Who Is the Program Designed For?
The program is designed to meet the needs of two types of graduate students: 1) general education teachers who wish to expand their expertise to meet the needs of students with disabilities in their own classrooms or to obtain a position as a special educator; 2) career changers who have undergraduate degrees in areas outside of teaching and wish to become special educators. The program is also suitable for special educators who wish to obtain a master’s degree in their field.
What Is the Format of the Program?
The coursework in the program is fully online. Courses are 5 weeks long with breaks of a week or more in between courses. Most students take the courses sequentially so they are able to complete the program in about 15 months. Students who want a slower pace take one or two courses a semester.
What Are the Required Courses?
The approved master’s program for Special Education is a maximum of 30 semester hours of prescribed graduate credit. The program consists of 10 courses that are three credit hours each. Students who have taken similar recent graduate courses elsewhere may be allowed to transfer in hours with approval. Course topics include characteristics of disability areas, intervention strategies, special education law.
What Types of Field Experiences Are Required?
Field experiences refer to practical experiences in schools, including observing, interviewing, teaching, or conducting action research in the classroom. Many of the courses have field experiences integrated into the assignments. Students who are teachers or paraprofessionals working in the schools are able to complete many of these assigments in their own schools and classrooms. Students who are not employed in the schools will be assisted in finding schools and mentor teachers to work with.
What Can You Expect From the Program?
You can expect the program to be an intense study of the field of special education with a focus on teaching methodology. When you complete the program, you will have a background in assessment, teaching, and collaborating for the benefit of students with disabilities and their families. To do well in the program, good writing and thinking skills are essential.