What’s the Average Salary with a Masters in Special Education?

Special education is one of the most difficult fields for teachers. It is also one of the most rewarding. Because of the difficulty of this career choice, special education teachers are in high demand in most areas of the United States, and these positions often pay more than typical teaching jobs. If you are interested in this field, here’s a quick guide to the salary you can expect when you graduate with a master’s degree in special education.
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Salary with a Master’s Degree

According to PayScale.com, you can expect to earn between $40,000 and $68,000 per year if you have a master’s degree in special education. Middle school teachers typically earn most, followed by high school teachers and elementary/kindergarten/preschool teachers. In general, you can expect to earn around 5% more with your master’s degree than you can with a bachelor’s degree in the same field.

Salary Information by Location

Location plays a big role in the salary you’re offered, no matter what your industry, and this is definitely true for special education teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Elementary/kindergarten/preschool school special education teachers earn the highest salaries in Alaska, while middle school special education teachers earn the highest salaries in Rhode Island and high school special education teachers earn the highest salaries in Connecticut. Other top earning locations for special education teachers include New York and California. In all of these states, the average salary is over $60,000 – and that takes all levels of education into account, so with your advanced degree, you can expect to earn higher than average in many cases.

Salary Information by Employer

Most special education teachers work for schools, though there are other employment options as well. Private schools almost always pay higher salaries than public schools, and you can also often make more money if you work at a school specifically for special needs students. Medical facilities that hire special education teachers are also higher-paying, as are government departments. You can also consider becoming a private tutor to a special needs student, which is an especially good option if you also have a nursing or medical degree, since some families like to hire live-in care givers who can provide both medical care and education to a special needs student.

Top Online Masters in Special Education Degrees

Teaching students with special needs requires a master's degree in special education. Degree programs focusing on special ed. will equip teachers with the tools and knowledge necessary to take on the challenges of educating students with learning, emotional, behavioral, and/or physical disabilities. Below are the top online colleges that offer masters degrees in special education.

University of Phoenix
The Master of Arts in Education/Special Education (MAED) program at University of Phoenix is designed for those who have no prior teaching experience, but have a desire to become an instructor for children with special needs. Students in this program have Bachelor’s degree, but wish to learn methods and strategies to effectively work in a classroom environment. Candidates are expected to employ the methods they learn by teaching in a special education setting alongside a teacher and a UoP faculty advisor.
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Liberty University
The MA in Teaching Special Education from Liberty University is a program designed for people with no prior teaching experience that are interested in teaching special education. An M.Ed. in Special Education is designed for students seeking to make a difference at Christian, public, and private schools. You will master the skills necessary to become an effective special education teacher helping ensure the future success of your students.
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Walden University
An MS in Special Education (K-12) from Walden University will prepare you to increase the success rate of student in primary education. An MS in Special Education for Behavioral Disorders teaches candidates how to create prescribed individual behavioral and instructional plans based on the learning strengths of a child. An MA in Special Education for Learning Disabilities builds teaching skills required to make a significant impact on children with learning disabilities. The PhD in Special Education programs provides graduates with a thorough examination of the theories and principles behind human learning.
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Grand Canyon University
The M.Ed. in Special Education with Certification from Grand Canyon University is designed for people interested in becoming certified in special education. Through this program you will learn how to use behavioral techniques to ensure a strong education of children with special needs. The M.Ed. in Special Education will give you an in-depth education on the various topics affecting special education students including the laws that govern the students and their families. Separate programs are available for individuals with or without teaching certification.
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Northcentral University
Northcentral’s online Master of Education – Special Education program is designed for educators to gain a thorough understanding of the characteristics and needs of children who fall under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA/IDEIA). Candidates of this program will be exposed to a range of topics ranging from how disabilities affect individuals and families to classroom modifications to suit special need students. Upon graduation, educators will be prepared to lead and design the special education curriculums in K-12 educational settings.
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