading Intervention Graduate Certificate is granted to working teachers who seek DESE Special Reading Certification. Containing four courses, the nine-month curriculum focuses on improving the effectiveness of Tier 2&3 reading instruction in diverse classrooms. There’s also a Master of Arts in Language and Literacy offered.

Estimated Cost: $5,508 (Missouri resident) or $14,484 (non-resident)

Learn more about Special Education Reading Certificate Programs at the University of Missouri – Kansas City here.

Top 15 Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor’s Degree Programs

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Special education is an in-demand teaching specialty where curriculum must be adapted to suit the individual learning needs of exceptional children. Public, private, and charter PreK-12 schools hire special education teachers to deliver inclusive education and develop disabled students’ scholastic ability. Their classrooms can include youth with autism, mental retardation, blindness, hearing impairment, emotional disturbance, dyslexia, and other disabilities. Under the IDEA Act, special education teachers must provide quality services to students from preschool through their 21st birthday. Special education is a difficult profession, so teacher attrition and burnout is high. That’s why the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) expects demand for special educators will grow by 35 percent for the next decade. Having at least a bachelor’s degree and state licensure is necessary for these classroom openings. Online technology makes it possible for aspiring teachers to complete their bachelor’s degree more conveniently off-campus. In this article, we’ll recognize the Top 15 Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor’s Degrees. We began by searching the NCES database for online colleges giving special needs teacher training. Schools had to have bachelor’s degrees that were primarily online with applied field experience. Online universities had to fulfill in-state teaching certification requirements. Next, we organized our ranking using the U.S. News and World Report‘s published hierarchy. Preference was given to colleges holding education (NCATE or CAEP) accreditation. Other factors considered were average undergraduate tuition, financial aid, faculty credentials, transferability, class size, teaching placement, and job success rates.

Here are the Top 15 Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor’s Degrees:

1. University of Georgia

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Located in Athens just 60 miles from Atlanta, the University of Georgia is a flagship public, sea-grant RU/VH research institution enrolling approximately 35,000 students. Named Kiplinger’s 10th best public value, the University of Georgia is ranked America’s 61st Top National University with the fifth Best Bachelor’s Degrees Online by the U.S. News and World Report. The Online Learning Division offers a Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP) accredited Bachelor of Science in Special Education for Georgia PreK-12 teaching certification. Requiring 60 credits for admission, the online degree completion program trains educators to serve children with mild to moderate disabilities. Online students must visit the Athens campus twice and complete full-time student teaching placements in their hometowns.

Tuition: $11,622 (in-state) or $29,832 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Georgia’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

2. East Carolina University

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Endowed for $187 million, East Carolina University is a public, doctoral-granting research institution sitting on the Coastal Plain in Greenville to educate 28,200 students. Honored with the 2010 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, East Carolina University is crowned the 194th Best University and 140th Top Education School Nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report. Through the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Partnership East, ECU provides an Online B.S. in Special Education program. Virtual consortium courses prepare majors for teaching disabled youth in K-12 classrooms. The three-year, transfer program from NC community colleges includes public school practicum and a senior internship.

Tuition: $6,580 (in-state) or $22,154 (out-of-state)

Learn more about East Carolina University’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

3. Old Dominion University

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Established by the College of William & Mary in 1930, Old Dominion University is an independent, space-grant research institution educating 24,600+ students in the Larchmont neighborhood of Norfolk. Recognized among “America’s 100 Best College Buys,” Old Dominion University is ranked the 107th Best Education School with the 49th Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees by the U.S. News and World Report. Affiliated with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Electronic Campus, the Darden College of Education offers an Online B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies: Special Education. There’s also a Early Childhood and Adapted Curriculum track online. With Nationcal Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation, the Interdiscplinary Studies: Special Education degree completion program leads to Virginia licensure after 82 credits, including practicum.

Tuition: $9,480 (in-state) or $26,220 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Old Dominion University’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

4. Nova Southeastern University

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With over 164,000 alumni, Nova Southeastern University is a private, non-profit research institution split into 18 SACS-accredited colleges in the suburbs of Davie, Florida. Ranked 10th Nationally on the Campus Ethnic Diversity index, Nova is America’s 235th Best Research University and the South’s 171st Top School according to Forbes. With National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) approval, the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education offers its B.S. in Exceptional Student Education program online. The 120-credit curriculum blends online coursework with teaching practicum and a 12-week internship to satisfy Florida K-12 licensing qualifications. Endorsement in ESOL and Reading is included. South Floridians can work with autistic children in NSU’s Mailman Segal Center for Human Development.

Tuition: $27,660

Learn more about Nova Southeastern University’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

5. University of Southern Mississippi

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Classified as a public, state-assisted RU/H research institution, the University of Southern Mississippi is located in Hattiesburg just 105 miles northeast of New Orleans to educate over 14,800 campus and online students. Ranked 215th nationally by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), Southern Miss is recognized for the 164th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in the U.S. News survey. Among the University of Southern Missisippi’s nine online undergraduate options is a Special Education Bachelor of Science Designed for teaching aides, the 63-credit degree completion program fulfills requirements for Mississippi initial certification. Online courses introduce teaching methods for high-incidence disabilities. Two student teaching placements are included for lower and upper grades.

Tuition: $7,334 (in-state) or $16,204 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Southern Mississippi’s Accredited Online Special Education Degree Programs here.

6. University of Maine – Augusta

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Since 1965, the University of Maine – Augusta has evolved into a premier public, co-educational New England teaching institution with over 6,000 students studying in Maine’s capital and online. Acclaimed for the country’s 30th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Maine – Augusta was declared a “Best Bang for the Buck” in Washington Monthly. Available online, the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies offers Special Education Teaching Certification (K-12). The program includes 15 credits of student teaching and Praxis exams for initial two-year educator licensure. Online major coursework explores behavior analysis, curriculum adaptation, special education law, learning exceptionality, and teacher collaboration.

Tuition: $7,448 (in-state) or $16,688 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Maine – Augusta’s Accredited Online Special Education Degree Programs here.

7. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

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Nestled between the Wabash River and Illinois border, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is Indiana’s oldest private, Roman Catholic liberal arts institution with 1,700 students. With the 212nd Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees nationally, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is crowned the 21st Best Midwestern College by the U.S. News and World Report. The National Council for the Accrediation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited Education Department offers a flexible, online Bachelor of Science in Education with seven concentrations, including Special Education (Mild Intervention). The 118-credit curriculum produces special needs teachers for preschool through 12th grade. Extensive field practicum requires working in urban, rural, elementary, middle, and high school settings. Post-baccalaureate students could also pursue Preschool-3 Mild Intervention or Kindergarten-6 Mild Intervention teacher endorsement online.

Tuition: $28,932

Learn more about Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s Accredited Online Special Education Degree Programs here.

8. Mayville State University

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Attracting around 1,100 students, Mayville State University is a public, co-educational higher learning institution within the North Dakota University System that’s located in the Red River Valley. Picked 10th for College Choice’s most affordable online universities, Mayville State is ranked the Midwest’s fifth Top Public School according to the U.S. News and World Report. Created in 2013, the online Bachelor of Science in Education degree in Special Education meets Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) guidelines. Students select a dual major in Early Childhood, Elementary, or Mathematics Education for Dakota licensure. The average class size is 15 for engaging virtual classrooms. Each B.S.Ed. major requires completing a special needs internship.

Tuition: $6,380 (in-state) or $8,845 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Mayville State University’s Accredited Online Special Education Degree Programs here.

9. University of Wisconsin – Stout

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Designated as the Badger State’s public, four-year polytechnic institution, the University of Wisconsin-Stout serves around 9,500 students online and on its rural campus in Menomonie. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Wisconsin – Stout is the Midwest’s 16th Top Public School with the 111th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the United States. Transfers can pursue the Bachelor of Science in Special Education online after their associate or technical diploma. The 57-credit major prepares graduates for cross-categorical Wisconsin licensure for teaching special needs children ages five to 21. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited school also offers an Online Autism Certificate. Graduates achieve an impressive 100 percent employment rate.

Tuition: $9,203 (in-state) or $16,949 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin – Stout’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

10. University of Central Missouri

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Initially founded as Warrensburg Teachers College in 1871, the University of Central Missouri is a public, state-funded higher education institution enrolling 14,300 students in Warrensburg, Lee’s Summit, and online. As Missouri’s 13th Best Value, the University of Central Missouri is ranked the 75th Best Regional College and 21st Top Public School in the Midwest by the U.S. News and World Report. Through Blackboard, online courses are available for the Bachelor of Science in Special Education. The CAEP-accredited College of Education has four-year tracks for Cross-Categorical Disabilities, Autism/Severe Developmental Disabilities, and Early Childhood Special Education. Online students in the 120-credit program can join one of the nation’s most active CEC chapters.

Tuition: $7,322 (in-state) or $13,767 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Central Missouri’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

11. Liberty University

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Following the motto “Knowledge Aflame,” Liberty University is a private, conservative Christian institution operated by Southern Baptists in Lynchburg, Virginia, to educate over 114,000 online and residential students. With a freshman retention rate of 69 percent, Liberty is named the South’s 80th Best College and America’s 100th Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Provider. The School of Education uses the principles of God’s Word to provide a Bachelor of Science in Special Education. The NCATE-accredited program is available 100 percent online with 120 total credits and one 90-hour field practicum. Graduates can pursue the ASCI Certificate and/or the fifth-year Online MAT in Special Education to teach students with disabilities.

Tuition: $20,109

Learn more about Liberty University’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

12. Stephen F. Austin State University

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Located in East Texas around 140 miles northeast of Houston, Stephen F. Austin State University is one of the state’s four public, independent institutions educating over 12,900 students. Acclaimed for America’s 176th Best Teaching Program, Stephen F. Austin State University is named the 87th Best Midwestern School and 35th Top Public University by the U.S. News and World Report. As winner of the THECB’s Star Award, the Education Department offers an Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies for EC-12 Special Education. Students with 45+ transfer credits can satisfy Texas teaching certificate after the semester-long internship. Online courses build instructional skills for children with learning, behavioral, physical, and intellectual disabilities.

Tuition: $7,560 (in-state) or $16,920 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Stephen F. Austin State University’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

13. St. Petersburg College

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Partnered with the Florida Army National Guard, St. Petersburg College is a public, state “Military Friendly” institution educating approximately 65,000 students in Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, Pinellas Park, and online. Placing high on Community College Week’s top 100 associate degree producers list, St. Petersburg College recently joined the Tampa Bay Educational Partnership. Aspiring special educators can pursue the Exceptional Student Education (K-12) Bachelor of Science Degree online full-time or part-time. Requiring 125 credits, the curriculum includes a Reading and ESOL endorsement. Math, science, language arts, and social science practicum are integrated with a culminating 15-week internship. SPC also offers Early Childhood and Autism certificates.

Tuition: $3,352 (in-state) or $11,607 (out-of-state)

Learn more about St. Petersburg College’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

14. Grand Canyon University

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Grounded in Christian values, Grand Canyon University is a private, for-profit research institution located in Phoenix, Arizona, to serve around 60,700 online students. Named the nation’s second best e-school by Fortune, Grand Canyon University has undergone $200 million expansions to become the 10th Top Online Christian University. Within the College of Education, the pathway to teaching can include the Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education. Available online for initial licensure, the 120-credit program is split into convenient, eight-week terms. Completing two student teaching sessions for elementary and cross-categorical disabilities is required. Online GCU learners can transfer up to 90 credits for acceleration.

Tuition: $17,050

Learn more about Grand Canyon University’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

15. Northcentral University

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Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission – North Central Association (HLC-NCA), Northcentral University is an online private, for-profit research institution based in Prescott, Arizona, to enroll over 10,000 students. Owned by Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC, Northcentral was ranked sixth nationally for education faculty credentials in the U.S. News and World Report survey. The Best Schools also named Northcentral University among the 30 Most Popular Online Universities in America. For Arizona teaching certification, there’s an online Bachelor of Education in Special Education offered. The 3+1 program serves transfers from Rio Salado College with a one-to-one mentoring model. Seasoned, doctoral-trained professors lead interactive lessons for teaching exceptional children.

Tuition: $21,586

Learn more about Northcentral University’s Accredited Online Special Education Bachelor Degree Programs here.

10 Best Special Education Graduate Degree Programs

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Special education teachers are given the gratifying, yet unwieldy task of developing lesson plans that foster learning for disabled youth in PreK-12 classrooms. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), every qualifying child under 21 deserves an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to maximize their chance at academic success. Special education teachers collaborate with general education teachers and school support staff to best help students with disabilities meet goals. America employs approximately 450,700 special education teachers, but jobs will keep growing quickly by 6 percent through 2024. This year, 49 U.S. states have reported special education teacher shortages. The special education field is bursting with opportunity for graduates at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. In this article, we’ll recognize the nation’s 10 Best Special Education Graduate Degree Programs for initial or professional licensure. We consulted with the National Council on Teacher Quality rankings for special education. Graduate programs had to score within the NCTQ’s top 50 in the United States. Key ranking factors were selectivity, student teaching, instructional design, curricula content, classroom management, and outcomes. Next, we used national publications like the U.S. News, Forbes, and Princeton Review to further evaluate each graduate program. Then average annual graduate tuition prices were recorded from the NCES’ College Navigator. Education schools had to hold accreditation from the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) or Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Graduate programs with multiple special education specializations were also prioritized.

Earning a bachelor’s in special education may be sufficient in some states, but others like New York and Ohio require a master’s degree for full licensure. Graduate special education programs are smart investments that boost pay, job stability, and concentration. Master’s degree holders could even advance their careers as special education directors or principals. According to PayScale, annual salaries for Master of Education graduates range from $44,149 to $74,470.

To fulfill your dream of teaching students with intellectual, behavioral, emotional, or physical disabilities, consider the followimg

10 Best Special Education Graduate Degree Programs

1. University of Washington – Seattle

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Endowed for nearly $3.1 billion, the University of Washington-Seattle is one of the West Coast’s oldest public, research institutions educating over 45,200 students from its 703-acre campus on Portage Bay. As America’s 52nd Best National University, the University of Washington – Seattle is recognized for the eighth Best Education School by the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Education partners with 300+ Washington schools for community-focused educator preparation. Graduates can pursue the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education, M.Ed. in High-Incidence Disabilities, M.Ed. in Low-Incidence Teacher Education, or Ph.D. in Special Education.

Tuition: $15,207 (in-state) or $27,255 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Washington – Seattle’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

2. CUNY Hunter College

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Located on Manhattan’s famed Park Avenue, the City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College is a public, co-educational teaching institution serving over 20,800 students from nearly 160 countries. Named among the Princeton Review’s “Best 380 Colleges,” Hunter is the North’s ninth Top Public School according to the U.S. News and World Report. Within the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited School of Education, teachers can earn a M.S.Ed. in Special Education. Specializations include Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Blind and Visually Impaired, Early Childhood, Childhood, Adolescent, or Severe/Multiple Disabilities. The 32 to 44-credit curriculum requires practicum in NYC schools.

Tuition: $10,130 (in-state) or $18,720 (out-of-state)

Learn more about CUNY Hunter College’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

3. University of Maryland – College Park

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Chartered in 1856, the University of Maryland-College Park is a public, land-grant RU/VH research institution educating approximately 38,100 students just four miles from Washington, DC. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Maryland is the nation’s 21st Most Innovative School with the 26th Best Graduate Education. Holding Council For the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation, the College of Education has 91 full-time, tenured faculty mentoring young teachers. Maryland offers a M.A. in Special Education, M.Ed. in Elementary/Middle Special Education, M.Ed. in Severe Disabilities, AGS in Autism Spectrum Disorders, or Ph.D. in Special Education.

Tuition: $11,376 (in-state) or $24,534 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Maryland – College Park’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

4. Old Dominion University

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Serving more than 24,600 students, Old Dominion University is a public, sea-grant research institution located in the Lambert’s Point neighborhood of Norfolk, Virginia. Placed 141st for “contribution to the public good” in Washington Monthly, Old Dominion University is recognized for America’s 107th Top Education School by the U.S. News and World Report. The Darden College of Education holds National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) approval and a Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence. Teachers could earn the M.Ed. in Special Education, M.Ed. in Special Education Research, Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate, or Ph.D. in Special Education.

Tuition: $8,492 (in-state) or $24,800 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Old Dominion University’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

5. University of Louisville

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Classified as a preeminent public, doctoral-granting RU/VH research institution, the University of Louisville serves over 22,300 students from its main 345-acre Belknap campus. Ranked 167th Nationwide in Forbes, Louisville is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for America’s 78th Best Education School. Known for the Kentucky Autism Training Center, the College of Education & Human Development offers 10 special education programs. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited M.Ed. in Special Education has concentrations in Assistive Technology, Autism and ABA, Learning/Behavior Disorders, or Moderate/Severe Disabilities. There’s also a unique Troops to Teachers program.

Tuition: $11,664 (in-state) or $24,274 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Louisville’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

6. Southern Connecticut State University

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Established as a normal school in 1893, Southern Connecticut State University is a public, co-educational teaching institution enrolling around 11,600 students on the Long Island Sound. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Southern Connecticut State University as the 125th Best Regional College and 40th Top Public University in the North. Its National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited School of Education produces the most teachers in Connecticut. Available programs include the M.S. in Special Education (K-12) and M.S. in Collaborative Education (K-12) with optional Reading Specialist Certification. Graduates benefit from training in Southern Connecticut State University’s Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Tuition: $6,188 (in-state) or $17,240 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Southern Connecticut State University’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

7. University of New Mexico

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With total enrollment over 27,300, the University of New Mexico is the state’s largest public, research institution operating campuses in Albuquerque, Gallup, Raos, and Los Alamos. For 2016, the U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of New Mexico as the 180th Best National University and 100th Top Public School. Celebrating the Southwest’s diversity, the College of Education prepares graduates for multilingual, inclusive classrooms. Special educators could pursue the Nactional Council Accrediation for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited M.A. Special Education for Intellectual Disabilities or Learning/Behavioral Exceptionalities and Ed.D. in Special Education. UNM also grants an Educational Diagnosis Certificate.

Tuition: $6,096 (in-state) or $20,602 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of New Mexico’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

8. Indiana University – Bloomington

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As an elite Association of American Uuniversities (AAU) member, Indiana University-Bloomington is a flagship public, research institution educating more than 42,500 students in the state’s sixth largest city. Indiana University – Bloomington is America’s 75th Best National University with the 28th Best Graduate Education according to the U.S. News and World Report. The School of Education has produced 20 Indiana Teacher of the Year awardees. Graduate students could pursue the M.S.Ed. in Special Education either on-campus or online through IUConnectED. Beyond licensure, there’s a Ph.D. in Special Education and Preparing Educators of Students with Autism Certificate.

Tuition: $8,442 (in-state) or $26,812 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Indiana University – Bloomington’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

9. Saginaw Valley State University

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Opened in 1963, Saginaw Valley State University is Michigan’s youngest public, co-educational higher education institution serving over 9,800 students near the Saginaw River. Given Carnegie’s “Community Engagement” classification, SVSU was named the country’s 60th Best College for Veterans in Military Times magazine. Using Tk20, the most innovative campus software available, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited College of Education prepares teachers with the lowest tuition statewide. Along with a Master of Arts in Teaching, M.Ed. endorsements are available for ASD, learning disabilities, reading specialist, or childhood special education. There’s also an Ed.S. in Special Education Directorship.

Tuition: $12,336 (in-state) or $23,515 (out-of-state)

Lern more about Saginaw Valley State University’s Special Education Graduate Degree Programs here.

10. George Mason University

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Featuring four campus in Northern Virginia’s Piedmont region, George Mason University is a public, state-funded research institution educating over 33,900 students. The U.S. News and World Report named George Mason University the 68th Top Public School and 18th Most Innovative University nationally. As America’s 51st Best Teacher Preparer, the College of Education has National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) approval and follows Council For Exceptional Children (CEC) guidelines. Educators could earn a M.Ed. in Special Education, M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education, M.Ed. in Special Education Leadership, or Ph.D. in Special Education. Some include an American Sign Language Sequence.

Tuition: $10,328 (in-state) or $28,448 (out-of-state)

Learn more about George Mason University’s Special Education Graduate Programs here.

Related Links

Top 15 Accredited Schools Online Offering Doctoral Degrees in Special Education

Top 10 Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degree Programs

Special Education Degrees

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An associate degree is a two-year undergraduate program completed after a high school diploma or GED for professional training. In the communication sciences and disorders major, an associate provides a springboard for transferring into a bachelor’s program. Requirements vary by state, but an associate degree generally will qualify you for becoming a speech-language pathology assistant too. Speech-Language Pathology Assistants work under speech pathologists to facilitate clients’ treatment for communication or swallowing problems. According to PayScale, speech-language pathology assistants earn a median yearly salary of $38,980. Income potential rises steadily with each degree level obtained. If you want to sharpen your clinical knowledge and skills before a bachelor’s, below we’ve listed the Top 10 Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degree Programs.

To form our ranking, we used primarily the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator tool. Here we filtered two-year and four-year colleges in the United States offering associate degrees for communication sciences and disorders or speech-language pathology. Results were narrowed down by researching each individual school. Extra points were given to institutions with national rankings, such as U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, or Washington Monthly. Every associate program had to be regionally accredited and fully transferable to four-year colleges with junior standing. Preference was given to degrees featuring field practicum for resume-building experience. Other factors considered were tuition, financial aid, student-faculty ratio, breadth of study, and placement rates.

For aspiring speech-language pathologists, earning an associate degree after graduation could be an excellent first step. Associate programs offer the opportunity to satisfy general education core courses while paying lower tuition. Two-year colleges charge an average tuition of just $3,435! Many also argue that associate degrees pave a smoother transition into baccalaureate study. In fact, Community College Daily reported that associate degree holders are 49 percent more likely to finish a bachelor’s.

Here are the Top 10 Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees:

1. University of Cincinnati – Clermont College

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Enrolling around 3,100 students, the University of Cincinnati-Clermont College is a public, regional extension center of Ohio’s second largest research institution. Since 1972, Clermont’s 91-acre suburban campus in Batavia has offered over 35 associate’s degrees. Within the Science & Health Department, there’s a two-year Associate of Science in Pre-Communication Sciences and Disorders offered. The open enrollment program limits lab courses to 20 students for individualized learning. Graduates can seamlessly transfer to the University of Cincinnati, America’s 140th Best College according to the U.S. News and World Report.

Tuition: $6,052 (in-state) or $13,284 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Cinnicinati – Clermont College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

2. Elms College

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Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1928, Elms College is a private, non-profit Catholic liberal arts institution enrolling approximately 1,200 students on its 27-acre urban campus in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Offering 33 academic majors, Elms is currently named the North’s 23rd Best College and 10th Top Value by the U.S. News and World Report. The Communication Sciences and Disorders Division grants an A.A. in Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA). Requiring 69 credits, this two-year program includes two clinical practica rehabilitating language disorders. Over 97 percent of graduates transfer to top schools like BU and Gallaudet.

Tuition: $32,280

Learn more about Elms College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

3. Santa Fe College

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Featuring over 50 accredited programs, Santa Fe College is a public, state-funded higher education institution serving over 15,800 students from its main 175-acre urban campus in Gainesville, Florida. In 2015, Santa Fe was ranked #1 nationwide with the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Grounded in liberal arts, the A.A. Communication Sciences & Disorders program studies the strategies for diagnosing and treating speech problems. The 60-credit curriculum prepares students for junior-level transfer to the University of Florida. Select courses are available in Starke, Alachua, and Archer too.

Tuition: $2,541 (in-state) or $9,189 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Santa Fe College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

4. Granite State College

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Headquartered in Concord, New Hampshire, Granite State College is a multi-campus and online public, state-assisted teaching institution founded in 1972. Ranked #1 in New England by Washington Monthly, Granite State also has America’s Best Online Undergraduate Programs according to the U.S. News and World Report. The School of Education awards a Communication Sciences and Disorders (A.S.) degree with supervised field experience. Whether taken online or at 11 statewide centers, students satisfy certification requirements for speech-language pathology assisting. Coursework in the six-term curriculum offers a student-faculty ratio of 13:1.

Tuition: $7,257 (in-state) or $8,025 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Granite State’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

5. Armstrong State University

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Established in 1935 by Mayor Thomas Gamble, Armstrong State University is a four-year, public institution sitting proudly atop a 268-acre suburban campus in Savannah, Georgia, just 25 miles from Tybee Island. Educating over 7,000 students, Armstrong grants over 100 regionally accredited programs with in-state tuition for Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama. The Department for Rehabilitation Sciences has an Associate of Science track for Communication Sciences and Disorders. This 63-credit program spans four semesters full-time to lay the foundation for future speech-language pathology study.

Tuition: $5,360 (in-state) or $15,616 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Armstrong State University’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

6. Seminole State College

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As the Florida College System’s eighth largest public institution, Seminole State College registers over 32,700 students yearly on its main 40-acre urban campus in Sanford. Endowed for $24.6 million, Seminole State ranked 15th Nationally in Community College Week for associate degrees conferred. Among the college’s 190 programs is an Associate of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The 60-credit, transfer-oriented degree includes courses from biology to psychology and humanities. Each student is assigned a “Success Specialist” to fulfill prerequisites for the University of Central Florida.

Tuition: $3,131 (in-state) or $11,456 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Seminole State College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

7. College of DuPage

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With a high freshmen retention rate of 70 percent, the College of DuPage is a two-year, public junior college serving over 29,000 students in District 502 from a 273-acre suburban campus in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. As the state’s second largest education provider, DuPage offers more than 50 associate degree options. One notable program is the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Speech-Language Pathology Assistant. Since 1999, this 64-credit curriculum surveys communication sciences and disorders to satisfy licensing. Students complete two, eight-week rotations for 300 clinical hours.

Tuition: $5,275 (in-state) or $12,985 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the College of DuPage’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

8. Prairie State College

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First opened in 1958 by First Christian Church, Prairie State College is a two-year, public technical college enrolling more than 12,000 students from its 123 suburban acres in Chicago Heights. According to CNN Money, PSC is among Illinois’ Top 25 Community College Values with $3,432 in-state tuition. With daytime, evening, or weekend courses, the Associate of Arts in Communication Disorders is available. The 62-credit, pre-professional program unlocks transfer for ASHA-accredited bachelor’s degrees. Coursework taps into psychology, child development, health science, sign language, linguistics, and more.

Tuition: $3,432 (in-state) or $9,240 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Prairie State College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

9. Shoreline Community College

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Located on a 83-acre, waterfront campus in Shoreview Park just 10 miles from Seattle, Washington, Shoreline Community College is a public, two-year institution educating over 13,700 students. SCC was ranked the 18th Best Value Community College in 2016 with a median mid-career salary of $54,000 according to PayScale. SCC grants a 90-credit Associate in Arts degree in Speech & Hearing Sciences. Transfer agreements exist with Eastern Washington, Washington State, and University of Washington. Areas of study will include phonetics, physiology, communication disorders, bilingualism, and language development.

Tuition: $3,730 (in-state) or $6,451 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Shoreline Community College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

10. Miami Dade College

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Endowed for $306 million, Miami Dade College is a large public, eight-campus community college established five decades ago in “Magic City.” As Florida’s largest educator, MDC has received the Advancing Diversity Award for educating over 165,000 students speaking over 90 native languages. Among Miami Dade College’s 300+ degrees is a two-year Associate in Arts for Speech Pathology and Audiology. Consisting of 60 credits, this pathway program guarantees admission into one of Florida’s four-year colleges. Miami Dade College’s overall success rate is 89 percent for full-time students.

Tuition: $2,834 (in-state) or $9,661 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Miami Dade College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Associate Degrees here.

Top 10 Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs

Special Education Degrees

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Early intervention is a fast-growing special education field devoted to addressing developmental delays and disabilities at the earliest age possible. Under the IDEA Act Part C, all 50 states must make early intervention available to at-risk infants and toddlers. Research has proven many benefits of early intervention, including higher intellectual achievement, less grade retention, better graduation rates, and improved health outcomes. Early intervention specialists are child development experts who design and modify evidence-based plans to improve young children’s ability. Whether in a school, childcare center, clinic, or home consulting firm, early intervention jobs reward an average yearly salary of $45,653. Early intervention specialists generally must hold master’s-level training with state teaching certification. In this article, we’ll countdown the Top 10 Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs for assessing young children from birth to 5. We began by narrowing down the regionally accredited colleges in the United States offering this unique specialization. Preference was given to education schools approved by the NCATE or CAEP. Then, we used the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings to guide our selections. Extra points were given to schools with rankings from other publications, such as the Princeton Review. All programs had to satisfy that state’s teaching certification requirements. Early intervention master’s degrees must have included practical experience, i.e. student teaching or field practicum. Other factors considered were exam pass rates, class size, flexibility, faculty strengths, and financial aid.

Individuals with a vocational calling to work with very young children before kindergarten should consider becoming an early intervention specialist. The job outlook is excellent because present demand for early intervention services are growing. According to the NCES, the number of children diagnosed with disabilities grew by 2 million from 1991 to 2005. Early intervention is crucial during these most formative years to give children an increased chance at success.

Earning any of the following Top 10 Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs will prepare you for playing a pivotal role in children’s development!

1. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

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Established as America’s first public higher learning institution in 1789, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill educates over 29,000 from its 729-acre suburban campus just 28 miles outside of Raleigh. Named a “Public Ivy” by Richard Moll, UNC Chapel Hill is ranked the 30th Best National University with the 35th Top Education School in the U.S. World and News Report survey. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited School of Education awards a Master of Education with Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support (Birth-K). The cohort-based, two-year program has tracks for licensed teachers and initial endorsement students. M.Ed. students benefit from working with the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Institute and potential full tuition support.

Tuition: $9,143 (in-state) or $26,354 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

2. University of Pittsburgh

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Endowed for $3.5 billion, the University of Pittsburgh is mega public, state-assisted research institution serving more than 28,600 Panthers from a 132-acre urban campus in the Oakland neighborhood. Included in Princeton Review’s “Colleges That Pay You Back,” Pitt is recognized by the U.S. World and News Report as America’s 66th Top University with the 30th Best Education school. Leading to PA Behavior Specialist licensure, the School of Education offers a M.Ed. in Special Education for Early Intervention with an optional Autism specialization. The 46-credit curriculum centers on serving children with disabilities from birth to five years. Educators practice their skills in the on-campus Falk Laboratory School and Office of Child Development (OCD).

Tuition: $21,260 (in-state) or $34,944 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Pittsburgh’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

3. University of Oregon

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Sitting along the Willamette River on a 295-acre urban campus in Eugene, the University of Oregon is the state’s flagship public, co-educational RU/VH research institution with over 24,100 students. Ranked Kiplinger’s 93rd Best Public Value, Oregon was crowned the 103rd Best National University with the third Best Special Education Program by the U.S. World and News Report. The College of Education offers licensed teachers a M.Ed. in Special Education with Early Intervention-Early Childhood Endorsement. The four-term program teaches activity-based, family-guided practices for serving young children with special needs. Master’s students apply their skills with two supervised practicum on-campus in the HEDCO Clinic and in local school districts.

Tuition: $14,256 (in-state) or $24,165 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Oregon’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

4. Ohio University

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Classified as a selective public, doctoral-granting RU/VH research institution, Ohio University is headquartered on a main 1,850-acre suburban campus in Athens along the Hocking River with over 23,000 students. Recognized for Princeton Review’s #16 “Most Beautiful Campus,” OU is America’s 135th Best University and 99th Top Education School according to the U.S. News and World Report. Within the Patton College of Education, there’s an NCATE-accredited Master of Education in Special Education for Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (ages 3-8). Ranging from 30 to 71 credits based on teacher licensure, the program meets Ohio endorsement requirements. ECIS majors complete a student teaching internship and research at on-campus facilities like the Stevens Literacy Center.

Tuition: $9,510 (in-state) or $17,502 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Ohio University’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

5. University of Maine

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With enrollment over 10,900, the University of Maine is the state’s largest flagship public, land-grant research institution standing atop a 660-acre rural campus in Orono near Bangor. According to the U.S. News and World Report, UMaine is the 168th Best University with the 93rd Best Teacher’s College nationwide. The College of Education and Human Development holds NCATE accreditation for its M.Ed. in Special Education with Early Intervention Concentration. Available wholly online, the 36-credit program leads to Maine certification as Teacher of Children with Disabilities (Birth-K). Students benefit from small classes, virtual simulations, and applied field practicum. Applicants with a minimum 3.0 GPA have no GRE or MAT requirement.

Tuition: $7,524 (in-state) or $23,940 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Maine’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

6. Pace University

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Founded in 1906 by the Pace Brothers, Pace University is a private, non-sectarian institution serving over 12,700 students from the quiet suburbs of Pleasantville, New York, and bustle of Manhattan’s Financial District. Placed in PayScale’s Top 15 percent for Return On Investment (ROI), Pace is ranked the 180th Best National University by the U.S. News and World Report. Within the NCATE-accredited School of Education, students can pursue a Master of Science for Teachers (MST) in Early Childhood Development, Learning, and Intervention. This 45-credit program offers dual early childhood and special education certification (Birth-Grade 2). Two student teaching experiences are required in preschool and primary years. In 2015, 98 percent of Pace graduates passed NYS certification exams.

Tuition: $28,080

Learn more about Pace University’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

7. Portland State University

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Located on a 50-acre urban campus in downtown Portland since 1946, Portland State University is a public, co-educational research institution enlightening over 28,200 students. Ranked 11th Nationally in Princeton Review’s “Top 50 Green Colleges,” PSU was recognized by the USNWR for the country’s 140th Best Graduate Education Programs. Among them is the Master’s in Special Education with Early Intervention Special Education (EISE) Licensure. The online, part-time program consists of 64 credits. Cohorts learn the provide culturally competent services to children (Birth-5) with disabilities. Fieldwork exposes students to classroom, home-based, and child care models. M.Ed. students also participate in the Parent-Infant Interaction Project to enhance infant development.

Tuition: $12,816 (in-state) or $20,016 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Portland State University’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

8. University of New Orleans

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Within the Urban 13 Association, the University of New Orleans is a mid-sized public, research institution serving over 8,400 students from its 195-acre urban campus in “The Big Easy.” Noted among Princeton Review’s “Best 380 Colleges,” UNO was deemed the South’s 147th Top School by Forbes magazine. The College of Education and Human Development has been NCATE-accredited for 30+ years to confer 17 programs, including a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) for Special Education Early Intervention (Birth-5). Encompassing 36 credits, the curriculum satisfies Louisiana’s initial teaching certification qualifications. For the capstone internship, past placements have included GulfSouth Autism Center, Sensational Kids, and Families Helping Families.

Tuition: $7,234 (in-state) or $20,673 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of New Orleans’ Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

9. Boise State University

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Although founded by the Episcopal Church in 1932, Boise State University has grown into a public, research institution with over 22,200 students on a 175-acre urban campus in Idaho’s capital. With America’s 71st Best Education School, BSU is the West’s 61st Best Regional College according to the U.S. News and World Report. Over four full-time semesters, students can earn the College of Education’s Master in Teaching (M.I.T.) in Early Childhood Intervention. Offered fully online, the NCATE-accredited program unlocks Idaho’s early childhood special education licensure. For 37 total credits, the curriculum includes evidence-based practices for exceptional children from birth to kindergarten. Graduates benefit from BSU’s collaboration with the Lee Pesky Learning Center.

Tuition: $6,058 (in-state) or $20,108 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Boise State University’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

10. Lindenwood University

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Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, Lindenwood University is a private, co-educational liberal arts institution serving over 12,200 students from its 500-are urban campus in Saint Charles, Missouri, just 24 miles from St. Louis. According to the USNWR, Lindenwood is the Midwest’s 108th Best Regional University. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredited School of Education awards a Master of Arts in Education with an Early Intervention emphasis. Within the 33-credit curriculum, licensed teachers take courses in three strands: autism, vision impairment, and deaf/hearing impairment. To satisfy Missouri certification, the program includes field practice, including home-visit observations. M.A. applicants should have satisfactory Praxis scores and two or more years of teaching experience.

Tuition: $15,672

Learn more about Lindenwood University’s Early Intervention Master’s Degree Programs here.

Top 10 Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs

Special Education Degrees

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In the United States, one in 12 children has a speech, language, or swallowing impairment that requires treatment. Another 17.9 million U.S. adults suffer from speech troubles. Earning a bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders will train you to fulfill this growing healthcare demand. Although an undergraduate major isn’t sufficient for becoming a speech-language pathologist, it builds the foundation for master’s study. Bachelor’s programs in communicative disorders can also open doors to special education, gerontology, ASL interpreting, and vocational rehabilitation. Some graduates become speech-language pathologist assistants (SLPA) for a median annual salary of $44,625.

Below we’ve listed the Top 10 Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs to begin your speech science career. First, we surveyed the 268 baccalaureate-level options accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). We then narrowed down the universities using rankings for the U.S. News and World Report. We only focused on colleges placing within the nation’s Top 100 for Academic Excellence. Next, we reviewed each program’s communicative disorders curriculum for breadth and depth. Preference was given to bachelor’s degrees allowing for specializations. Universities had to offer experiential learning, such as studying abroad, practicum, or internships. We also noted each school’s average undergraduate tuition using the NCES College Navigator.

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communicative disorders is usually the first step towards licensure for speech-language pathologists. One NSSHLA report declared that 93 percent of communicative disorders majors enroll in graduate school. This allied health degree covers the fundamental skills for diagnosing, treating, and preventing vocal difficulties before master’s admission. That’s excellent because the speech-language pathology field is expected to add 28,900 more jobs by 2024!

Discover your calling for helping people vocalize sounds properly by checking out these Top 10 Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs:

1. New York University

nyuni
Founded in 1831, New York University is one of the nation’s largest private, non-sectarian research institutions with over 57,200 students studying in Lower Manhattan. The U.S. News named New York University the 32nd Best National University and 21st Most Innovative School. The Steinhardt School offers a B.S. in Communicative Sciences and Disorders with American Speech-Language-Hearing Assocation (ASHA) accreditation. This full-time, 128-credit program includes weekly labs at NYU’s Langone Medical Center. Minors are available in linguistics, foreign languages, or American Sign Language. Many students within the Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Program study abroad at the university’s 13 global sites.

Tuition: $47,750

Learn more about New York University’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Program here.

2. Case Western Reserve University

casewestern
Located just five miles from downtown Cleveland, Ohio, Case Western Reserve University is a private, doctoral-granting RU/VH institution with over 10,200 students. Declared a “Big-Leaguer” in TIME magazine, Case is ranked the 37th Best National University by the U.S. News and World Report. In the College of Arts & Sciences, there’s an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) aligned Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences with a concentration in Communication Disorders. The 45-credit major includes courses in linguistics, psychology, American Sign Language, hearing science, and physiology. Seniors complete a clinical speech pathology practicum at the on-campus Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center.

Tuition: $44,560

Learn more about Case Western Reserve University’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

3. Syracuse University

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Endowed for $1.1 billion, Syracuse University is a private, non-sectarian institution with “very high research activity” and over 21,200 students on its Central New York campus. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Syracuse is the 61st Best National University and 45th Top Value. The College of Arts & Sciences grants a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The 34-credit, American Speech-Language-Hearing (ASHA) approved major can be combined with a Neuroscience Integrated Learning track. Seniors receive clinical training at the Gebbie Clinic. Students can also join Syracuse’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) chapter.

Tuition: $43,318

Learn more about Syracuse University’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

4. University of Georgia

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Under the Morrill Act, the University of Georgia is a selective public, land-grant research institution serving around 35,100 Bulldogs from Athens just an hour from Atlanta. University of Georgia tied for 61st Best National University and 21st Top Public School in the U.S. News and World Report survey. Within the National Council For Accreditation of Teach Education (NCATE) accredited College of Education, there’s a Bachelor of Science in Education with a Communication Sciences and Disorders specialization offered. This upper-division, 33-hour major prepares students for graduate studies in speech-language pathology. Students gain experience in the University of Georgia’s Speech and Hearing Clinic in Aderhold Hall.

Tuition: $11,622 (in-state) or $29,832 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Georgia’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

5. Brigham Young University

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Operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University is a conservative, private research institution serving 29,600 students in Provo, Utah. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Brigham Young University is America’s 66th Best University and 16th Greatest Value. The McKay School of Education awards an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association accredited Bachelor’s in Science in Communication Disorders. This limited-enrollment program contains 51 major credits in speech science. Students benefit from clinical practicum at sites like American Fork Hospital and Primary Children’s Medical Center. Students also practice testing on the high-tech Virtual Audiometer.

Tuition: $5,150

Learn more about Brigham Young University’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

6. Baylor University

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As Texas’ oldest private, Baptist research institution, Baylor University enrolls over 16,700 students in Waco between Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. For 2016, Baylor was ranked as the 72nd Best National University by the U.S. News and World Report. The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences grants an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) approved Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The 36-credit major can be specialized with a Deaf Education Concentration or American Sign Language Minor. Students learn clinical methods in Baylor’s Audiology Clinic. Communicative Speech Disorder majors also run a literacy intervention program called Camp Success.

Tuition: $40,198

Learn more about Baylor University’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

7. University of Massachusetts – Amherst

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In the Five College Consortium, the University of Massachusetts – Amherst is a flagship public, land-grant institution educating over 29,200 from New England’s “Knowledge Corridor.” The U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Massachusetts – Amherst as the country’s 75th Best National University. Within the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, there’s a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders. This American Speech-Language-Hearing Association aligned, 42-credit major lays the foundation for assessing audiological impairments. Clinical practicum is available in Amherst’s Center for Language, Speech, and Hearing. Students could also pursue the Cognitive Science Post-Baccalaureate Certificate to gain additional knowledge and skills.

Tuition: $14,171 (in-state) or $30,504 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Massachusetts – Amherst’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

8. University of Tulsa

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Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, the University of Tulsa is a private, non-profit higher learning institution serving approximately 4,300 students from Oklahoma’s “Oil Capital.” Tulsa University is crowned the 86th Best National University by the U.S. News and World Report. With ASHA approval, the Oxley College of Health Sciences awards a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The four-year, 120-credit curriculum can include a minor in deaf education or early intervention. TU’s Mary K. Chapman Speech and Hearing Clinic is also partnered with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research.

Tuition: $39,521

Learn more about the University of Tulsa’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

9. University of Vermont

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As a “Public Ivy,” the University of Vermont is the state’s flagship, land-grant research institution with over 11,800 students enrolled in Burlington. The U.S. News and World Report named Vermont the 89th Best University Nationally. Within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, there’s a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders available. The 120-credit curriculum follows ASHA guidelines for a Speech Language Pathology Assistant Track. Students benefit from audiology observations in UVM’s Eleanor M. Luse Center. Communicative Speech Disorder majors also study abroad in countries like Germany and Brazil.

Tuition: $16,768 (in-state) or $39,160 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Vermont’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

10. Florida State University

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Standing in sunny Tallahassee, Florida State University is a public, space-grant and sea-grant research institution endowed for $624 million and enrolling over 41,700 students. The U.S. News and World Report regards Florida State University as America’s 96th Best University. The College of Communication & Information holds American Speech-Language-Hearing Association accreditation for a Bachelor of Science in Communication Science and Disorders. The 42-credit major explores the neurological bases for speech. Students can add a 12-credit Certificate in Developmental Disabilities. Applied practice is included within Florida State’s L.L. Schendel Speech and Hearing Clinic.

Tuition: $6,507 (in-state) or $21,673 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Florida State University’s Bachelor’s in Communicative Disorders Degree Programs here.

Top 10 Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs

Special Education Degrees

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Speech pathology is a therapeutic specialty in which licensed clinicians diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathologists work with clients across the lifespan who suffer from conditions like traumatic brain injury, deafness, Parkinson’s disease, cleft palate, and dysphagia. SLPs customize treatment plans to address clients’ vocal needs and improve their language processing. Around 135,400 Speech Language Pathologists work across the United States, primarily in schools, hospitals, physician offices, and nursing facilities. Speech pathology is a high-paying career offering an average yearly salary of $76,900. If you’re interested in teaching people to communicate more effectively, the following Top 10 Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs offer the best chance to qualify as a professional!

To get started on creating this list, we browsed through the 263 master’s degrees with accreditation by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). We focused on programs that fulfilled the qualifications for ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP). Next, we narrowed down master’s programs based on the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings. We only picked from speech pathology offerings ranked in the field’s Top 20. Affordability was judged based on the NCES’ average yearly graduate tuition prices. We reviewed student outcomes data for every program to determine job placement and Praxis exam pass rates. O ther important factors considered were class size, specializations, clinical experiences, research opportunities, and faculty credentials.

Since now is an excellent time for caring, compassionate individuals to consider pursuing training in speech and hearing sciences. The U.S. News and World Report recognized speech-language pathologists for holding America’s #19 Best Healthcare Job. Increases in disability prevalence will spark much faster-than-average job growth by 21 percent through 2024. Therefore, around 28,900 new jobs will be created for master’s degree holders.

So find your passion helping people communicate by checking out these Top 10 Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs.

1. University of Iowa

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Established in 1847, the University of Iowa is the state’s oldest public, space-grant research institution with over 32,100 students enrolled in Iowa City. The University of Iowa is recognized by the U.S. News for the #1 Speech Pathology Program. The M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology offers ASHA-accredited clinical training. Along with school and non-school practicum, students complete an international service project in China or Nicaragua. Thesis research takes place in the Wendell Johnson Hearing Center. In 2015, 100 percent of SLP graduates passed the Praxis exam.

Tuition: $8,396 (in-state) or $25,574 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Iowa’s Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

2. Vanderbilt University

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Endowed for $4.1 billion, Vanderbilt University is an elite private, non-sectarian research institution serving more than 12,680 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Vandy Medical Center was named America’s 15th Best Medical School by the U.S. News. Here there’s a M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology program accredited through the ASHA. For 24 months full-time, the 49-credit curriculum follows specialty tracks in Schools, Voice, or Early Identification of Children with Hearing Loss. Clinical practice is available in the Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology. The program has a job placement rate of 100 percent.

Tuition: $43,620

Learn more about Vanderbilt University’s Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

3. Purdue University

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Under the Morrill Act, Purdue University is a flagship public, land-grant research institution educating over 39,400 students in West Lafayette, Indiana. With America’s fourth largest international population, Purdue is the country’s 21st most innovative school. The M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology program fulfills ASHA clinical requirements. Consisting of 36 credits, the curriculum covers phonetics, language acquisition, audiology, aural rehabilitation, and hearing science. SLP majors can join Purdue’s NSSLHA chapter, study abroad in Zambia, and gain experience in the M.D. Steer Audiology Clinic.

Tuition: $9,208 (in-state) or $28,010 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Purdue University’s Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Progams here.

4. University of Washington

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As a prestigious public AAU member, the University of Washington is located in Seattle’s University District to educate over 45,200 students. According to the U.S. News, UW is the nation’s #1 medical school for primary care. The M.S. in Medical Speech-Language Pathology is delivered using a community-based clinical model. With ASHA accreditation, the two-year program focuses on treating communicative disorders in adult and pediatrics. Students work at the UW Speech & Hearing Clinic. MSLP graduates achieve a median Praxis score of 187.

Tuition: $15,207 (in-state) or $27,255 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Washington’s Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

5. University of Pittsburgh

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Located in “Steel City,” the University of Pittsburgh is a public, state-assisted RU/VH research institution affiliated with Carnegie Mellon to serve over 28,600. The U.S. News places Pitt 24th among the nation’s top public schools. Within the School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, there’s an ASHA-accredited M.A./M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology. Over six trimesters, the 60-credit program prepares graduates for audiological treatment. Four clinical practica are included, including one at Pitt Medical Center. Master’s thesis can be completed in the award-winning Cochlear Implant Processing Lab.

Tuition: $21,260 (in-state) or $34,944 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Pittsburgh’s Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

6. Ohio State University

ohiostate
With the nation’s third largest enrollment over 64,800, Ohio State University is a public, land-grant and sea-grant research institution located in Columbus. According to the USNWR, Ohio State is the 52nd best overall university nationwide. Leading to the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), there’s a M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology offered. This two-year, full-time program has specializations in Aging, Applied Developmental Science in Education, Disability Studies, or Singing Health. The 60-credit curriculum includes four advanced clinical practica, either on-campus in the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic or off-campus.

Tuition: $11,560 (in-state) or $31,032 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Ohio State University’s Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

7. Boston University

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Nestled in Boston’s famous Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, Boston University is a private, non-sectarian institution with “very high research activity” and over 33,400 students. BU is recognized for America’s 29th best medical research center. Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences offers a two-year M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology. This ASHA-approved program has a first-time Praxis exam pass rate of 100 percent. Small class sizes give students one-on-one interaction with master clinicians. Four semesters of clinical practicum place SLP majors in Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and more.

Tuition: $47,422

Learn more about Boston University’s Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

8. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

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Overlooking the Mississippi River, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is located in Minneapolis and Saint Paul to serve over 50,600 students as a public, land-grant research hub. The U.S. News named UM-Twin Cities the 25th top public school nationally. With ASHA accreditation, the M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology is available for evidence-based, clinical training. Students can select a Bilingual and Multicultural Emphasis while working with the Spanish Vocational Group. Hands-on practice with speech, stuttering, and audiology services is completed at UM’s Davis Center.

Tuition: $15,844 (in-state) or $24,508 (out-of-state)

Learn mmore about the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities’ Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

9. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

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Opened in 1789, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is a “Public Ivy,” research and liberal arts institution educating over 29,000 Tar Heels near Raleigh. According to the USNWR, UNC Chapel Hill is the 13th top value school nationwide. The top-ranked School of Medicine has offered a 60-credit M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology for 30 years. Clinical or non-clinical tracks are available with at least 400 practicum hours. There’s also a bilingual option in Spanish that includes a service learning trip to Antigua, Guatemala.

Tuition: $9,143 (in-state) or $26,354 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

10. Northwestern University

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Standing just 12 miles north of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University is a private, non-sectarian research institution enrolling around 20,900 students. NU was lauded as America’s 12th best national university by the U.S. News. In the School of Communication, there’s a M.S. in Speech, Language, and Learning with ASHA accreditation. Future pathologists spend seven quarters full-time in didactic and clinical training, including at Chicago’s Swallowing Center. Specializations are available in Early Intervention (birth-3), School-Aged Children, or Neurogenic Disorders. Northwestern has a 100 percent Praxis exam pass rate.

Tuition: $48,624

Learn more about Northwestern University’s Master’s in Speech Pathology Degree Programs here.

Top 10 Doctor of Audiology (AuD) Degrees

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Audiology is an in-demand medical field focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of ear-related problems. Using audiometers, audiologists assess patients’ hearing ability and balance to identify impairments. Audiologists aren’t medical doctors, but they’re doctoral-level, licensed healthcare providers who treat patients across the lifespan. Their duties range from cleaning earwax and testing hearing aids to fitting cochlear implants and counseling deaf patients. As more “baby boomers” suffer hearing loss, employment in audiology is expected to skyrocket by 29 percent through 2024. For individuals aspiring to help people hear sound and speech, we’ve listed the following Top 10 Doctor of Audiology (AuD) Degrees.

To begin, we researched professional doctorates with clinical, practice-oriented training in audiology that satisfy licensing requirements. We found 74 U.S. universities granting AuD programs with accreditation from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Next, we narrowed down colleges based on the prestige of their rankings from the U.S. News and World Report. All chosen universities are top-tier and nationally ranked for excellence. We consulted with the NCES’ College Navigator tool to record every school’s average annual graduate tuition cost. We also combed through prospective programs’ websites to analyze the curriculum’s rigor, specialization, and clinical practicum. Other important factors were location, class size, resources, faculty strength, audiology Praxis exam rates, and job placement.

Many students question whether earning a doctorate is worth the time, money, and effort. In audiology, the hefty investment can pay off. The U.S. News and World Report recognized audiologists for having America’s 18th best healthcare job. On average, audiologists earn a healthy yearly salary of $77,420 helping patients address hearing or balance impairments. If you’re interested in this medical specialty, check out the following Top 10 Doctor of Audiology (AuD) Degrees:

1. Washington University in St. Louis

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Named for George Washington in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis is a private, non-sectarian research institution enrolling over 14,100 students from Missouri’s largest metro. The U.S. News ranked WUSTL as America’s 15th Best University and 23rd Top Value. In the School of Medicine, there’s an ASHA and ACAE-accredited Doctor of Audiology degree. Students can declare a Pediatric Audiology Specialization (PAS). The final fourth year is devoted to clinical externship available within 140+ healthcare organizations. AuD students also participate in a T35 Short-Term Research Training Program.

Tuition: $47,300

Learn more about Washington University in St. Louis’ Doctor of Audiology Degree Program here.

2. University of Florida

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As America’s eighth largest public, land-grant college, the University of Florida enrolls over 52,500 students yearly in subtropical Gainesville. According to the U.S. News, UF is the 47th Best University and 18th Most Innovative School in the United States. Either on-campus or online, the College of Public Health awards a Doctor of Audiology degree. This four-year, post-bachelor’s program consists of 110 semester credits approved by ASHA. Clinical training utilizes resources in UF’s Health Sciences Center and externship sites. AuD candidates join the Student Academy of Audiology too.

Tuition: $10,770 (in-state) or $27,335 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Florida’s Doctor of Audiology Degree Programs here.

3. University of Texas – Austin

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Declared a “Public Ivy,” the University of Texas-Austin is hold space-grant status for over $550 million in research expenditures and 51,300 students enrolled in Texas’ capital. The U.S. News and World Report picked UT-Austin as the country’s 52nd Best University and 16th Top Public College. Within the Moody College of Education, there’s a 105-credit Doctor of Audiology available. This four-year program satisfies the requirements for ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence. Students build expertise on disorders of the auditory system in Austin’s Speech & Hearing Center and off-campus internships.

Tuition: $10,934 (in-state) or $20,762 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Texas – Austin’s Doctor of Audiology Program here.

4. University of Maryland – College Park

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Endowed for $283 million, the University of Maryland-College Park is a public, land-grant research institution located just four miles from Washington, DC, to serve 38,100 students. The U.S. News crowned UMD the 57th Best National University and 21st Most Innovative School. The Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences offers a 93-credit AuD in Clinical Audiology. Cohorts of six to 10 students spend four years full-time with world-renowned faculty. Graduation requires 12 months of practicum at unparalleled sites like Walter Reed, Johns Hopkins, and the NIH.

Tuition: $11,376 (in-state) or $24,534 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Maryland – College Park’s Doctor of Audiology Program here.

5. Indiana University – Bloomington

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Serving over 42,500 students, Indiana University-Bloomington is the state’s largest public, research institution with a sprawling 1,937-acre campus just 65 miles from Indianapolis. IUB was ranked the 75th Best National University and 29th Top Public College by the U.S. News. The College of Arts & Sciences has an accelerated, three-year Doctor of Audiology program. Fully ASHA-accredited, the 90-credit curriculum includes at least 2,000 clock hours of clinical practicum, including IUB’s Hearing Clinic. For three years, 100 percent of graduates have passed the Praxis exam.

Tuition: $8,442 (in-state) or $26,812 (out-of-state)

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6. University of Iowa

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As an elite AAU member, the University of Iowa enrolls nearly 33,000 students as a public, space-grant research institution endowed for $1.2 billion in Iowa City. The U.S. News named Iowa the 82nd Best National University and 34th Top Public School. In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a Clinical Doctorate in Audiology is delivered. The 95-credit, ASHA-aligned curriculum involves passing clinical practicum, qualifying exam, and a capstone project. Iowa’s in-house Wendell Johnson Hearing Clinic is renowned for its strong cochlear implant program.

Tuition: $8,396 (in-state) or $25,574 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Iowa’s Doctor of Audiology Program here.

7. University of Colorado – Boulder

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Having produced 12 Nobel Laureates, the University of Colorado-Boulder is a premier public, space-grant research institution enrolling over 32,000 in the Rocky Mountain Foothills. According to the U.S News, CU-Boulder is the 89th Best National University and 37th Top Public School. With ASHA accreditation, the Doctorate of Audiology is awarded after a four-year, clinical-focused curriculum. Aspiring audiologists prepare for licensing in aural treatment through full-time rotations at Rocky Mountain Ear Center and Boulder Community Hospital. There’s also a Ph.D. in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

Tuition: $10,530 (in-state) or $27,828 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Colorado – Boulder’s Doctor of Audiology Program here.

8. Rush University Medical Center

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Located on Chicago’s West Side, Rush University Medical Center is a private, non-profit health sciences institution running a 676-bed tertiary care hospital. Known for winning the Exemplary Voluntary Efforts Award, Rush is recognized for America’s Ninth Top Audiology Education by the U.S. News and World Report. With a 100 percent employment rate, Rush offers a four-year, on-campus Doctor of Audiology program. Class sizes average 14 students for personalized learning from a teacher-practitioner model. The 166-credit, ASHA-accredited curriculum culminates with a year-long externship. Admission requires a minimum major GPA of 3.5.

Tuition: $32,608

Learn more about Rush University Medical Center’s Doctor of Audiology Program here.

9. University at Buffalo

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Enrolling more than 29,900 students, the University at Buffalo is a flagship, public sea-grant and space-grant SUNY institution with “very high research activity” in Western New York. The U.S. News ranked UB as the 99th Best University and 45th Top Public School Nationally. Within the College of Arts and Sciences, students can pursue the four-year Doctor of Audiology program. Following ASHA guidelines, the competency-based curriculum integrates over 2,000 hours of clinical practicum. AuD students treat patients in Buffalo’s Speech-Language & Hearing Clinic.

Tuition: $10,870 (in-state) or $22,210 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University at Buffalo’s Doctor of Audiology Program here.

10. University of Arizona

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Chartered in 1885, the University of Arizona is a public, state-assisted research institution enlightening over 40,600 students from sunny Tucson. According to the U.S. News, Arizona is the 121st best national university and 58th top public school. Featuring ASHA approval, the Graduate College grants a Doctor of Audiology program for studying hearing science. The cutting-edge, 152-credit curriculum offers a Bilingual Certificate in Audiology. Students spend two semesters in UA’s Hearing Clinics. For their year-long clinical externship, AuD candidates can travel to Ecuador or Puerto Rico.

Tuition: $11,040 (in-state) or $29,362 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Arizona’s Doctor of Audiology Program here.

The 10 Best Online Universities for Students With Disabilities

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Picking the right online college is tough for everyone. If you have a disability, there’s the added stress of making certain coursework will be adaptable to your unique needs. That doesn’t mean you should put off college though. Approximately 11 percent of post-secondary students have some disability according to the NCES. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, higher education has become more inclusive to disabled students. Whether you have ADHD, dyslexia, autism, blindness, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, or other delays or disabilities, colleges must make reasonable accommodations. Yet some online universities excel better at promoting equal opportunity. Here we’ll recognize the 10 Best Online Universities for Students With Disabilities.

To begin, we looked for regionally accredited colleges offering at least five programs 100 percent online with no campus trips. We then surveyed the online schools’ disabilities office to determine the extent of support given. Priority was given to universities where tutoring, academic accommodations, specialize curricula, assistive technology, and mentoring were offered. We wanted to ensure high-quality, inclusive online education, so we consulted the U.S. News and World Report and Forbes rankings. The NCES College Navigator tool was used to determine average yearly undergraduate tuition at each online school. Other factors considered were class size, diversity, location, degree specialties, financial aid, and institutional mission.

Online education can be an excellent alternative for students with physical or sensory disabilities to avoid trips across vast college campuses. Students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can benefit from reading online lectures instead of requesting an interpreter. Online programs offer challenges for individuals with learning, vision, and intellectual disabilities though. Less interaction with professors can make grasping content extra difficult. Luckily, many online colleges are bridging the gap by delivering quality disability services.

Ensure your virtual classroom is accessible, adaptable, reputable, and a good match by considering the following 10 Best Online Universities For Students With Disabilities:

1. Johns Hopkins University

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Ranked 10th Nationally by the U.S. News, Johns Hopkins University is a prestigious private, co-ed research institution in Baltimore, Maryland, with around 20,800 students. JHU currently offers 16 online programs through Blackboard. Online learners with special needs have access to Disability Services and a 24/7 help desk. There’s also the Center for Talented Youth (CTY), which offers online programs for gifted K-12 students. Available online degrees at Johns Hopkins include the Master of Liberal Arts, M.S. in Bioinformatics, M.S. in Government Analytics, and M.A. in Museum Studies.

Tuition: $48,710

Learn more about John Hopkins University’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disabilities here.

2. Pennsylvania State University

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Since 1998, the Pennsylvania State University World Campus has been the online division of State College’s premier public, land-grant research institution with over 100,000 students. The U.S. News ranks Penn State as America’s 14th Top Public School. PSU’s Office of Disability Services configures various accommodations in Canvas, such as transcribed videos, extra testing time, and content diagrams. Students with disabilities can select from over 120 online programs. Popular accredited options include the B.A. in Economics, B.S. in Information Technology, Master of Business Administration, and M.Ed. in Special Education.

Tuition: $13,516

Learn more about Pennsylvania State University’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disabilities here.

3. University of Denver

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Established in 1864 as the Rockies’ first private Methodist institution, the University of Denver enrolls over 11,700 students from the capital of Colorado. According to the U.S. News, DU is the 86th best national university with the 20th Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees. The College of Professional and Continuing Studies confers six bachelor’s and 10 master’s programs online using Canvas. Disabled students greatly benefit from individualized academic support via DU’s nationally recognized Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP). Online offerings include a B.A. in Communication Arts, B.A. in Environmental Studies, and M.S. in Healthcare Leadership.

Tuition: $44,178

Learn more about the University of Denver’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disabilities here.

4. Oregon State University

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Regionally accredited by the NWCCU, Oregon State University is a public, space-grant RU/VH research institution with more than 30,000 students studying in Corvallis and online. OSU has been crowned the country’s 68th top public school with the seventh best online bachelor’s. The ECampus currently offers 20 undergraduate and 12 graduate degrees online. Thanks to the Disability Access Services (DAS), e-learners can receive accommodations like captioned media, accessible testing, and alternate assignments. Offered online programs include the B.S. in Horticulture, B.A. in Political Science, and MBA in Business Analytics.

Tuition: $10,107 (in-state) or $28,767 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Oregon State University’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disabilities here.

5. Azusa Pacific University

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Placing God first since 1899, Azusa Pacific University is a private, evangelical Christian college located in the Los Angeles suburbs to educate over 10,700 students. Nationally, APU is named the 175th Best University by The U.S. News and World Report. Online learning is available for 33 bachelor’s and master’s programs. Through the Learning Enrichment Center (LEC), online students gain access to Disability Services for academic and technical assistance. Custom accommodations can be made for online degrees like the B.A. in Applied Psychology, B.S. in Health Science, M.A.Ed. in School Librarianship, or M.A. in Modern Art History.

Tuition: $34,754

Learn more about Azusa Pacific University’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disablities here.

6. University of Massachusetts Boston

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Based in Beantown’s Dorchester neighborhood, the University of Massachusetts Boston is a public, metropolitan institution serving over 16,700 students. According to Forbes magazine, UMass Boston is the 200th best research university nationwide. The College of Advancing and Professional Studies delivers 17 accredited online degrees. Students with disabilities could pursue the B.A. in Global Affairs, RN-to-BSN, M.S. in Gerontology, or M.A. in Applied Linguistics online. The Ross Center will provide top-notch disability services, including assistive technology and subject tutoring.

Tuition: $12,682 (in-state) or $29,920 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disabilities here.

7. Gallaudet University

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Educating around 2,400 students, Gallaudet University is a private, congressionally chartered institution providing barrier-free education to deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Washington, DC. The U.S. News crowned Gallaudet the North’s 19th best college with the 159th best online bachelor’s programs nationally. Eight online programs are offered via Blackboard and webcam using ASL. Students can also receive advising, tutoring, and peer mentorship from the Academic Support Center. Students may pursue the Bachelor’s in Deaf Studies, Bachelor’s in Psychology, M.A. in Sign Language Education, or M.A. in Mental Health Counseling online.

Tuition: $15,604

Learn more about Gallaudet University’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disablities here.

8. University of Minnesota – Crookston

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Located in Greater Grand Forks, the University of Minnesota Crookston is a four-year, public baccalaureate institution first opened in 1905 and serving over 1,800 students. As the original “Laptop U,” UMC is recognized for America’s 63rd Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Students can select from 14 online undergraduate majors and three certificates. Online learners with disabilities could finish the B.S. in Sport & Recreation Management, B.S. in Health Management, or B.S. in Communication. Help is available nationwide with the Disability Resource Center (DRC), including app aids, adaptations, and accessible technology.

Tuition: $11,646

Learn more about the University of Minnesota – Crookston’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disabilities here.

9. Eastern Michigan University

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With the motto “Equity, Exemplar, Excellence,” Eastern Michigan University is a public, co-ed teaching institution of over 23,400 students in Ypsilanti. The U.S. News recognized EMU as the Midwest’s 27th Top Public School with the country’s 161st Best Online Graduate Education Programs. EMU-Online offers an inclusive environment for 20 different programs. Students with disabilities earn assistance from the Disability Resource Center (DRC). For instance, the CATE Lab’s software can convert text to Braille. Online programs include the B.S. in Dietetics, B.S. in Technology Management, and M.A. in Educational Psychology.

Tuition: $10,417 (in-state) or $27,712 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Eastern Michigan University’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disablities here.

10. Kaplan University

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Headquartered in Davenport, Iowa, Kaplan University is an independent, for-profit distance learning institution enlightening over 43,000 students from 14 campuses and online. The USNWR distinguished Kaplan for hosting America’s 137th best online bachelor’s degrees. Online students can select from over 110 fully online programs. Following ADA regulations, Kaplan has a Center for Disability Services (CDS) to protect learners’ unique needs. Trained tutors are on-hand daily for live academic assistance sessions. Available online degrees include the B.S. in Human Services, B.S. in Legal Studies, M.S. in Finance, and Master of Health Informatics.

Tuition: $14,241

Learn more about Kaplan University’s Special Online Degree Programs for Students With Disablities here.

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The 20 Best Private Special Needs Schools In The U.S.

The 20 Best Private Special Needs Schools in the U.S.

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Approximately 6.5 million U.S. youth are diagnosed with a disability that qualifies for special education services. These children represent around 13 percent of school-aged Americans. The most prevalent disabilities include ADHD, autism, Down syndrome, dyslexia, hearing loss, mental retardation, and visual impairment. Under the IDEA Act of 2004, federal law requires disabled students have access to free, public education. Many parents feel their children get lost in the shuffle of public schooling though, especially with the new Common Core. Private schools provide an excellent alternative for specialized instruction that’s delivered by qualified teachers in small class sizes. We’ve helped parents choose by researching the following 20 best private special needs schools in the U.S.

To begin, we focused on schools recognized by the National Association of Private Special Education (NAPSEC). We narrowed down the hundreds of options by checking for state licensing and national accreditation, such as CARF. All private schools had to offer daytime or residential programs specifically for disabled students. We looked for low student-faculty ratios where individualized instruction was prioritized. Priority was given to schools providing 1:1 intensive therapy plans. All selected schools must have earned industry awards for excellence in special education. Other factors we considered were curriculum type, teacher qualifications, experiential learning, financial assistance, and young adult transitions.

According to the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), there are 30,861 private schools in the United States. Not all are created equal when it comes to fostering learning for students with disabilities though. Special needs schools adapt research-based teaching methods that cater to exceptional students. It’s easy for parents to get sticker shock when looking at tuition rates for these specialized private schools. Many rival annual Ivy League costs at Harvard and Yale. However, the following 20 Best Private Special Needs Schools in the U.S. provide valuable education with financial aid.

1. Kennedy Krieger School

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The Kennedy Krieger School is a Maryland certified special needs school with four campuses and over 165 students across downtown Baltimore. As a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, Kennedy Krieger won the 2012 Leadership and Innovation in Special Education Award. There are K-8, high school, and LEAP transition programs in least restrictive environments. Tuition is covered by state funds.

Learn more about Kennedy Krieger School’s Special Education Programs here.

2. May Center Schools

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Based in Randolph, the May Center Schools operate in Massachusetts and California to provide full-day, year-round educational services to children with autism spectrum disorder. Featuring CARF accreditation, the May Center serves youth aged 2 to 22 using ABA methods. It’s known for winning SABA’s Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis Award in 2007. Tuition currently costs $381 per day.

Learn more about the May Center Schools here.

3. T.C. Harris School

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Established in 2000, the T.C. Harris School is certified in Indiana to serve students from 6-21 who have intellectual, behavioral, emotional, speech, and neurological disabilities. The Day School is located in Lafayette, but there’s also residential and group home programs. In 2015, T.C. Harris was chosen for the NASET School of Excellence Award. Funding is provided by local school districts.

Learn more about T.C. Harris School here.

4. Little Keswick School

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Celebrating its 53rd anniversary, Little Keswick School is a licensed, therapeutic boarding school serving boys aged 9-18 in Keswick, Virginia. Education sessions from August to June follow each student’s IEP with speech, art, occupational, clinical, or animal-assisted therapy. Little Keswick School has received the Excellence in Education Award from Woodbury Reports. Yearly residence costs $100,571.

Learn more about LIttle Keswick School here.

5. The Children’s Institute

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The Children’s Institute strives to “teach the whole child” with evidence-based, full-day education in Verona, New Jersey. With a student-faculty ratio of 2:1, youth with autism and development disabilities can join the preschool, elementary, middle, high school, or young adult programs. Two have earned the NIMH’s coveted Lela Rowland Award. Annual tuition at TCI is $53,480.

Learn more about The Children’s Institute here.

6. Brehm Preparatory School

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Learn more about the Brehm Preperatory School here.

7. The Ivymount School

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Located in Rockville, Maryland, The IvyMount School has been named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence twice to educate over 200 students aged 4-21. Bethesda magazine also honored Ivymount as a “Readers’ Pick.” Parents can select from the Ivymount Multiple Learning Needs, Autism, or Model Asperger programs. Tuition averages $36,000, but most is funded by local school systems.

Learn more about the Ivymount School here.

8. The Center School

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Opened in 1971, The Center School is a state-accredited school in Somerset, New Jersey, that serves 112 learning disabled students with 10-month, daytime programs. The Center School was named among Noodle’s 41 Most Innovative K-12 Schools. Certified teachers use “Bulldog Bucks” for positive reinforcement. The Center’s also one of two special needs schools with a FIRST robotics team. Annual tuition is $49,689.

Learn more about the Center School here.

9. Central Institute for the Deaf

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The Central Institute for the Deaf has 100 years of excellence serving children from birth to age 12. Primary education, pediatric audiology, and speech-language pathology are provided at the 42,000-square foot “Quiet School” in St. Louis. Financial aid helps cover the $27,000 yearly tuition. CID earned the Impact on Learning Award from School Planning and Management magazine in 2013.

Learn more about the Central Institute for the Deaf here.

10. Oakwood School

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With small class sizes between 8 to 13, Oakwood School has a K-8 program to educate bright students with learning differences in Annandale, Virginia. Crowned a Blue Ribbon School in 2014, Oakwood uses a team model for child-centered, multi-sensory curricula. After-School Enrichment Clubs are available. More than 75 percent of teachers are master’s prepared. Tuition currently costs $33,750 annually.

Learn more about Oakwood School here.

11. Chamberlain International School


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Chamberlain International School is a co-educational, therapeutic boarding or daytime school located in Middleboro, Massachusetts, since 1976. Using a multi-modality, project-based approach, Chamberlain offers general and specialized education like Auto Mechanics or Aviation to struggling teens aged 11-22. Chamberlain employs the NAPSEC’s 2014 “Direct Care Worker of the Year.” Tuition ranges from $56,376 to $137,103 each year.

Learn more about the Chamberlain International School here.

12. The Monarch School

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Firmly rooted in “Four Core Goals,” The Monarch School is a licensed education provider serving K-21 students with neurological differences from Houston, Texas. Along with daytime education, Monarch offers a Get Out Program, Life Academy, and Summer Camp. With a faculty-student ratio of 1:2.5, Monarch earned the NAPSEC Leadership and Innovation Award in 2012. Programs cost from $16,100 to $47,500.

Learn more about The Monarch School here.

13. NewHope Academy

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At $206.59 per diem, NewHope Academy has offered private, daytime educational and therapeutic programs from Niles, Illinois, since 2000. Fully accredited by the ABCT, NewHope was crowned a NASET School of Excellence for two straight years. Teaching staff hold LBS1 designations to promote learner-based, interactive classrooms. NewHope has diverse expertise areas, including depression, ADHD, autism, anxiety, and OCD.

Learn more about New Hope Academy here.

14. Henry Viscardi School

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Henry Viscardi School is an accredited, non-profit organization offering safe, supportive PreK-12 education to students with severe physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. Located in Albertson, the school enrolls around 175 pupils in NYS Regents curriculum. Named a finalist for the 2015 Long Island Imagine Awards, Henry Viscardi School earns state funding for the $72,000 tuition.

Learn more about Henry Viscardi School here.

15. AIM Academy

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Partnered with Wilson Language Training, AIM Academy enrolls 310 students from grades 1-12 as a college preparatory school in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Devoted to “fearless learning,” AIM offers interactive, tech-enhanced education for learning disabled children with a one-to-one laptop program. AIM Academy is the state’s only “21 Century Skills Exemplar School.” Annual tuition costs an average of $32,352.

Learn more about AIM Academy here.

16. Genesee Lake School

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On 160 wooded acres in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, the Genesee Lake School is an accredited education provider for students with autism, anxiety, mood disorders, and complex trauma. In 2015, Genesee Lake School was given NASET’s highest honor award. GLS has daytime, residential, and STEP programs with vocational therapy on the adjacent Homegrown Farms. Tuition averages $5,000 per month.

Learn more about Genesee Lake School here.

17. Overbrook School for the Blind

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Founded in 1832, Overbrook School for the Blind is a private, non-profit school educating 215 legally blind students on a 22-acre campus in West Philadelphia. Using Braille, OBS has early intervention, elementary, middle, and high school programs. Granted the Lightspan Academic Excellence Award, OBS recently built a 25,000-square foot aquatic center for sports & leisure services. Tuition charges $198 per diem.

Learn more about Overbrook School for the Blind here.

18. Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch

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Accredited by the Montana Office of Public Instruction, the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Billings encourages disabled youth with experiential learning. YBGR offers daytime education and residential mental health treatment. Having helped over 10,000 teens since 1957, YBGR earned the 2012 NASET School of Excellence Award. Tuition varies based on income with most families paying under $25 monthly.

Learn more about Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch here.

19. St. Elizabeth School

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Named among Maryland’s PBIS Gold Medal Schools since 2005, St. Elizabeth School is located in Baltimore to serve special needs students from 6-21. MSDE-certified teachers deliver differentiated instruction with clinical treatment, OT, PT, SLP, and behavioral support. St. Elizabeth’s Wright Center for Transition Services also offers work-based learning. SES 11-month programs cost $38,027 yearly.

Learn more about St. Elizabeth School here.

20. Park Century School

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Situated in Culver City, California, Park Century School is a non-profit, co-ed daytime school founded in 1968 to serve learning disabled children in grades 2-8. PCS offers a remedial, child-centered curriculum that includes the arts, physical education, and technology. Fully accredited by CAIS, Park Century was selected among the NASET’s 2016 Schools of Excellence. FAST financial aid is available for affording the $41,000 tuition.

Learn more about Park Century School here.

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The 10 Best Online Universities For Students With Disablities

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and How It Affects Special Education

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Before the 1970s, many youth with disabilities were excluded from the U.S. public school system and labeled “mentally retarded.” The only learning options available to most disabled children were at-home tutoring or state institutions. Luckily, special education advocacy groups began forming during President John F. Kennedy’s term. The federal government eventually passed milestone legislation in 1975 to end the inequality. The law was initially called the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA), but it was later amended as the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the IDEA Act has vastly improved the access to free public schooling for exceptional students.

Conditions Required Under IDEA Act

Congress passed the IDEA Act with the goal of ensuring the civil liberties of children diagnosed with disabilities. The legislation guarantees that disabled students will have access to Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) like every other child. All U.S. states who accept funding for education must provide special education services to qualifying children. The IDEA Act mandates that schools adapt instructional curricula to meet the individual needs of each student with a disability. IDEA protects children from infancy through high school graduation or age 21. To qualify for special education, students must have one of these 13 kinds of disabilities.

• Autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger’s syndrome
• Deaf-blindness
• Specific learning disability (i.e. dyslexia, dysgraphia, and auditory processing disorder)
• Deafness
• Hearing impairment
• Emotional disturbance (i.e. anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and OCD)
• Speech or language impairment
• Blindness or visual defect
• Orthopedic impairment (i.e. cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and amputation)
• Traumatic brain injury
• Intellectual disability (i.e. Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and FASD)
• Other health impairment (i.e. ADHD, epilepsy, hemophilia, and leukemia)
• Multiple disabilities

Simply having the above conditions doesn’t necessarily qualify children though. The student’s academic performance must be “adversely affected” by the disability. Needing special education services to make adequate learning process is necessary. Once children are IDEA-eligible, schools must form an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The federal law ensures that curriculum is tailored to appease the unique needs of every disabled learner with IEPs. This document will outline the child’s condition, strengths and weaknesses, and education goals. Many people, including special education teachers, school psychologists, and therapists, create the actionable success plan together. The IDEA Act requires IEPs to articulate how progress will be measured.

Another major component of the Individual With Disabilities Education Act gives power to the child’s parents. The legislation protects the parents’ rights to give input on their student’s educational decisions. Schools must receive written consent from parents before establishing IEP changes. Parents who suspect a disability in their child can legally request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). Informed consent is necessary to make certain children are served in the least restrictive environment possible. The IDEA Act also has a “Stay Put” clause that allows parents to veto prospective changes to their child’s special education placement. Unhappy parents can file for due process hearings and be reimbursed for attorney fees.

Impact of the IDEA Act on Special Education

Provisions made with the IDEA Act have positively changed the delivery of special education services nationwide. In the 2013-14 academic year, there were 6.5 million students with disabilities served under IDEA. Specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, other health impairment, and autism were the most prevalent. Disabled youth represent 13 percent of today’s public school enrollments. Ninety five percent of students with disabilities are educated in local public schools. If the IDEA Act wasn’t enacted, the majority of these children may still have been barred. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act allows students with disabilities to receive high-quality interventions that maximize their learning potential.

Access to special education services has vastly improved academic achievement for exceptional children. The U.S. Department of Education reported that average scaled reading scores for students with disabilities increased by 20 points from 2000 to 2009. After the IDEA Act, greater disability awareness brought early intervention to the forefront. Children ages 3-5 who are receiving special education services grew by nearly 24 percent from 1995 to 2007. P art C of the IDEA Act guarantees that at-risk preschoolers receive Early Intervention at no cost. Working with qualified teachers in “natural environments” helps young children with disabilities to better prepare for kindergarten. Early intervention may also address anomalies to lower disability impact later.

Although their graduation rates lag behind their peers, disabled youth have a fighting chance to finish high school curriculum and prepare for college. Data from 2013 showed that 62 percent of seniors with disabilities earned a regular diploma. Dropout rates are lowering and more youth are graduating by their 21st birthday. As a result, the IDEA Act has helped disabled young adults open doors to post-secondary education. The rate at which graduates with disabilities enrolled in colleges rose to 31.9 percent in 2005. For students forgoing college, the IDEA Act also assists with job skills training. High schools are required to plan for transitions into adulthood within each student’s IEP.

Steps for Getting Services Under IDEA

Before children can receive special education services, they must undergo certain evaluations. Parents or school personnel (with parental consent) can request the assessments. The local school district may conduct diagnostic play sessions, speech-language testing, behavior analysis, or developmental evaluation. If indicators of disability exist, eligibility will be decided. Within 30 calendar days of approval, the school must form an IEP for the child. An IEP meeting will then be scheduled for the parents and staff. Once the IEP modifications and accommodations are finalized, special education services are provided. Thanks to the Individual With Disabilities Education Act, the child now has the opportunity to progress to their fullest potential.

Stephen Hawking: A Life Not Limited By Disabilities

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For disabled people, daily life can seem like an impossible challenge. Stephen Hawking is all too familiar with the challenge of living a fulfilling life while being limited by disabilities. In fact, since he was born in 1942, he has been battling disability for the better part of his 74 years. While most people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) die prematurely, Hawking has pushed through his illness and become a world-famous physicist and more importantly, an inspiration to us all. Over the years, his work in theoretical physics has captured the public eye due to his intelligence, exceptional insight, tenacious research, and creativity.

A Life Lived to the Fullest

Before Stephen Hawking was diagnosed, he was an unexceptional college student. After experiencing some unusual symptoms, he was diagnosed with ALS. In moments, he went from being bored with life to having a life-threatening challenge ahead of him. He was expected to live only a few months after his diagnosis. As anyone who has listened to him speak knows, Hawking outlived this prediction by more than half a century.

Instead of depressing him, the diagnosis gave him a renewed will to live. He knew that he may only have a few months, possibly years to live, and this changed his entire perspective. As his body began to deteriorate, he made great strides in theoretical physics. In the 1960s, Hawking showed that mathematically reversing the creation of black holes explained how the universe could have expanded.

Today, ALS has forced Stephen Hawking to live in a wheelchair and use a computerized voice synthesizer. Despite these limitations, he still jokes around about using the voice synthesizer. According to Hawking, “the only trouble is it gives me an American accent”.

Getting the Diagnosis

As any parent knows, having a child with a disability or special need is hard. Being that child can sometimes be impossible. Hawking was clumsy and not particularly good at hand-eye coordination as he was growing up. But he didn’t let that stop him from his studies. Years later at Oxford University, he took up rowing and finally found a sport that he excelled at. By his third year, Hawking began noticing that he was increasingly clumsy. The following year, his father made him go to the doctor for tests. Two weeks later, the diagnosis came back. Hawking had an incurable disease and was expected to die within months at worst, two or three years at best.

Initially, he was shocked to realize that his life would end so soon. For people with ALS, death often arrives when they are unable to swallow food or when the lung muscles stop working. Hawking began to dream that he was being executed at night or that he had the choice to die to save other people. Despite the grim prognosis, Hawking found that he was able to return to normal life and soon became engaged. The engagement gave him something to live for, and a research fellowship at Cambridge University gave him a purpose.

As the years progressed, Stephen Hawking became increasingly recognized in the scientific community. His new status and international fame made it easier to get accommodation close to his work, and colleges were more willing to hire him.

By the 1980s, his disability was starting to become too much. At the time, he was able to slur words that were interpreted by people who knew him well. After a case of pneumonia and a tracheotomy, Hawking was unable to speak at all. Luckily, a computer expert from California heard of his predicament and created a program called the Equalizer. Through a switch in his hand, Hawking was able to speak again. Over the years, Hawking’s voice synthesizer has been modified as his disability has progressed. Currently, it uses movements in his cheek muscles to identify the word that he wants to say.

Hawking’s Advice for People With Disabilities

In a 2009 edition of the Annals of Neuroscience, Stephen Hawking wrote an in-depth piece about life with ALS and how people with disabilities can continue to enjoy their lives. Hawking is frequently asked about how he feels about ALS, and his response is always that he does not feel anything significant about it. Instead of dwelling on his condition or worrying about the things he is unable to do, Hawking tries to live his life as normally as possible. Regretting his condition or the things he cannot do is a waste of the limited time that he has on earth.

To other people with disabilities, Hawking recommends to live life to their fullest and to never focus on the disability. While some people may be disabled physically, they do not have to be disabled in spirit as well. Hawking has enjoyed a rewarding career and raised a beautiful family despite his illness. Although each disability and individual is unique, Hawking believes that it is always possible to live a fulfilling and rewarding life.

A lesson we all need to not admire but also believe. And live.

Related Links

The National Center For Biotechnology Information
The Washington Post
Scientific American
The University of Washington
Annals of Neuroscience

15 Accredited Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs of 2016

docSpecial education is a rewarding field focused on adapting curriculum to teach youth with various learning, mental, behavioral, and physical disabilities. It’s estimated that 8 percent of children in the United States are diagnosed and supported with an IEP. Teachers can enter special education classrooms with a bachelor’s degree, but forging ahead to graduate school can pay off. The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are terminal degrees that unlock leadership roles. Earning a doctorate could help you become a special education director, principal, instructional coordinator, educational psychologist, university professor, or superintendent. Administrative education jobs come with a healthy average yearly salary of $92,940. Studying online is the ideal option for flexibility while working as a teacher.

Below we’ve ranked the top 15 accredited online special education doctoral degree programs of 2016. To begin, we analyzed top-performing graduate schools with regional and professional accreditation. All universities had to be accredited by the NCATE, TEAC, or CAEP. We then narrowed down the colleges based on online offerings for special education doctorates. Programs must have been predominantly online with six or less campus sessions. Our priority was high-quality education, so we utilized the U.S. News and World Report rankings for guidance. Only nationally and regionally ranked universities were included. Next, we checked the NCES College Navigator tool for affordability. We noted each college’s average graduate tuition per year. Other factors included were class size, specializations, teaching practica, faculty credentials, and license endorsements.

Better screening and diagnosis of children with disabilities are expected to rise the demand for inclusive or self-contained services in PreK-12 schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts special education jobs will grow by 6 percent through 2024, thus creating 31,000 openings. Now’s an excellent time for teachers to consider graduate school for advanced leadership in coordinating special needs programs. The field calls for more scholarly problem-solvers who passionately advocate for exceptional children.

Further your career by pursuing one of these Top 15 Accredited Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs of 2016:

1. University of Pittsburgh

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As an elite AAU member in Pennsylvania’s second largest city, the University of Pittsburgh is ranked the 24th best public school by the U.S. News. Among Pitt’s 470 programs is a 90-credit Ed.D. in Special Education. With NCATE approval, the three-year, cohort-based program uses a hybrid format to blend online courses with campus seminars. Educators may specialize in Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism, Blindness/Vision Impairment, Early Intervention, Learning Disabilities, or Severe Disabilities.

Tuition: $21,260 (in-state) or $34,944 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Pittsburgh’s Online Doctoral Degree Programs here.

2. Johns Hopkins University

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Ranked America’s 20th best value, Johns Hopkins University is a prestigious private, research institution with four campuses in Baltimore. The CAEP-accredited School of Education offers an innovative Doctor of Education program online. Special educators learn the evidence-based practices for transformational education leadership. Master’s degree holders must complete 54 credits of online coursework and an applied dissertation. Certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis, Early Intervention, and Gifted Education may be added.

Tuition: $48,710

Learn more about John Hopkins University’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

3. West Virginia University

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Founded in 1867, West Virginia University is located in Morgantown to serve over 22,500 students as the country’s 98th top public school. Following NCATE standards, the WVU College of Education confers an Online Ed.D. in Special Education. New cohorts start every Fall to engage in live, interactive online sessions. Coursework prepares teachers for becoming collegiate special education faculty. Having two years of experience with PreK-12 students with exceptionalities is required.

Tuition: $8,568 (in-state) or $22,140 (out-of-state)

Learn more about West Virginia University’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

4. New Mexico State University

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Enrolling more than 12,700 students, New Mexico State University is ranked 199th nationally for high-quality, accredited public education. The Special Education and Communication Disorders Department offers an online doctoral program for an Ed.D. or Ph.D. Educators with a master’s degree must complete a three-year, CAEP-accredited curriculum. Specializations are available in Bilingual/Multicultural Special Education or Autism Spectrum Disorders. A three-credit supervised internship and doctoral dissertation are included.

Tuition: $4,088 (in-state) or $14,254 (out-of-state)

Learn more about New Mexico State University’s Onlne Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

5. University of South Dakota

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The University of South Dakota is an affordable, public liberal arts college nestled in Vermillion to host America’s 153rd best education school. Doctoral candidates can pursue the Ed.D. Director of Special Education degree primarily online. The 90-credit curriculum develops educational leaders to coordinate PreK-12 special needs programs. Online courses delve into curriculum design, school leadership, education law, community relations, human resources, learning disorders, and more.

Tuition: $5,264 (in-state) or $11,142 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of South Dakota’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

6. Regent University

regent
Recognized for the nation’s 46th best online graduate education programs, Regent University is a private Christian college based in Virginia Beach. The School of Education has TEAC accreditation to award an Online Ph.D. in Special Education. Featuring 75 credits, the cohort program has just three, one-week summer residencies. Doctoral candidates learn the research-based interventions to best serve youth and adults with high-incidence disabilities. The certificates in Autism, Christian Education, and Gifted/Talented Education may supplement.

Tuition: $7,830

Learn more about Regent University’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

7. Portland State University

portland
Crowned the 16th most innovative school by the U.S. News, Portland State University is Oregon’s most diverse public college with over 225 degrees. The NCATE-accredited School of Education offers an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with Special Education specialization. In flexible 11-week terms, cohorts take online courses on D2L and meet for six face-to-face weekend sessions. Educators sharpen their leadership and communication skills to receive their administrative license.

Tuition: $12,816 (in-state) or $20,016 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Portland State University’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

8. Nova Southeastern University

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Nova Southeastern University is a top-tier, private institution in Fort Lauderdale that’s offering adults the country’s 95th best online graduate teaching degrees. The Abraham S. Fischler College of Education grants a Doctor of Education in Special Education remotely. With NCATE accreditation, the 54-credit program is 100 percent online in a virtual classroom. Over 36 months, special educators develop competency for leadership from PreK to higher education. Ed.D. students must attend one week-long Summer Institute.

Tuition: $16,760

Learn more about Nova Southeastern University’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

9. Georgia Southern University

gsu
Serving over 20,500 students, Georgia Southern University is a Carnegie doctoral-granting, research institution located in Statesboro with America’s 158th top education school. With dual NCATE and PSC accreditation, the Ed.S. in Special Education program is delivered online. The 33-credit degree is for master’s-level educators seeking teacher leadership. Online content is customized with concentrations in Adaptive Curriculum or General Curriculum. Admission takes place every Fall, Spring, and Summer.

Tuition: $6,636 (in-state) or $26,518 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Georgia Southern University’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

10. University of Northern Colorado

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Established in 1889 as Colorado’s teacher college, the University of Northern Colorado is located in Greeley to grant the 136th best online graduate education programs nationally. The Ph.D. in Special Education is available online to address the needs of exceptional children and adolescents. The 72-credit program takes three to five years, including dissertation research. The Bresnahan-Halstead Center offers full-time doctoral scholarships. UNCO celebrates over 60 years of NCATE accreditation.

Tuition: $9,306 (in-state) or $17,951 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Northern Colorado’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

11. Liberty University

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Logging in over 100,000 online learners, Liberty University, a private, non-profit Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, is the South’s 80 best regional university according to the U.S. News. The NCATE has accredited Liberty’s Online Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Special Education. Requiring 60 credits, the program has three campus-based intensives and dissertation defense. Coursework will investigate curriculum theory, conflict resolution, quantitative analysis, instructional improvement, and ethical leadership.

Tuition: $7,781

Learn more about Liberty University’s Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs here.

12. Slippery Rock University

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Ranked 79th in the North region, Slippery Rock University is a public, doctoral-granting research institution with western Pennsylvania’s largest campus in rural Butler County. The Doctor of Education in Special Education has been NCATE-accredited to prepare educators for academia and leadership. Ed.D. students complete 60 credits of online coursework with weekend face-to-face teaching during summers. A 12-credit Autism Endorsement Certificate can be added to the three-year doctoral program.

Tuition: $8,460 (in-state) or $12,258 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Slippery Rock University’s Online Special Education Degree Programs here.

13. University of West Georgia

westgeorg
Located in Carrollton just 45 miles from Atlanta, the University of West Georgia is a public, research-intensive university recognized for the nation’s 66th best online graduate education degrees. The Online Ed.D. in School Improvement program offers a concentration in Special Education. Over three years full-time, students accumulate 60 credits with asynchronous classes, live web-based workshops, and dissertation research. Graduates will strategically plan, design, and promote educational improvements.

Tuition: $3,996 (in-state) or $15,498 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of West Georgia’s Online Special Education Degree Programs here.

14. Concordia University Chicago

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Founded by Lutheran ministers in 1855, Concordia University Chicago is situated in River Forest, Illinois, as the 75th best Midwestern college according to U.S. News. Fully accredited by the NCATE, the Ed.D./Ph.D. in Special Education Leadership program is offered online. The 61-credit curriculum emphasizes the skills required to lead educational reform for exceptional students with disabilities. Ph.D. students can select a Research or Practitioner track. 100 percent of graduation requirements are online.

Tuition: $14,328

Learn more about Concordia University Chicago’s Online Special Education Degree Programs here.

15. Gwynedd Mercy University

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Gwynedd Mercy University is a close-knit, private Catholic institution educating around 2,600 students from the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia. The U.S. News recognized GMercyU as the North’s 131st top regional college. Online learners can pursue the Accelerated Executive Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in Special Education fully online. The 54-credit curriculum features flexible seven-week blocks with three residencies and two practica. Graduates qualify for Pennsylvania certification as Supervisors of Special Education.

Tuition: $11,646

Learn more about Gwynedd Mercy University’s Online Special Education Degree Programs here.

How to Overcome Challenges Posed by Special Children in the Classroom As A Special Education Teacher

specedstressTeaching is a stressful profession by nature, but it is even more so in the field of special education. Working with special needs students is a challenging situation even for those teachers with a lot of academic and real-life preparation.

High Attrition Rate

High-stress professions are plagued by high burn-out rates, and educators are not exempt from this situation. Teachers who deal directly with the special needs population face situations that challenge their confidence, self-control and personal choices, including that of choosing choosing to go into teaching. The attrition rate in this field is remarkably high compared to other professions. About 50 percent of teachers in special education settings leave their positions in five years. Another 50 percent of those who persevere through the challenges during the first five years of their careers will find themselves seeking employment elsewhere in the next 10 years. Both of these factors support the fact that the turnover rate every 10 years is about 75 percent for special education teachers based on a study published in the International Journal of Special Education. Compared to general education teachers, special education teachers are twice as likely to leave the profession based on annual attrition rates.

Identifying the Stressors

Heavy workloads can be a drag on teachers’ time and resources. However, in the case of special education teachers, the emotional aspect contributes to high turnovers in a job that is mentally and physically demanding. Finding a positive, healthy outlet for stress is a key element in relieving the less than positive aspects of a trying career as a special education teacher. Often exercise and creative pursuits (like painting, writing, reading, etc) are great for helping alleviate stress. Talking with other professionals – like colleagues or even therapists – also helps. Sometimes even taking a “mental health” day or even hour is good at keeping stress under control. And as hard as it may seem, staying positive and in the moment is perhaps a special education teacher’s greatest means of keeping stress at bay.

Achievement Testing

In an educational system that measures teachers’ competencies based on students’ achievements on standardized tests, special education teachers are underappreciated because their students are typically exempt from these requirements. Special needs students cannot be assessed on the same standards as traditional students, and special education teachers should not be held to the same measure either. These teachers, as are all teachers, are operating on overdrive to cope with the demands of the children they teach and the system should reward these efforts rather than marginalize them.

Different Skill Levels within a Classroom

In an integrated classroom, special needs students receive extra support through paraprofessionals or teaching assistants who are assigned to the classroom. In a special education classroom, the children will have different capabilities and disabilities. The teacher is expected to create an environment that is conducive to learning and supportive of all students regardless of their skills and mobility level. Each student should have an individual education plan or IEP as required by federal laws. Special education teachers should follow the requirements outlined in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) regardless of the classroom format.

Managing Children with Behavioral Issues

Children with special abilities require sensitive yet firm attention. They are prone to overstimulation and are easily upset over stressors that would be minor annoyances to other children. Make sure to have a calm-down area in the classroom. This section should provide a safe yet comforting atmosphere to allow students to find their balance. It should not seem like a time-out corner but rather one that is cozy and peaceful. This way, teachers can carry on with the rest of the class even in the face of distractions.

Documenting the Issues

Children react differently to different circumstances. Special needs children express anger, sadness, joy and other emotions just as well as other children although the triggers may be less obvious. It is important to document these instances judiciously to understand the factors that may trigger aggression and emotional breakdowns. These records may also be useful to counselors and parents.

Consistent Schedules

Various studies have shown that special needs children thrive in an environment that respects their patterns and need for consistency. A minor change in the pattern of activities can be upsetting to special students. Make sure to create classroom schedules ahead of time and maintain a pattern of activities that children can easily get used to while ensuring a calm atmosphere.

Parent Engagement

Communication channels between parents and teachers of students with special needs and abilities should be open, honest and supportive at all times. Communicate by phone, email or written notes to provide parents with an update on their child’s progress or an insight into the child’s behavior patterns. Encourage parents to keep teachers informed about any factors that may be affecting their child’s temperaments.

Fostering a Collaborative Environment

Special education teachers are at the front line of a very trying function: educating and nurturing learning disabled children. This is a task that requires patience, persistence and dedication. Make the most of available resources, including tapping into the expertise of general education teachers, therapists, counselors and administrative support. Collaboration generates creative solutions while lightening the burden on special education teachers.

How are Early Childhood Special Education Programs Funded?

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Early childhood special education programs are essential to providing families the first line of service in detecting in developmental concerns with regards to their children. These services are provided and protected by federal legislation, state agencies, and other authorities but require massive funding in order to function and serve. By proving to be an expensive task, school districts and local early intervention providers often must continually seek other funding revenues to ensure that families’ and children’s rights are protected while providing the most appropriate early childhood special education services. This requires teams of people – from grant writers to special education teachers to physical therapists and beyond – to help ensure that children with developmental delays, disabilities, and illnesses get the help that they need as the following sections indicate and illustrate.

What are Early Childhood Special Education Services?

Early childhood special education services programs are for children 0-5 years of age. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), private grant organizations, states, and the federal government assist in providing funding for these services. According to the IDEA law, families and their children have rights that cover the initial screening process through receiving services that must be adhered to by all involved parties. Being that the children are so very young at this stage, unless there have predominant features or physical impairments that prevent them from developing as that of their peers, these children typically will receive global services under the umbrella of developmental delay. Developmental delay is mostly determined by how far behind the child may be according to a child their age developmental progress. However, the more pervasive delays such as hearing, vision, eating, oral language, and fine/gross motor impairments will warrant direct services from a credentialed individual qualified to provide specific services.

How Children are Identified for Early Childhood Special Education Services

One of the key goals of all early childhood special education programs is to detect potential delays as early as possible and provide the necessary interventions. All states are required to provide parents with opportunities to find out about early intervention services locally. Children can be referred to the local early interventionist by their pediatricians or based upon the inquiry of a concerned parent. Early intervention or Part C services can begin as early as when a child leaves the hospital after birth or neonatal intensive care units. Part C services are usually for children ages 0-3. Once assessments are completed, the family and early intervention agency will determine whether or not the child qualifies for services. Once the decision is made that the child qualifies to receive services, a plan to service the child will be created that includes as much of the family as possible. Early interventionist programs may often call this a family services plan. The child is usually assigned an in-home case manager that comes to the parent’s home and demonstrates skills that are outlined in the family education service plan. If the child requires more specific services, the service provider may also come to the home. If the child has severe challenges, they may need to receive services at a facility.

If the child is tested and found eligible for services through a school district, they will receive their education at one of the school district’s preschool special education classrooms under Part B services. Here, the student will attend a classroom setting with a special education preschool teacher and specialists such as physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech pathologist will provide services for the child during their school hours. The family is included in the development of services based upon the child’s individualized education plan. Children are eligible to receive early childhood special education service ages 2-5. Whether the child receives services from their early interventionist program or the school district, families have legal rights to be included in every part of the process.

How Early Childhood Special Education Programs are Funded

In most states once a child turns two years of age, parents can either decide on whether or not their child will be screened to possibly be found eligible to receive special education services through early intervention or their local school district. The local government’ budget and grants makes up most of the early intervention funding. Unlike general education, special education programs require staff with specialization skills and certain credentials to work with the children. Therefore, the school systems and local government will need to pay these specialists competitive wages to provide services. The local government receives less than a fourth of federal funding actually needed to make sure that the services are provided according what the child education plan. Consequently, if the school district and early intervention programs were to short cut the services offered based upon budgeting restrictions, they would stand in jeopardy for breaking federal law on behalf of the child.

When applying for federal funding, all local school districts must complete an application through their state’s department of education office. Once the application has been approved at the state level, it is submitted with all other school district applications to the federal IDEA funding office for review and allocation of funds. If approved at the federal level, funds will be handed over the state’s education department to then be dispersed to the local school districts. Money is also available for the early interventionist through the federal Office of Special Education Programs. The early interventionist agencies must submit a public application for grant funding to their state government office. Once it is approved by the state, the application then goes to the Office of Special Education Programs. The grant is awarded to the state, followed by the state releasing the allocated grant funds to the various early intervention agencies.

When considering other funding opportunities, these grants have more flexibility in allowing the agencies to apply directly rather than through their state’s government.

Other funding options include:
Autism Society of America – Scholarships for schools and service providers serving students with autism
Federal Grants – Offered by the U.S. Government
– Itaalk for Autism – Grants for communication devices
The United Way – Provides charitable donations to early intervention programs
Little People Association – Provides funding for individuals with dwarfism
The Morgan Project – Offers small grants, gently used equipment
Hands to Angels – Gives grants for identifying and preventing rare genetic disorders

The Best Jobs for Those with Special Education Degrees

jobWe all know that special education teachers assist students with specific learning needs. Whether the problem is physical, psychological or mental, these students must be taught by individuals who are professionally trained in this field. State and federal law mandates that all students with disabilities are entitled to an adequate education. Some remarkable teachers are drawn to working with such students and subsequently pursue the appropriate training and certification necessary to seek employment in this field. Many of these professionals can choose from a broad range of careers with proper training and skill. Below are some of the best jobs for graduates with special education degrees:

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers typically work as part of a team of individuals who deliver education services to students with special needs. They may work with occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physical therapists, instructional assistants or resource room personnel. Specifically, such teachers help to implement something referred to as the student’s Individual Education Plan–IEP.

Special Education Teacher’s Assistant

Another option for someone who has acquired a degree in special education is to work as a teacher’s assistant. Such positions are available in essentially any school district and in private schools as well.

Special Education Program Coordinator

A special education program coordinator plays a vital role in the classroom. He or she is responsible for working behind the scenes to ensure the physical, intellectual, and social success of special needs students. In certain instances, the presence of an education program coordinator may be requested during class, so that he or she can observe and evaluate a teacher’s performance. This position may also be referred to as an instructional coordinator.

Speech Pathologists

An individual with a degree in special education may also seek work as a speech pathologist. Those working in this capacity assist students to overcome speech impediments. The latter may be something with which the student was afflicted from birth or the result of trauma or injury.

Audiologists

Working in the field of audiology is also an option for those with a special education degree. Although in some states a doctorate degree is required in order to be licensed in this capacity, some states only require a master’s degree. Special educators in the field of audiology work with those who have hearing or other ear related problems that make learning difficult.

Early Intervention Special Educators

Due to recent legislation promoting early intervention, early childhood special educators are in high demand. Teachers in this field work with infants through preschoolers who have specials needs. They also sometimes assist autistic students or children with similar disabilities. In most cases, a master’s degree is needed to work in this capacity.

Governmental Jobs

Special education degree holders also have the option of working for the government or as lobbyists. In this way, they can influence policies and legislation, and play a role in the development of specific laws and regulations. Those who hold such a degree may also choose to work for a special education foundation or nonprofit group. Such work can be highly rewarding for teachers in this field.

Can I Receive College Credit for Social Work Experiences I Have Already Completed?

experienceStudents interested in earning a social work degree will benefit from both classroom theory and hands-on practice with actual case studies. If you already have work experience in this field, it is possible to receive some form of college credit for it in many cases. The exact number of work experience credits usually depends on your total years spent on the job, the policies of your college or university, and the level of degree you plan to complete. The following options may be open to you for obtaining college credit in exchange for previous experience working in the field of social work.

Submitting an Academic Portfolio

Since social work courses are outside the scope of general education courses, credit by exam isn’t available for these classes. Some college social work departments will accept a portfolio as an alternative. Documents to include are detailed letters of recommendation from work supervisors, any related licenses or credentials and any other awards earned on the job. The advising faculty reviews each portfolio before making a definite decision to grant credit. Some schools that offer the portfolio option may require new students to first enroll in a course on how to put together a professional portfolio in a specific format.

Enrolling in an Assessment Degree Program

A few accredited universities offer these types of degree programs that combine past documented social work experience with classroom or online learning. You will usually need to demonstrate past fundamental knowledge acquired on the job. You also may need to complete at least one capstone course and an internship. Admission to these assessment programs also relies heavily on written recommendations from past supervisors or managers. The two most successful and reputable online college assessment programs are found at Excelsior College of New York and Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey.

Credits For Undergraduate Degrees

When enrolling in an undergraduate social work program, you may be able to receive credits for past work experience. According to most policies within social work school departments, the same credit is not granted for graduate level social work programs. The good news for prospective graduate students is that an undergraduate major in social work is generally not required for admission to most social work graduate degree programs. Credit for work or life experience can be applied to an undergraduate degree in another field before you finish and apply to graduate school.

Considerations for Social Work Degree Programs

Not all colleges and universities grant credit for past social work towards an undergraduate degree, so do your research carefully on several schools. Credits are determined on a case-by-case basis, and many social work departments have varying evaluation criteria for giving work experience college credits. Holding a current social worker license can count toward college credits at some specific schools.

When making your decision to earn a social work degree, make a list of schools that may be a good fit for you. Find out the names of the advising faculty and contact them by phone or email. Ask questions about the social work department’s policy on granting credit for social work experience. Be specific about your past experience and any licenses or certificates you currently have. Write down the information you get from the advising staff about getting credit for your work experience and use it for making your final choice of a social work degree program.

Top 10 Online Special Education Certificate Programs

top10The need for Special Education teachers is on the rise and expected to keep growing. With a degree or certificate in Special Education you can teach writing, math, reading social skills, and communication to those who need you the most. Depending on which program you choose, you will work with students who have a wide range of mental and emotional disabilities from mild, moderate, and severe learning impairment, intellectual disabilities, Autism, and students with physical challenges. Many colleges offer certificate programs in a number of fields – such as deaf and hard of hearing, speech development, and reading disabilities – that will allow you to teach students of all ages and grade levels.

A Special Education certificate or degree will give you the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a special needs child, increase your earning potential, and bring the love and joy of a child’s smile into your heart. The special needs students who need you the most are usually in the public school system. With a Special Education Supervisory Certificate you can liaison between the educators, the students, and the school administrators to form a cohesive, high quality, dedicated curriculum for students with disabilities. Ensure that all the special needs students have the chance to join in the school spirit and atmosphere of learning.

To earn a certificate or degree in Special Education you must have a Bachelor’s degree in education with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Several states are now requiring a master’s in special education, and the ten schools of higher learning included on this list provide everything you need to earn your certificate or degree online (and sometimes also on campus!). Each program offers the highest quality and dedication to educators with programs ranging from 21 to 45 credit hours, and a variety of certificate choices in every aspect of special education. The following online degree programs are flexible and convenient so you can continue to work while furthering your education. Depending on which certification you earn, you will be able to teach students from infancy to adulthood. Tuition varies depending on which certificate program you choose.

1. Pennsylvania State University

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An Ivy League school configured into fourteen specialized colleges including the College of Education, Penn State offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs for educators with a variety of Special Education Certificates. With an overall rank of 54th worldwide, this special education certificate program received a ranking of 33rd nationally. In 1892, Penn State started their Distance Education program, allowing remote farmers to earn a degree through correspondence and in 1998 they developed the Penn State World Campus, making it possible for educators to earn a certificate in Special Education online, including the newly launched Special Education Supervisory Certificate program. Penn State Online’s accreditations include the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Council on Rehabilitation Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and several other program specific accreditations. Completion of the special education certificate online through Penn State provides individuals with a unique chance to tackle disabilities with comprehension and reading. Depending on which certificate you want to earn, the tuition can start as low as $29,000.

Learn more about Penn State’s Online Special Education Certificate Programs here.

2. University of Nebraska – Lincoln

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Two years after Nebraska became a state, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was founded in 1869. Consisting of nine separate colleges, including the College of Education and Human Sciences, they offer several certificate programs for Special Education. With concentrations in early childhood, severe disabilities, Autism, and intellectual and sensory development disabilities, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, is often a great choice for those seeking to refine their skills and knowledge. Ranked #101 in the Best Colleges national review, the Special Education programs at Nebraska are highly recognized. Having maintained a consistent accreditation since 1913 through the Nebraska Department of Education, the college offers undergraduate and graduate programs that are family oriented and interdisciplinary, with a comprehensive community-based curriculum. The estimated tuition for out-of-state studies is $31,000.00 and they have several certificates you can earn online.

Learn more about the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Online Special Education Certificate Programs here.

3. Johns Hopkins School of Education

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Ranked 13th best college nationally, Johns Hopkins School of Education was founded in 1876 and employs more people in Maryland than any other company. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for more than 80 years, they also hold the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and all programs are approved the Maryland State Department of Education. The school offers Special Education certificates in several areas, such as behavior analysis, Autism, gifted, and an early intervention program. The programs last a year and are comprised of five eight-weeks online courses and an internship. Tuition for the Master of Science in Special Education is approximately $39,000 and offers a variety of certificate programs in the field of Special Education for teachers.

Learn more about John Hopkins School of Education’s Online Special Education Certificate Program here.

4. Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

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A leader in creating effective learning programs and supporting research to advance Special Education, Rutgers is ranked in the top 11 percent of graduate schools nationally. The Department of Education certificates program at Rutgers was founded in 1923. With a wide range of certificates in Special Education, this certificate is part of a master’s degree program for teachers in New Jersey to educate students with disabilities. The program specializes in interdisciplinary studies and instructs educators to teach infants as well as school age children and the family. Education programs at the University are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Out-of-state tuition is approximately $41,000.00.

Learn more about Rutgers University’s Online Special Education Certificate Program here.

5. Drexel University Online

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Ranked among the top 50 schools for higher education in the nation, Drexel was founded in 1891 and has placed their teaching emphasis on urban education. They pioneered online programs in 1996 and offer over 100 certificates in education. Accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education, Drexel is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the winner of the 21st Century Distance Learning Award. Tuition for the Special Education Certification is approximately $27,000.00 and is intended as a part-time graduate program that gives teachers the basic skills needed to instruct students who are at risk of dropping out and students with disabilities. You can also earn a specialized certificate to teach students with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Learn more about Drexel University’s Online Special Education Certificate Program here.

6. St Joseph University

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In September of 1851, St Joseph University began classes with only thirty male students in search of a higher education. The institution was founded using the Jesuit teachings of “care of the entire person.” Chartered by the Society of Jesus, the school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and is approved by the Connecticut State Department of Education. They are ranked number eleven in the Regional Universities of the North, and are number four in the up and coming category of learning institutes. The certificates are earned online separately or as part of a master’s degree program. St Joseph University even allows participants to earn a reading certificate using the Wilson Reading System that provides you with the skills to help students become independent, fluent readers and better spellers.

Learn more about St Joseph University’s Online Special Education Certificate Program here.

7. National University

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The university contains five schools within the college, including the School of Education and was founded in 1971. They pride themselves on delivering a higher education to minority students and have given more master’s degrees to women than any other college in California. Being one of the top ten institutes in the state and top twenty nationally, they are recognized by Diverse Issues in Higher Education yearly for their high number of Hispanic and African American students who earn a master’s degree. They are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. They offer certificates in attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, providing educators with skills in special education in kindergarten through grade twelve and adults up to age twenty-two. Tuition for the Special Education certificate programs starts at approximately $2,000.00 plus several other fees to attend the school. They also offer an internship program.

Learn more about National University’s Online Special Education Certificate Program here.

8. Fitchburg State University

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Founded in 1894 with a teaching staff of three and six female students, the university started by providing a two-year program for women. The Special Education program is comprised of a certificate program or you can obtain a master’s degree online or on campus. With a five-course certificate specializing in behavior analysis you can become board certified in analyzing the student’s behavior for better placement. They are ranked #120 nationally and are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The tuition for out-of-state students in the Special Education program is approximately $11,000.00, and the school is launching a new online hybrid format with a twenty-four hour help line.

Learn more about Fitchburg State University’s Online Special Education Certificate Program here.

9. Northcentral University

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The Special Education program is a post-masters-certificate that gives extra instruction in federal mandates, legal cases, and the application process for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. The tuition is approximately $16,000.00. Established in 1996, they present the coursework by distance educational tools online under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and they are classified as a Doctoral Research University. The school is ranked 148th best online programs nationally and 71st regionally with accreditations in the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) . They are listed with the Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education and Programs. Their Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program was one of the first to gain the accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.

Learn more about Northcentral University’s Online Special Education Certificate Program here.

10. Grand Canyon University

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Run by the Grand Canyon Education, Inc., the Grand Canyon University was founded by the Southern Baptist Church in 1949 and is run as a Christian university. After going public in 2008, they are expanding and renovating with over $200 million to update the campus, student facilities, and their available programs. Ranked 74th nationally, they are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the Arizona State Board of Education, and the Arizona Department of Education. They provide courses on classroom management, integrated English submersion, assessment training and diagnosis abilities. Tuition for the Special Education program is approximately $9,000.00.

Learn more about Grand Canyon University’s Online Special Education Certificate Program here.

Do Students in Special Education Programs Interact with Other Students in School?

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Do Students in Special Education Programs Interact with Other Students in School?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Special education laws require students to be taught in the “least restrictive environment” for their learning needs. This means students must only be separated from the general population of a school when absolutely necessary by proving the student’s learning needs could not be met in any other way. In many schools, this is causing a larger push toward the inclusive classroom.

Inclusive Classrooms

An inclusive classroom meets students’ needs socially, emotionally, and educationally. Typically, a special education aide or teacher is in the classroom with the regular teacher to modify and adapt lesson plans. Sometimes a student is pulled out for certain subjects but remains with the general class for the rest of the day. This allows students the most opportunity to interact with peers of all abilities while providing the exact level of educational support that is needed. There are many ways to achieve the least restrictive environment and fulfill a student’s educational, emotional and social needs. The following vignettes offer a glimpse of a few of these ways.

Example of an Elementary Day

A typical day for a student in an inclusive elementary classroom might be described as follows. He would join his classmates for opening routines like the pledge, calendar time, and share time. During morning reading, he may go to a pull-out class to receive more specific and individual instruction. He would then return to his regular teacher for math. The next part of the day would be full of peer interaction at lunch, recess, and an elective class like gym, music or art. He would go back to the regular teacher for science and history, but an aide would be present to differentiate and assist his instruction. In this example, the student was only removed from the general education classroom for specific help in reading. The rest of the day, he is interacting with his peers of all abilities.

Examples of Secondary Inclusion

Inclusive secondary classes are different because of the nature of secondary classes. A secondary special education student would have plenty of time for social interaction at lunch and during electives. She would likely have access to more peers because classes change and she wouldn’t necessarily be traveling with the exact same group of students like an elementary student would. Since each core subject is with a different teacher, she would already be traveling for each class. Her math class could involve being pulled out during independent work time to reinforce the lesson or use an aide or special education teacher in the general classroom to tailor the lesson, for example. If she needed to be in a separate math class altogether, there would be less of a stigma attached because classes are divided and mingled up in so many ways it wouldn’t be as noticeable as in younger years.

The Role of the Parent

It is especially important for parents to realize the part they play in their child’s education. Parents must be their child’s strongest advocates. If a parent feels his or her child is unjustifiably being separated from their peers, it is his or her job to contact the school and begin the process of reviewing the child’s needs and how they will be met.

Socializing with peers is a large part of the education system. Inclusive classrooms make it possible for all students to interact with one another to develop positive social and emotional skills. By creating inclusive classrooms, educators are guaranteeing that students in special education programs will definitely be able to interact with students of all abilities.

What Are Some of the Best Books About Special Needs Children?

booksspecedMany parents of children with special needs will read every book the hits the shelves about their child’s specific need but not all are worth the time and money. Here is a limited list of good reference and resource books for parents, siblings and children:

Attention Deficit Disorder

Commanding Attention: A Parent and Patient Guide to More ADHD Treatment by Tess Messer MPH

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Written by a physician’s assistant and parent to an ADHD child, Commanding Attention explores the many conventional and unconventional treatment options for ADHD children and offers a personal insight into the world of ADD from a clinical perspective but delivers the information in an entertaining and objective manner.

To purchase Commanding Attention: A Parent and Patient Guide to More ADHD Treatment by Tess Messer MPH, go here.

Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets (Adventures of Everyday Geniuses) by Barbara Esham, Mike Gordon and Carl Gordon

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Written for young grade school age children, Wiggle Fidgets tells the story of, David and his struggle with ADHD in school.

To purchase Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets (Adventures of Everyday Geniuses) by Barbara Esham, Mike Gordon, and Carl Gordon, go here

Autism

A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome & High-Functioning Autism by Sally Ozonoff, Geraldine Dawson, and James McPartland

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A guide written for parents with children suffering from high-functioning forms of autism, the text is filled with information for parents to help focus their child’s energies and talents into the appropriate channels and assist with social nuances and situations.

To purchase A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome & High-Functioning Autism by Sally Ozonoff, Geraldine Dawson, and James McPartland, go here.

Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book by Celeste Shally

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An autistic boy and his friend navigate social situations together and demonstrate that friendship has not limitations. Easy to read for young children.

To purchase Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book by Celeste Shally, go here.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm

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This book offers a hopeful perspective from an author that has first hand experience as the mother of autistic children. The text encourages working with the autistic child and their way of doing things rather than attempting to force the child to act in a manner that is contrary to their nature.

To purchase Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm, go here.

 

Blindness and Visually Impaired

The Seeing Stick by Jane Yolen

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The daughter of Chinese royalty was born blind but with the help of doctors and men of magic, she will discover a new way to “see” the world without the use of her eyes. Fairy tale-like depiction for children to enjoy.

To purchase The Seeing Stick by Jane Yolen, go here.

Deafness and Hearing Impaired

The Deaf Musicians by Pete Seeger and Paul Dubois Jacobs

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Book for young children about a musician having recently suffered loss of his hearing but discovering he can still create and enjoy music. Written by real-life musician, Pete Seeger.

To purchase The Deaf Musicians by Pete Seeger and Paul Dubois Jacobs, go here.

Diabetes

Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents by Moira McCarthy, Jake Kushner MD and Barbara J. Anderson PhD

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A guide for parents raising teenagers with diabetes. Includes strategies to get the teens to adhere to their diet and medication schedules and other recommendations and advice dealing with this difficult age and the disease.

To purchase Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents by Moira McCarthy, Jake Kushner MD and Barbara J. Anderson PhD, go here.

Even Little Kids Get Diabetes by Connie Pirner

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An easy to read book for children that explains the disease in simple terms and helps the reader understand what it means to live with diabetes.

To purchase Even Little Kids Get Diabetes by Connie Pirner, go here.

Down Syndrome

Why Are You Looking At Me? I Just Have Down Syndrome by Lisa Tompkins

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A simple children’s book about a girl with Down Syndrome that teaches acceptance of others.

To purchase Why Are You Looking At Me? I Just Have Down Syndrome by Lisa Tompkins, go here.

Fasten Your Seatbelt: A Crash Course on Down Syndrome for Brothers and Sisters by Brian Skotko and Susan P. Levine

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A guide written for older children about their role as sibling to a person with Down Syndrome. Packed with lots of important information and provides a reference for older children with questions about their sibling.

To purchase Fasten Your Seatbelt: A Crash Course on Down Syndrome for Brothers and Sisters by Brian Skotko and Susan P. Levine, go here.

Emotional Disorders

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene PhD

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There are many emotional disorders and psychological issues but The Explosive Child covers one of the most difficult emotional problems: the angry, violent child. This book explores different strategies and approaches to dealing with, disciplining, and understanding a child that is prone to outbursts and unresponsive to limitations or traditional rule obedience.
To purchase The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene PhD go here.

Sometimes I’m Bombaloo by Rachel Vail

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A book written for young children about a girl that loses her temper. The book helps the reader understand that becoming angry and expressing that feeling is normal but calming down and behaving appropriately is part of the emotional journey.

To purchase Sometimes I’m A Bombaloo by Rachel Vail, go here.

Learning Disabilities

Thank You, Mr. Falkner by Patricia Polacco

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A book for school-age children about a girl that struggles to learn how to read. Recognizing her difficulty, a teacher works with her to overcome her dyslexia and learn how to read.

To purchase Thank You, Mr. Falkner by Patricia Polacco, go here.

Physical Disabilities

Harry and Willy and Carrothead by Judith Caseley

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Book for children about a boy born without a left hand that shows his classmates that his disability does not keep him from doing the same things they can do.

To purchase Harry and Willy and Carrothead by Judith Caseley, go here.

I’m the Big Sister Now by Michelle Emmert

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A girl cares for her older sister suffering from cerebral palsy in this touching children’s book.

To purchase I’m the Big Sister Now by Michelle Emmert, go here.

Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis

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A book written for young children about a girl enjoying all the activities every children loves only for the reader to discover at the end of the book that the little girl uses a wheelchair.
To purchase Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis, go here.

Other Issues

Views From Our Shoes: Growing Up With A Brother or Sister With Special Needs by Donald Meyer

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A compilation of essays written by children who are the siblings of children with a variety of special needs. The essay writers range in age from 4 to 18 and offer a unique and personalized glimpse into the world of growing up a person with special needs.

To purchase Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up With A Brother or Sister With Special Needs by Donald Meyer, go here

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Top 10 Free Classes Available Online For Special Education Teachers And Parents of Special Needs Children

freeclassesSpecial education, also referred to as special needs education, focuses on addressing the needs of children who experience a range of difficulties in learning, communicating, and managing their own emotions and behavior. They may also be facing challenges associated with physical disabilities, sensory impairments and development disorders.

Learning Strategies for Special Education

It’s imperative for parents, guardians, caretakers, teachers, and trainers to find both effective strategies and useful resources to help these students to do well in life. Moreover, the field of special education is far from static, new research and new laws change perspective. While a day-to-day common sense approach does help children with special needs, research-based strategies have proven time and again to be extremely effective. For this reason advanced training and certification is recommended for professional teachers.

Legal Protection for Special Education under IDEA

However, apart from improved educational methodology, there is also another component to the special education field that it is important for both parents and teachers to know well, the federal laws governing this field which is covered by the disability act known as IDEA. So, in most educational jurisdictions, special education is overseen by federal law under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Under the law, special education must provide support, services, and placements to all educational needs without any cost to the parents.

The categories under IDEA include sensory impairments like deafness, hearing impairments, blindness, visual impairments, and speech and language impairments; mental and emotional impairment like autism, developmental delays, emotional disturbance, mental retardation, specific learning disabilities, and traumatic brain injury; and physical impairments like multiple disabilities, orthopedic disabilities, and other health impairments. Additionally, some jurisdictions may include a Gifted category as children with extraordinary talent also have considerable difficulty fitting into the curriculum of regular schooling.

With that in mind, we have researched free online classes that address either educational techniques or legal issues. It wasn’t easy to find the best of ten free online classes available for parents and special education teachers from leading universities, e-learning providers, the autism society, and from online education databases but we did. Without further delay, here are the Top 10 Free Classes Available Online For Special Education Teachers and Parents of Special Needs Children:

Special Education Classes from Leading Universities

There are innumerable free online classes offered by some of the world’s best universities available at your fingertips. These cover everything that is available through the regular educational system and they are taught by leading professors. The courses are delivered through video lectures, articles, and online tests.

In the field of Special Education, we found two highly informative courses from the University of Southern Queensland and Yale University.

1. Teaching Students with Special Needs: Behavior Management from the University of Southern Queensland

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The University of Southern Queensland, formerly called the Queensland Institute of Technology was established in 1967. As the name indicates, it is located in Southern Queensland, Australia. Its main campus is on Toowoomba and it has campuses in Springfield and Fraser Coast.

In Teaching Students with Special Needs: Behavior Management, students are shown a number of methods to help special needs children in different age groups and educational levels. The course explores researched teaching methods and discusses various researched techniques to maintain attention in a classroom.

This course includes the following themes and is most suitable for special education students:

• Classroom teaching, management, and procedures
• Comprehensive methods to positively influence children
• Cooperative learning strategies
• Tutoring by peers

The course also provides in depth lectures on the following behavior management theories:

• The Kounin model
• The Behavior Modification model
• The Assertive Discipline model
• The Reality Therapy model
• The Logical Consequences model
• The Social Skills training model

For more, visit Teaching Students with Special Needs: Behavior Management here.

2. The Legal Rights of Children with Autism and Related Disorders from Yale University

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Yale University is ranked as one of the top private Ivy League universities in the world. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, it has developed a formidable reputation as one of the best places for students interested in advanced research.

Yale University has a YouTube Channel that offers free courses. In the field of special education it has an excellent class called, “The Legal Rights of Children with Autism and Related Disorders.”

The Legal Rights of Children with Autism and Related Disorders covers some highly important and relevant topics on legal issues in considerable depth.

The course includes the following themes:

• A brief history of how special education laws evolved over time
• How the law gets involved in the life of a child after he or she is diagnosed with autism or another related disorder. It covers the law’s involvement in school, home, and adult life
• What legal rights pertain to education, therapy, medical services, and social services
• How parents and guardians can get assistance from local, state, and federal agencies

This course is most suitable for parents as it explains legal issues in a straightforward way without trying to comprehend complicated legal jargon.

For more, visit The Legal Rights of Children with Autism and Related Disorders here.

Special Education Course from E-Learning Providers

E-learning providers are pioneers in the field of learning education. They provide cloud-based learning solutions to thousands of people all over the world. Although not universities or colleges per se, they still offer most educational courses available through formal education.

In the field of Special Education, we found three excellent courses from Alison, Open Learning, and LD online.

3. Working with Students with Special Education Needs by ALISON

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ALISON is an acronym for Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online. This e-learning provider was founded in 2007 by Mike Feerick in Galway, Ireland.

Working with Students with Special Education Needs discusses the requirements for meeting the individual needs of special education students. Teachers who work with special educational needs students need to learn certain skills and specific strategies to deliver the most effective classes.

This free course introduces teachers to the following themes:

• The core requirements of special education
• Changes in educational legislature, particularly in the U.S
• Teacher and trainer responsibilities
• An individual educational plan (IEP)

The course also provides a description of the following disabilities:

• Learning disabilities
• Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• Intellectual disabilities
• Behavioral disorders
• Physical disabilities
• Sensory impairments

Besides a description of each disability, it also goes into practical strategies teachers can use to assist students with each one.

The course is suited for special education teachers.

For more, visit Working with Students-with Special Educational Needs here.

4. The Nobody’s Normal Series by Open University

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The Open University is a British University. It is open to people who don’t have formal academic qualification.

The Nobody’s Normal series is a collaborative venture between the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the OpenLearn team, which is a program and web team at The Open University. It is a documentary series to help educate families about the special needs and challenges of disabled people. It covers the five most significant stages in their lives, namely birth, schooling, dating, leaving home, and aging through real-life case studies.

Here are the themes covered in the series:

• Program 1 is titled, “Baby Love.” It covers birth and the early years
• Program 2 is titled, “Education, education, education.” It covers the school years
• Program 3 is titled, “Love is in the air.” It covers adolescent dating
• Program 4 is titled, “Moving on.” It covers early leaving home as a young adult
• Program 5 is titled, “Who cares.” It covers old age

This course is suitable for parents as it provides a non-academic perspective on all the social issues around raising a child with disabilities.

For more, visit The Nobody’s Normal Series by Open University here.

5. Advocacy in Special Education by LD Online

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LD OnLine is an authority website on learning disabilities. It is a valuable resource for both parents and teachers.

Andrea Sherwin Ripp, Ed.M., MS, OTR/L, has created a free course on Advocacy in Special Education for parents. The program is built around her approved study doctorate thesis for research in special needs education.

The course is structured to offer:

• 2 surveys
• 3 readings
• Self-study questions
• A short answer assignment

It provides the following lessons on Special Advocacy:

• Special education documentation
• Legal rights
• Practical strategies to get support and services
• References to nationwide parent support networks
• References to special education resources

The course is suitable for parents. Parents who complete the course receive a course certificate and a comprehensive resource list. They are also entered into a drawing for one of five Amazon.com gift certificates valued at $25 each.

For more, visit Advocacy in Special Education here.

Special Education Classes from the Autism Society of America

Dr. Bernard Rimland and Dr Ruth Sullivan founded the Autism Society of America in 1965 to support parents with children who had autism or related disorders. The Autism society offers two useful classes for parents: Autism 101 and Autism and the Environment 101.

6. Autism Society: Autism 101

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Autism 101 is principally for parents, but may also help those working with autism as caregivers. This course covers the autism spectrum, treatment options and assistance, transition to adulthood, and what parents can do every day. Participants can download a certificate of completion in PDF format to have a reminder of their course experiences.

For more, visit Autism 101 here.

7. Autism and the Environment 101 by the Autism Society

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Autism and the Environment 101 expands on the ideas introduced in the Autism 101 course to give a much broader understanding of Autism. This course covers a new model of autism, why there is a noticeable rise of autism spectrum disorders, and the role of government in helping children with autism. The course concludes with what parents and caretakers can do every day. Participants can receive a printable PDF certificate of completion.

For more, visit Autism and the Environment 101 here.

Special Education Classes from Open Education Database

Open Education Database (OEDb) may very well be the most comprehensive collection of both online university and free courses available in the world. Founded in 2007, it has been a pioneer in the open education movement. In fact, it offers information on as many as 10,000 free open courses. We found three course on special education offered by Liberty University. Liberty University is a private, Christian institution in Lynchburg Virginia. On campus, it has 12,600 residential students. Its online division has 90,000 students and is hosted on iTunes as part of the iTunes U course collection.

8. Current Trends in Special Education by Liberty University

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Current Trends in Special Education includes the following themes:

• Legal and ethical issues
• Documentation procedures
• The Individual Education Plan (IEP)
• The Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP)
• Service delivery in school, church and community locations

For more, visit Current Trends in Special Education here.

9. Issues and Trends in Exceptionality by Liberty University

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Issues and Trends in Exceptionality by Liberty University includes the following themes:

• Trends influencing special education
• How to research, analyze and evaluate controversial issues when it comes to exceptionalities.

This course is most suitable for special education teachers.

For more, visit Issues and Trends in Exceptionality by Liberty University here.

10. Learning and Behavior Problems by Liberty University

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Learning and Behavior Problems includes the following themes:
• Characteristics of children with disabilities
• Learning and behavior problems
• Remediation goals

This course is suited for special education teachers.

For more, visit Learning and Behavior Problems here.

Bonus Links, Information, and Resources

In addition to these 10 free online courses there are many other helpful online resources. Classes, videos, podcasts, and articles on special education provide detailed knowledge about the characteristics of various disorders, the legal aspects of advocacy and assistance, and creative teaching methods.

Here are some additional resources for special education teachers to consider:

Visit Do to Learn for free activities and games
Visit Teacher Vision for free curriculum ideas and techniques for managing classrooms
The National Association of Special Education Teachers to stay informed on the latest special education teaching methods

Top 10 Online Associates of Early Childhood/Special Education Programs

early-childhood-ed-onlineIf you are planning on pursuing your associate’s degree in early childhood education or special education you should consider completing your degree through an online program. Many online programs allow you the flexibility to earn your degree while you maintain work and family responsibilities while acquiring the academic foundation necessary to enhance your skills and career potential.  Many of the top online schools have been awarding degrees and helping students reach their career goals for years especially for those just embarking on their college education within associate degree programs.  

Earning an associate’s degree in early childhood education can prepare you to work in a variety of childcare settings. Daycare centers, head start programs and early learning centers demand highly qualified and experienced staff. You may also seek employment in community college childcare centers and preschools. If you decide you love teaching, you may consider advancing your education by earning a bachelor’s degree in education to eventually gain certification to become a teacher.   Most also offer the added bonus of easily continuing your education with credits that transfer towards your bachelor’s degree.

The following Top 10 Online Associates of Early Childhood/Special Education Programs are some of the best available online for those looking to enter the early childhood education field. 

Best of all, this list of online programs were chosen from schools which offer several advantages over others programs. Reasonable tuition rates, great student to teacher ratios, simple application processes, high acceptance rates, and excellent programs with well qualified, professional instructors are all factors we considered while making this list. So, without further delay, we offer you Top 10 Online Associates of Early Childhood/Special Education Programs.

1. Post University

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Post University has been in business for 120 years. It offers an early childhood education associate’s degree program that is available online. The cost to obtain the degree is $29,400 for 60 credits, which is the complete length of the program. Post University is holds an accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The university has been ranked number 6 on the list of top online schools by College Crunch. This program offers small classes sizes and the option to complete your coursework from any location.

For more about Post University’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

2. Ashworth College

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This college offers an early childhood education associate’s degree program that can be completed in 4 semesters. Since all courses are offered online, you’ll work at your own pace. Semesters vary in length from 6 to 12 months depending on the amount of time you have available to dedicate to coursework. Ashworth College offers a 3 different payment plans. Students can expect to pay anywhere between $950 and $1250 per semester. This college holds an accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). It is ranked 7th for online education institutions by College Crunch. This program accepts previously earned college credits and may award credit for certain life experiences, reducing the number of credits you need to take to earn your degree.

For more about Ashworth College’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

3. Bellevue College

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Bellevue College has a physical campus located in Bellevue, Washington. They offer an early childhood education program and a special education program. The cost of tuition and fees to attend Bellevue College was $3763 for the 2012-2013 school year. Book and housing are additional costs that are not figured into this number. This college holds an accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. It is currently listed as “unranked” by U.S. News and World Report. The early childhood education program is presented in a format that includes observation, class participation and practical experience.

For more about Bellevue College’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

4. Clarion University

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This public school is a nationally recognized university in Pennsylvania, but they offer online programs for students anywhere. The early childhood education program can be completed entirely online. The program is 60 credits in length and prepares graduates to work in childcare centers, schools and head start programs. The reported tuition to attend Clarion University was $9090 for students attending during the 2012-2013 academic year. This degree program is fully accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children(NAEYC). Clarion University was recently ranked as the 16th best online school of 2013 by SR Education Group. The credits earned in this program can be applied to the bachelor’s degree program at Clarion University if you wish to further your education.

For more about Clarion University’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

5. Granite State University

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Granite State University is part of the University System of New Hampshire. It offers an early childhood education associate’s degree program that is available online. It can be completed in approximately 6 terms. The cost of attending Granite State University is $285 per credit for students that reside in-state. This university holds an accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). U.S. News and World Report ranks Granite State University’s bachelor’s degree programs #27 out of 237 schools. This is great news for students who plan to further their education by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Credits earned in the associate’s degree program are designed to transfer seamlessly to the bachelor’s degree program.

For more about Granite State University’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

6. Kaplan University

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Kaplan University is one of the top online schools. They are a well-known university that has been around for years. The associate’s degree in early childhood education is 90 credit hours and takes 2 years to complete if you are attending full-time. The cost of attending Kaplan University to complete this degree program is $33,390. This university holds an accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and The Higher Learning Commission. It is ranked 2nd among online schools by College Crunch. Credits earned from other colleges and institutions may transfer to Kaplan, possibly making your journey from classes to your degree much shorter.

For more about Kaplan University’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

7. Penn Foster College

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Penn Foster College is an online school that offers an associate’s degree in early childhood education. They state that their tuition is priced very competitive with other schools. Most programs have an average credit rate of $79. The early childhood education program is 63 credit hours and can be completed in roughly 4 semesters. This college holds an accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and has been awarded a license by the Arizona State Board for Private Post Secondary Education. Penn Foster College is currently not ranked. The program at this college is unique because they have no application fee and accept credit from some high schools and colleges. This can give you a head start when entering the program.

For more about Penn Foster College’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Ppograms, go here.

8. Liberty University

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Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, Virginia. They have an early childhood education associate’s degree program that can be completed on campus or online. The program is 60 credit hours and can help you gain employment in childcare centers, early learning centers and churches. The cost to attend the online program at Liberty University is approximately $20,400. This university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. U.S. News and World Report ranks Liberty University as 89th on the list of regional universities in the South. This program allows a seamless transfer of credits earned during the associate’s degree program to the bachelor’s degree program.

For more about Liberty University’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

9. Ashford University

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Ashford University offers an early childhood education program online, so students can complete the program without ever needing to visit the campus. The total tuition, including books and fees, for the duration of the program is $31,121. This university holds an accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and The Higher Learning Commission. Ashford University was ranked 5th on the list of online colleges by MyCollegesandCareers.com and Once you’ve finished your associate’s degree, you have the option of continuing your education and beginning your bachelor’s degree. All credits earned in the associate’s degree program count towards your entry into the bachelor’s degree program.

For more about Ashford University’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

10. Concordia University

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This university is located in St. Paul Minnesota. It offers an associate’s degree in early childhood education that can completed entirely online. The program is 64 credits and can be completed at your own pace. The cost to complete this online program is approximately $22,400. This university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and The Higher Learning Commission. It is ranked number 92 on the list of regional universities in the Midwest. The program also meets all of the requirements of the Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credentialing Program.

For more about Concordia University’s Online Associates in Early Childhood/Special Education Programs, go here.

Where Can Parents of Special Needs Children Get Support?

parentalsupportIf you are the parent of a child with special needs such as a terminal illness, learning disabilities, developmental delays, cognitive damage or psychiatric problems, then you may have found it difficult to find support in your area. Many times when you are the parent of a child with special needs such as autism, you may find yourself faced by friends and family who do not fully understand your unique situation. They may withdraw from you, purely out a sense of not knowing how to help, leaving you with a feeling of having no support system. Support groups can offer you a wealth of information that has been assembled over years of experience from many parents who have faced similar struggles.

The experience of a support group can put you in touch with children who may share interest which your child enjoys. Family get-togethers or outings can be a more positive experience when shared with a family who is both comfortable with, and familiar with the social requirements of, a special needs child.

Finding a new friend as a playmate for your child is a nice perk of attending a local support group, but support groups are also a great time for parents to find new friends for themselves. Take a moment to socialize and see what you might have in common with attending parents.

The Value of Shared Experiences

Parents are presented with empowering opportunities to share their experiences with others who are raising a child with special needs, in hopes of bettering one another’s knowledge base. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes one to raise a community. Social and emotional support is available from people who probably live close by in your neighborhood. Take advantage of the assistance that is available for you. Establishing contact with other parents of special needs children can open doors to assistance which you may not have been aware of, such as educational classes, inclusive events and other community support.

Important, first hand knowledge can be presented from other parents in regards to medications, education, recreational services such as summer camps, doctors and therapy services, as well as recommended locations to obtain a haircut. You may not be aware of certain funding, services or strategies that you can turn to and speaking to other parents of special needs children can reveal the proper procedures for requesting assistance from any state run assistance programs. Speaking with other parents in a support group is also a great opportunity to talk over any decisions about ideas you may be considering engaging in with your child. Other parents can offer advice on how to approach a given situation from their own experiences.

There are many services specialized for your child’s specific needs. The Autism Source is but only one. It is a resource database that offers resources through a nationwide network of autism organizations throughout the USA. Your child’s school as well as non-profit organizations may have groups that meet monthly or once a week and sometimes offer a guest speaker. Ask faculty or staff if they can point you in the right direction for local options. If you are having difficulty finding a local support group in your area you can locate a vast majority of support groups through the internet. Blogs, Social networking sites, chat forums and more, can be easily located online. This is great for parents who have a busy schedule and limited time available for travelling.