What Can You Do With A Master’s In Special Education?

Do you have a long-term career goal in the field of special education? We’ve got you covered. PennWest California offers dynamic M.Ed. programs to help you build a rewarding and fulfilling career in this important field. PennWest California offers many online M.Ed. degree programs that can provide you with the certifications and know-how necessary to advance your career. Just as there are many reasons for earning a bachelor’s degree in special education,there are a number of career benefits and job opportunities that await an individual with an M.Ed.

Let’s look at the wide array of career options available in school settings and elsewhere.

Careers in Special Education

Many students in PennWest California’s graduate program are dedicated special education teachers who love their jobs and have no intention of leaving the classroom. Earning a master’s degree in special education online is a way for these individuals to become more effective classroom teachers while also increasing their earning potential and preparing for future career opportunities. Special education programs such as PennWest California’s online M.Ed. with certification for grades pre-K through 8 and the online M.Ed. with certification for grades 7 through 12 are designed with committed professionals in mind, giving them a broad knowledge base while also preparing them for supervisory roles.

PennWest California’s other M.Ed. programs in special education also appeal to teachers, but some may lead to job opportunities that go beyond the traditional classroom setting. Here are a few of the many careers for individuals who earn an online master’s in special education.

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). A growing number of school systems are recruiting BCBAs to develop behavior plans for students in special education or mainstream classes. At PennWest California, graduate students can work toward certification as a BCBA, with one track specifically devoted to working with individuals with autism.
  • Special Education Supervisor. Many larger schools or school districts rely on seasoned special education teachers, typically with M.Ed. degrees, to help supervise documentation and create Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Like consultants, these special education professionals may move from classroom to classroom or school to school, serving as mentors while making sure that the special education program is in compliance with school policies and state and federal regulations.
  • Autism Specialist/Autism Coordinator. The sharp increase in the number of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) means that some large schools or school districts are hiring special education professionals devoted solely to the task of providing therapeutic, educational and case management services to students with ASD. Some states have defined qualifications for this role, so you may have to continue your education depending on where you work and what services you are asked to provide. PennWest California offers a comprehensive, 100% online master’s in special education with a focus on autism spectrum disorders that may be able to help you fill this role.
  • Educational Consultant. Many school districts hire educational consultants to offer fresh ideas or address lingering problems. With more and more states identifying special education as a pressing need, experienced consultants with a master’s degree in special education are more valuable than ever before.

These are just a few of the many dynamic career options available with an online M.Ed. from PennWest California. But what can you do with a special education degree if you decide to work outside of a school system? Many job possibilities exist in state agencies and nonprofit organizations, often with top salaries and opportunities for advancement. Please continue to explore the many other job opportunities available to career professionals with an online master’s degree in special education from PennWest California.

Jobs and Careers Outside of the Classroom

What can you do with a master’s in special education outside of the classroom? While most career professionals seeking an online master’s degree in special education go on to work as special education teachers, there are many job opportunities at agencies and organizations that providing training, services or advocacy for individuals with disabilities. Many of those careers offer competitive salaries, work flexibility and advancement options that aren’t always available to public- or private-school educators. The ability to find rewarding, meaningful careers outside of the school setting is just one of the many benefits of earning your online master’s degree in special education. Whether you stay in the classroom or pursue other options, it’s comforting to know that you have taken steps to broaden your career prospects.

Many of the following career options are similar to those available to candidates with a bachelor’s degree in special education, although job candidates with a master’s degree often qualify for roles with greater responsibility. Newcomers to special education, such as students who are interested in PennWest California’s on-campus dual certification M.Ed., are encouraged to review this information as well.

Careers with State Agencies. State agencies across the nation, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PA DHS) and the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), provide services for individuals with disabilities. For people who are interested in a career working with individuals with disabilities but don’t want to work in a school setting, case management or consultant positions may be the perfect fit. Many states now set aside funds for programs designed to meet the special needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making a specialized MEd in autism spectrum disordersor applied behavior analysis with an emphasis on serving individuals with ASD particularly valuable.

Careers in Nonprofits. There are many nonprofit organizations that provide residential and employment services for individuals with disabilities. Many of these groups work hand in hand with local school systems and/or state agencies. Jobs such as “program coordinator” or “program manager” at these organizations typically pay a wage comparable to that of a special education teacher. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2016, social community service managers earned a median wage of $64,1000, compared to $58,980 for special education teachers.

Many nonprofit organizations that offer residential and employment programs have contracts that require the staff to include someone with a master’s degree in special education, vocational rehabilitation, social work or another relevant graduate degree in order to comply with state and/or federal standards. Some job readiness programs or transitional programs require the program manager to have a teaching degree, which is often in special education. While CEOs of nonprofit organizations increasingly have a background in business or finance, it’s still common to find executive directors or chief executive officers with a master’s degree in special education or vocational rehabilitation.   

Individuals with certification in applied behavior analysis may be able to carve out flexible, rewarding careers developing behavior plans, often as contractors with state agencies or nonprofits. Just as in special education, nonprofit organizatons offer a wide array of consulting possibilities for well-qualified individuals.

Take the next step toward a rewarding career with an online M.Ed. from PennWest California. Why wait? Apply now!

What Can You Do with a Special Ed Degree?

Undergraduate Studis at PennWest California

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