As a teacher, have you considered specializing in special education? The number of students needing specialized instruction has been growing for decades, creating many opportunities for qualified teachers:
- The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted in 1975. It guarantees free public education for eligible students between the ages of 3 and 21, with access to both individualized instruction and curricula appropriate for their respective grade levels.
- During the first school year IDEA was on the books, 1976-77, 8.3 percent of all enrolled public school students were covered under its provisions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That share rose to 13.8 percent by 2004-2005 before declining slightly to 12.9 percent in 2013-2014.
- However, despite the overall decline in enrollment, there has been a rise in specific educational impairments in recent years. For example, autism and various conditions stemming from diseases such as diabetes, asthma and sickle-cell anemia have risen, while learning disabilities have dropped.
Special education teachers typically have a bachelor’s degree in the field. However, a master’s degree provides additional training that can qualify you for additional senior-level opportunities and the higher compensation that comes with those positions.
What are the benefits of a Master of Science in Special Education?
The Master of Science in Special Education (MSSPE) is a powerful addition to any special education teacher resume. For starters, it can open the door to a job title such as director of special education programs or instructional coordinator at a school.
“The MSSPE is a powerful addition to any special education teacher resume.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the latter occupation would see 7 percent growth in employment between 2014 and 2024 – slightly faster than the 6 percent expansion expected for special education teachers over the same time period. While these professionals had a 2016 median salary well above the national median, education administrators at the primary and secondary levels earned even more; the BLS estimated their annual wages at more than $92,000.
In addition to the prospect for higher-paying employment, an MSSPE also provides valuable background in a wide range of relevant topics, including:
- Special education law and ethics.
- Educational research.
- Behavior management skills for special education learners.
Why you should consider earning an MSSPE at GMercyU
Gwynedd Mercy University offers an accelerated online MSSPE program with classes scheduled one at a time in 7-week blocks. MSSPE students also have the option to complete additional coursework focused on autism spectrum disorders and how today’s instructors help affected individuals.
Since the program is fully online, it offers maximum convenience for students who may wish to continue working while they complete their degree requirements. The MSSPE track at GMercyU is specifically designed to train educators to meet the needs of pre-K to eighth grade students.
“I am currently enrolled in an online program and I have the most welcoming and helpful teachers, as well as an advisor who has been so flexible,” stated MSSPE student Dana Fitzpatrick. “The community is what I like most about GMercyU.”
Learn more about the program by visiting its overview page today, where you can also contact a counselor.