What Can You Do With a Master’s in Special Education?

Master's in Special EducationEarning a Master’s in Special Education degree can unlock diverse career opportunities in one of the most in-demand educational fields. As statistics now show that 6.4 million youth receive special education services between the ages of 3 and 21 in public school districts across the United States., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. There is a critical shortage of qualified professionals joining the teams and working with these children. At the master’s level, programs provide an in-depth knowledge in motor skills assessment, applied behavior analysis, research, instructional design, behavioral management, human development, moderate/severe disabilities, educational law, and leadership that can be utilized in many areas of special education. Read on to learn about the most popular jobs for graduates with a Master’s in Special Education degree for working with children with disabilities.

Special Education Teacher

By far, the most popular jobs for individuals possessing a Master’s in Special Education degree are found within the classroom as special education teachers. From preschool through high school, special education teachers work to adapt general education lessons to meet the unique learning needs of students with a variety of learning, mental, behavioral, emotional, and physical disabilities that impact academic performance. Special education teachers often meet with parents, teacher assistants, administrators, counselors, and other school specialists to outline students’ needs in developing individualized educational programs (IEPs). Whether in an inclusive classroom or in a self-contained class, special education teachers use the strategies learned in their master’s program to plan and implement learning activities for each students’ abilities.

Educational Diagnostician

Educational diagnosticians work as part of a multidisciplinary team to conduct psycho-educational assessment for assessing students’ needs and diagnosing learning problems. Most diagnosticians provide ongoing consultative services to school districts for providing input to the IEP committee regarding students’ academic strengths and weaknesses based on testing results for finding appropriate modifications. Educational diagnosticians may also find job opportunities performing psychometric evaluations in hospitals, private practices, community centers, government agencies, and other educational institutions. In addition to having a Master’s in Special Education, some educational diagnosticians will need to also have special state licensure and/or at least three years of teaching experience.

Director of Special Education

In administrative roles of both public and private schools, special education directors are given the responsibility of overseeing programs that provide services to children with disabilities. In order to meet all short-term and long-term goals for meeting a high quality of education for all students, directors are involved in developing budgets, implementing grants, reviewing relevant legislation, analyzing need assessments, research current field trends, and supervising professional development opportunities for special education teachers. Directors must possess strong interpersonal skills with their Master’s in Special Education degree to communicate effectively with teachers, parents, students, staff members, and other administrators to ensure schools are meet the exceptional learning needs of every child with a disability.

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Working in special education leads to jobs that necessitate tons of skill, patience, compassion, and training into graduate school, but these positions are usually among the most rewarding for the right type of people. Choosing to earn a Master’s in Special Education is an excellent idea for individuals seeking to become special education teachers, educational diagnosticians, special education directors, behavior analysts, intervention specialists, or even speech and language pathologists to use their talents with children who need it the most.