A Degree in Special Education Can Pave the Way to a Rewarding Teaching Career

July 8th, 2014 by

A great teacher There are a variety of different factors that influence a person’s choice of college degree and future career. Potential salary, job security in the field, personal interests and natural ability are all important elements that help narrow down the many options and allow you to end up with a career that you can be happy with. However, it is important not to forget that personal fulfillment and validation is integral for long-term career happiness.

Having a meaningful job that truly makes a difference in the world can help you feel better about working hard or enduring the grind of daily work. One of the most positive influences you can undertake is to become a special education teacher.

Find out more about earning your degree in special education, how you can earn your degree online, what kind of courses you can expect to find on your curriculum, what happens after graduation and what kind of careers are open to you within the field.

Exploring the Various Degrees in Special Education

There are three common degrees that you can consider within the field of special education. The first, an associate degree, is generally considered to be a stepping stone to more advanced degrees. It takes just two years to complete, but it can only prepare students for the most entry-level careers in the special education field.

The far more popular degree option is the bachelor’s degree, which is a four-year degree program. This is typically the degree of choice for those undergraduate students who want to become special education teachers or counselors after graduation.

The third and final degree is the master’s in special education. This takes anywhere from one to two years to complete, and it can only be earned by those who already hold a bachelor’s degree. While not all special education teachers require this master’s degree, it is necessary in order to become state certified as a special education counselor or to work in some settings.

The Appeal of Online Special Education Degrees

Whether you are interested in studying special education or any other subject, you will need to pick the right college where you can focus on your preferred major, enjoy high-quality teaching and receive a degree that helps you find employment.

While many students are under the impression that they have to attend a traditional college campus in order to earn their degree, that simply is no longer the case. Accredited online colleges meet the same objectives, but they are often much easier to fit into a busy schedule.

Online degrees might consist of classroom lectures, coursework, group projects, discussions and exams, just like an ordinary campus degree, but everything is done over the Internet. Instead of attending early morning classes, you can watch the recordings whenever it fits into your schedule. Instead of commuting, living on campus or dealing with traffic, you just have to open up your computer and log on.

An additional bonus of earning an online degree in special education is that you can set your own pace for degree completion. Even exams can be scheduled to fit in with your life, allowing you to feel confident and ready each time you sit for a test.

Prerequisites to Enrollment in a Bachelor’s Degree Program

By far the most popular degree in special education is the bachelor’s degree. Even if you are committed to earning this degree, you will first need to apply to a specific college program, meet the school’s admission prerequisites and then be accepted.

The application process is typically very straightforward, particularly if you plan to attend an online college. However, you will still need to meet a set of requirements set by the college in order to be accepted and then admitted. Generally, a bachelor’s degree in special education requires applicants to be over the age of 18 by the time of enrollment and have either a general education degree or a high school diploma.

In many competitive colleges, the admission staff will also ask for things like SAT scores, ACT scores, a minimum grade point average, references from your previous or current teachers and even a written essay. It is important to keep in mind that you may not get accepted to the first choice for your college education, but you will almost certainly be able to find a school that meets your needs and still offers special education as a major for you to study.

Typical Curriculum for a Bachelor’s in Special Education

Before enrolling into a bachelor’s degree program in special education, you should have a realistic picture of what the degree is made up of. The curriculum can and almost certainly will vary from college to college, but the core courses often remain the same.

Over the eight semesters that make up a standard bachelor’s degree, be prepared to take subjects like disability law, assessment techniques, classroom structure, learning disabilities, behavioral analysis and educational psychology. In addition to these special education courses, you may be expected to take some general education classes like history, business communications, math or even a foreign language, all of which can help you to become a more rounded student and versatile teacher.

Career Opportunities in the Field of Special Education

The obvious career choice for those who graduate with a degree in special education is to become a special education teacher in a classroom. However, there are a variety of different options that graduates with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree will be able to choose from.

Having an additional master’s degree will open up even more doors for employment, many of which bring with them even greater earning potential. Just a few of the careers you can pursue include positions like language and speech pathologist, early intervention specialist, adaptive special education consultants and special education counselors. There are a variety of different ways that you can help children and adults to get the education they deserve regardless of their mental or physical challenges.

Taking Steps After Graduation

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in special education, there are still a number of different steps that you can take in order to find employment that you love. Many states require special education teachers to intern in a supervised setting for up to a year before they can be certified, and others require aspiring teachers to take an exam before they can officially work in the classroom.

You should also expect to take a background check before you can be employed. You may also want to look into additional certification courses that allow you to focus on specific special education needs, such as physical disabilities or autism, that give you a specialization area where you can excel.

Through an accredited online college, you can earn a special education degree and embark on a fulfilling new career path. Whether you want to work in a classroom, in an office setting or with parents, being a part of the special education field can give meaning and purpose to your life. Visit to explore your options to earn your degree online.


About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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