The share of U.S. students in special education has been rising for most of this decade and the demand for special education teachers has also continued to increase. According to Education Week, 5.83 million children ages 6 to 21 were covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as of fall 2014. That number is a slight uptick from the low of 5.67 million, reached in fall 2011.
“Demand for special education teachers has been strong in recent years.”
The National Center for Education Statistics has similarly estimated that 6.5 million total students, representing 13 percent of public school enrollment, were served by IDEA for the 2013-2014 school year. It is no surprise that in this context, demand for special education teachers has been strong in recent years: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 6 percent growth, in their employment between 2014 and 2024.
The advantages of a master’s degree in special education
A bachelor’s degree is the baseline for becoming a special education teacher, but a Master of Science in Special Education (MSSPE) confers additional advantages such as:
- Strengthening your credentials in assisting students with cognitive differences, learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders.
- Helping you obtain full certification in some states that require a graduate degree in special education.
- Giving you a higher salary ceiling than a bachelor’s degree holder. Job site Indeed estimated that the average special education teacher with a master’s degree earned $63,000 in 2014, compared to $57,910 for all such teachers in 2016 in the BLS numbers.
Gwynedd Mercy offers an accelerated online program to obtain your MSSPE with only 30 course credits. You can enroll as long as you have a bachelor’s degree and an Instructional 1 Certification in any educational area. An additional specialization in the study of autism is available by completing 12 more credits.
“I am currently enrolled in the online program and I have the most welcoming and helpful teachers, as well as an advisor who has been so flexible,” stated Dana Fitzpatrick, a student on the MSSPE track. “The community is what I like most about GMercyU.”
Learn more about your MSSPE options today. Visit the main program page for more information on admissions and structure.