A number of reputable schools offer master’s in special education online. Of course, many traditional universities house Colleges of Education that offer degrees at every level and in every area of interest. Unfortunately, many of these schools are accompanied by sky-high tuition rates and on-campus requirements that limit their accessibility to just a small percentage of financially successful families.
Luckily, distance education has experienced a significant increase in popularity over the last decade or so. The 21st century has offered us better phones and faster internet connections, to be sure, but it has also ushered in a new era of online learning. Students who take classes online typically benefit from cheaper tuition rates, but they also enjoy high-tech learning delivery systems, interactive discussion boards, and engaging media presentations. As online colleges increase their repertoire of programs, many of them have added special education to the list.
As evidence of this, we’ve put together a list of the 15 best value schools in special education. At the most basic level, these schools represent the institutions of higher education with the lowest tuition rates for their graduate students. But you’ll also notice that many of them proudly display top rankings and reputable accreditations that make their cheap cost per credit even more enticing. Using information from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database, we have listed them from most to least expensive, but be sure to look into special discounts and residency-based cost reductions that could decrease your overall investment even further.
Ranking Cheap Master’s in Special Education Online Degree Programs 2015
15. Indiana Wesleyan University
Online Master of Education – Special Education
Working special-education teachers seeking to advance in their careers can turn to Indiana Wesleyan University to take that first important step. The school’s online master’s degree in special education equips students with the methods, theories, and practical knowledge to teach exceptional children. Courses include Research-Based Behavior Intervention, Leading Instructional Improvement, and Classroom Responses to Individual Differences in Language and Culture. Students also benefit from personal academic advisers as they pursue their online education. The Best Schools website named Indiana Wesleyan to its list of the nation’s 30 Best Online Master in Special Education Degree Programs.
14. Grand Canyon University
Online Master’s in Special Education
Grand Canyon University has designed its accredited online master’s degree in special education to prepare graduates to positively impact the lives of children and adolescents with unique challenges. The degree can empower teachers to reach students with cognitive impairments, learning and emotional disabilities, and other challenges. Courses focus on structured English immersion, diagnosis and assessment, and assistive technology. What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of special education teachers to increase by 17 percent by 2018. GraduatePrograms.com gave Grand Canyon’s graduate offerings a positive rating of 8.1.
13. Liberty University
Online Master of Arts in Teaching – Special Education
Have no prior teaching experience but feel called to serve students with special needs? The master’s degree in special education online at Liberty University will prepare you to successfully teach students with mild to moderate disabilities. The curriculum focuses on education assessment and intervention, as well as behavior management, in combination with core courses. Students have access to an online library and writing center as well as a department designed to assist military service members and their families. Recognizing the school’s quality, Top Masters in Education ranked Liberty sixth on its list of Best Online Master of Arts in Teaching Programs.
12. Western Carolina University
Online Special Education Graduate Degree
Accomplished teachers seeking leadership positions in their field can count on Western Carolina University and its online master’s degrees in special education to equip them with all the tools they need for advancement. The university combines core special education courses with professional learning and specializations in gifted, learning disabilities, severe disabilities, and behavioral disorders. Students can opt for either the Master of Arts in Teaching or the Master of Arts in Education. Affordable Colleges Online ranked Western Carolina University #6 on its list of Top Online Schools in North Carolina for 2015.
Tuition: $4,098/yr (In-state) $14,505/yr (Out-of-state)
11. Minnesota State University Moorhead
Online Master of Science in Special Education
Minnesota State University-Moorhead has designed a top online master’s degree in special education to allow professionals in the field to pursue further growth. Students review research with critical analysis, learn advanced education concepts and practice how to apply what they learn to the classroom. Moorhead allows students to choose specific 15-credit areas to study within the master’s program, including emotional and behavioral disorders, developmental disabilities, and early childhood special education. Courses include Biomedical Aspects of Physical and Health Disabilities and Assessment Strategies. Best Education Schools ranked Moorhead 15th among education schools in the state of Minnesota.
Tuition: $6,066/yr (In-state) $12,132/yr (Out-of-state)
10. Purdue University Calumet
Online Master in Special Education
Education professionals who wish to broaden their understanding of those with special needs can complete Purdue University-Calumet’s online master’s degree in special education in as little as 20 months. Combining up-to-date technology with current advances in the field, Purdue-Calumet prepares students to develop specific student accommodations, use assessment methods to make informed decisions, and understand the legal requirements and ethical issues involved. The program also has a 100% pass rate on the state licensure exam. EdInformatics took note of the program’s quality and named Purdue-Calumet to its list of Top Online Schools for Teachers.
Tuition: $5,385/yr (In-state) $11,861/yr (Out-of-state)
9. Concordia University St. Paul
Online Master of Arts in Special Education
Teachers who wish to learn not only instructional design but also the intricate social and behavioral framework necessary for successful special education will find Concordia University-St. Paul to be a great fit. Concordia’s affordable online master’s degree in special education prepares students to be effective, introspective, and responsible educators who strive to serve unique learning populations. Students finish one three-credit-hour course every seven to eight weeks. Courses include Ethical Issues for Professional Education, Applied Experience in Learning Disabilities, and Collaboration in Inclusive Settings. U.S. News & World Report ranked Concordia-St. Paul #106 among regional universities in the Midwest.
8. University of Wyoming
Online Master of Arts in Education – Specialization in Special Education
Educators looking for a flexible Master of Arts in Education program that allows them to attend either full- or part-time and features a special education specialization should consider the University of Wyoming. The school offers courses online and via video conference. What’s more, graduates are eligible to apply for certification from the Wyoming Department of Education. Wyoming has designed this online master’s degree in special education to mold students into effective, qualified teachers who serve K-12 students with a wide range of disabilities and special learning challenges. Best Education Schools ranked Wyoming #183 among all education schools nationwide.
Tuition: $3,978/yr (In-state) $11,880/yr (Out-of-state)
7. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Online Master of Arts in Special Education
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a technologically relevant and affordable online Master of Arts in Special Education degree that prepares students for a state teaching license. Graduates will be ready to create inclusive, effective learning environments for all manner of special education students. Furthermore, they will be on top of the changes in mobile technology – such as iPads – that teachers are using to change the education landscape. Students can attend classes via traditional computers or by using an iPad app. U.S. News & World Report ranked Saint Mary’s #181 among national universities.
6. Frostburg State University
Online Master of Education – Special Education
Classroom teachers can gain significant insight into the world of children with unique needs via Frostburg State University’s online Master of Education program. The Special Education degree focuses on how to diagnose educational difficulties, create a more inclusive environment, and develop content for the classroom. Students can join the university’s chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, a fraternity for men and women studying education. In addition to coursework, students will also complete a capstone research project identifying and researching solutions to a specific need in the classroom. GetEducated.com named FSU a “Best Buy” and ranked it the 21st Best Online Master’s Degree in Special Education in the nation.
Tuition: $6,426/yr (In-state) $8,262/yr (Out-of-state)
5. Kentucky State University
Online Master of Arts in Special Education with Certification
This online master’s degree in Special Education with Certification is designed for those who wish to become certified in Learning and Behavior Disorders P-12. Special education teachers are in high demand and this program provides intensive training and clinical experience to both educators and those with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education. This two-year program offers both fall and spring admissions. Students typically take two eight-week courses for two years and candidates have 24/7/365 access to technical, faculty, and peer support. Classes include Legal and Parental Issues, Research in Special Education, and Supervised Student Teaching. Edudemic included KSU on its list of the Top 30 Online Masters Programs in Special Education.
4. Graceland University
Online Master of Education in Mild/Moderate Special Education
Graceland University’s online master’s degree in Mild/Moderate Special Education is the perfect fit for educators looking for a highly reputable graduate education that also offers the flexibility needed to juggle work and family responsibilities while in school. This two-year NCATE-accredited program’s curriculum is aligned with both the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the Council of Exceptional Children standards. Students learn in cohorts and take classes together, including Educational Assessment, Transitional Planning, and Collaborative Study of Mild/Moderate Disabilities. Graceland University was ranked the #5 Best Online Graduate Education Program in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
3. Western Governors University
Online M.S. in Special Education
Western Governor’s University offers a completely online master’s degree in Special Education for those seeking a career helping K-12 students with mild-to-moderate disabilities reach their full potential. This program, designed for working educators with a bachelor’s degree, focuses on coursework in Special Education, Instructional Design, Research Fundamentals, and culminates in a capstone project. While the average time to complete the degree is 2 ½ years, WGU’s competency-based education program allows students to design a personalized study plan under the guidance of a mentor and to complete the program at an accelerated pace. The National Council on Teacher Quality ranked WGU the #1 program in the nation for secondary teacher education programs.
2. Fort Hays State University
Online Master of Science in Special Education
Educators looking to improve the lives of children while earning a degree for jobs in high demand should look to Fort Hays State University’s excellent yet cheap online master’s degree in Special Education. This 100% online program offers working adults the flexibility to complete coursework both synchronously through televised lectures and asynchronously through guided study while also offering a community-based educational experience with Blackboard, blogs, Wiki, Facebook, Google Apps for Education, and many other innovative technologies. FHSU was ranked the #5 Best Online Graduate Education Program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2015.
Tuition: $3,094/yr (In-state) $8,812/yr (Out-of-state)
1. Fitchburg State University
Online Master of Education in Special Education
Fitchburg State University offers a graduate program in Special Education with the option to specialize in Guided Studies, Reading, Moderate Disabilities, or Severe Disabilities. This online student-centered program’s mission is to provide working adults with classes that offer the same high-quality education as traditional students. To support this mission, FSU incorporates the latest technology to help graduate students connect with classmates and succeed in the program. Graduates enjoy rewarding careers as special education teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, or adapted physical education teachers. The National Council on Teacher Quality ranked FSU’s online master’s degree in special education program #20 in the nation in 2014.
The Best Schools
Top Master’s in Education
Affordable Colleges Online
Best Education Schools
U.S. News Ranking & Reviews
National Council on Teacher Quality
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.
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This concludes our ranking of cheap master’s in special education online degree programs.