Special Education Online Degrees
There is a critical shortage of qualified special education teachers in the U.S. In 2017, about 389,500 teachers were working with the six million students under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. In addition, not all of these teachers were trained to work in special education. The need for more special education teachers makes a degree in the field a good choice for aspiring teachers.
People interested in working with students with disabilities can earn a bachelor's in special education online. Many schools offer this specialization in their education departments. Depending on the school and students' career goals, special education can either be the central degree focus or incorporated into the broader scope of the curriculum.
The following ranking represents the top five online bachelor's degrees in special education. We selected these schools based on research focused on the critical elements of a high-value special education online degree. For more general information about distance learning programs, see our ranking of top online colleges.
Featured Online Special Education Programs
Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.
The Best Bachelor's in Special Education Degrees
Drexel University is a globally respected institution that draws in the best instructors and career-driven students. Drexel Online provides the same academic programs as their on-campus counterparts. The school offers an online BS in education. This 180-credit track also includes an emphasis in special education. Students complete the degree over 10 terms, and learners finish these terms within 2.5 years. Among Drexel’s special education curriculum are inclusionary practices for exceptional students, special education referral and assessment, and atypical child development.
For over 50 years, the University of West Florida has maintained a community-centric learning environment, encouraging each student to mold their individual career goals. UWF has brought this approach to the global campus, with a growing number of degrees and specializations. West Florida’s award-winning online degree programs include a bachelor’s in teacher education and educational leadership. This online special education degree prepares graduates for careers as principals, teachers, or other educational leaders. UWF education graduates are considered highly qualified with regard to the standards of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Mayville State University offers small class sizes for online courses, providing students with more personalized attention. MSU features an online BS in elementary education with a special education specialization. The program requires courses in social and emotional development and special education law. Other courses include special needs in early childhood education, home and community relations, and alternative communication.
Florida’s St. Petersburg College is a student-centered, low-tuition school with various degree options. For future educators seeking an online degree in special education, SPC offers a bachelor of science in exceptional student education. The program focuses on K-12 classrooms, primarily for children with mild to moderate disabilities. SPC’s online special education BS offers core courses in classroom management, the needs of exceptional students, and learning principles. Additionally, St. Petersburg College coordinates internship options for career preparation in classroom leadership.
The University of South Carolina is a globally respected and award-winning institution, consistently at the top of academia’s most trusted rankings. USC’s online bachelor of arts in special education focuses on the K-12 classroom setting. The program fosters both personal and professional growth. Coursework prepares learners to lead their future classrooms with confidence. The online special education BA has flexible degree pace options, particularly for those who need more than two years to complete their degree. Students in this program can also specialize their degree with certifications in special education.
Featured Online Special Education Programs
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