30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Special Education

Awhile back, we wrote about places that offer teaching degrees online. We definitely need more teachers here in the US, and that need is only slated to grow in the future. 6.8 million teachers are going to be needed by 2015 to fill new positions and replace teachers who are retiring or otherwise leaving the profession.

About 10-13% of students in the US receive special education services. Obviously, that represents a fairly large spectrum of services and student needs. Some may be in full-time special education programs, others may be in part day mainstream classes and part day receiving special education services. Whatever the case, that represents approximately 7 million students – all of whom need a teacher well-versed in the ins and outs of special education.

Whether you’re completely new to teaching, a new teacher looking to complete your Master’s degree, a veteran teacher who is new to Special Education in particular, an online special education degree might be a good option for you. Especially if you’re working full-time, moving to a place with a good program and losing your income might not be feasible.

Not all of the programs have the same offerings and rules, so you might be able to test out a course from one school without fully enrolling in the program to see if it is a good fit for you. Many of the schools we’ve listed below that offer teaching degrees online also offer teaching degrees in an on-campus format as well, and hybrid formats may be available, too. (Note: the schools listed are in no particular order, and the list is far from exhaustive. If you think we’re missing a great school, please leave us a note in the comments)

Top 30 Online Master’s Programs In Special Education

These statistics come from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) – the primary source for cross-nationally comparable statistics on education, science and technology, culture, and communication for more than 200 countries and territories.


  1. Maigan Triplett

    September 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has a great online special education program. Along with the Master’s, you can also get a license in Learning Disabilities or Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

  2. Kevin M

    September 20, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania was recently identified by bestonlinecolleges.org as having excellent online master’s degrees and post-graduate certificates for special education. Concentrations exist in autism, birth to grade 8, grade 7 to grade 12, and supervision.

  3. Melissa

    September 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    You left of Western Governor’s University. It’s the only competency based NCATE certified university that I know of. Tuition is reasonable – they’re non-profit – and support is incredible. As an M.Ed. student, though not special ed, I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else.

  4. Alyse Beninson

    December 10, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    The University of West Florida has online master’s degree program in Exceptional Student Education aka Special Education as well.