Online Bachelors Degree in Special Education

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While earning an Special Education Bachelors Degree Online, schools cover how to help students with special needs reach their academic goals. Typically, this is through a course of study that looks at how environments affect the learning of students with disabilities. Courses may also look at the historical concepts of special education in relation to modern methods to develop a plan to help all students.

Did You Know?

According to one survey, more than 80% of graduates with a bachelors degree in special education say their job makes the world a better place.

Online Special Education Bachelors Degree: What You’ll Learn

While pursuing an online bachelors degree in special education, programs cover how to determine the strengths and weaknesses of individual learners. This typically includes the current status of a child’s functioning level and how different environments impact his or her functioning. These skills and knowledge create a foundation to make challenging, yet supportive learning experience. They may also help you to develop processes to teach exceptional students.

These courses may help make assessments and accommodations to students with a variety of learning disabilities. By understanding the different challenges that each student is facing, earning an online special education bachelors degree may also teach how to create a course of study to reach each learner. Developing these skills and knowledge is important to understand how to create an IEP.

What is an IEP?

An Individualized Educational Program (IEP) is an important, legal document. It spells out an exceptional student’s learning needs, the services a specific school will provide, and how progress will be measured.

Every student with special needs in a public school is required to have an IEP. Several people, including parents and a special education teacher, are involved in creating an IEP. These documents help make sure that educators and parents are on the same page and can track a students’ progress together.

Common Special Education Courses in a Special Education Bachelors Degree Online

There are a number of core courses you may take while earning an online special education bachelors degree. Typically, these courses look at how to provide a course of study and develop processes that helps each student reach his or her academic goals by creating challenging learning environments.

Another important topic in special education are the historic, legal, and ethical concepts of teaching exceptional students. These concepts may help you look at special education through a different lens. For instance, these topics may help you better understand the challenges parents face. They may also help you become an advocate of special education.

Check out the list below for some common special education courses you may take in a Special Education Bachelors Degree Online.

  • Autism and Related Disorders
  • Teaching Exceptional Students in General Education Settings
  • Motivating Exceptional Learners
  • Principles and Strategies for Teaching Students with Severe and Multiple Disorders
  • Strategies for Teaching Children with Challenging Behavior
  • Special Education Assessment
  • Children with Exceptionalities
  • Literacy Facilitation for All Learners
  • Developing Constructive Learning Environments
  • Significant Disabilities and Life Planning

In addition to these, many programs also focus on providing a well-balanced core of liberal arts courses. This may provide a mastery of topics such as mathematics, social studies, and language arts. However, it’s important to keep in mind that each school has a unique make-up. You should check out a few options to find a perfect fit for you.

Special Education Bachelors Degree Online: Professional Insight 

Special education is a demanding and rewarding profession. From helping students who have significant learning and social-emotional needs become successful in the classroom and beyond, to collaborating with colleagues from a multitude of professions, special education provides the opportunity to be engaged and creative every day. Training and education in special education also affords one the opportunity to develop strong skills in professional communication, make use of evidence-based practices, and work alongside individuals who are dedicated and passionate about educational opportunity for all students. .”Barbara Harvey; special education bachelors degree online

 - Sarah Irvine Belson the Executive Director of the Institute for Innovation in Education at American University and an Associate Professor in the School of Education.

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Overall Concepts of a Special Education Bachelors Degree Online

Special education is the process and methods of teaching a student with a physical, emotional, mental, or social delay. That delay typically results in a child’s overall development taking longer than their peers.

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) says that special education is the “specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.” Therefore, through special education, every child has a chance to receive an education.

Special Education Bachelors Degree Online: Basics

Earning an online special education bachelors degree may provide you the skills and knowledge to help exceptional learners. Therefore, most of your coursework focuses on creating curriculum and grasping best practices, strategies, and methods. Most programs also ask you to complete student teaching.

During student teaching, you may have the ability to shadow an experienced special education teacher in a classroom setting. This provides a chance for you to have first-hand experiences with some of the tasks listed here.

  • May allow you to participate in classroom activities.
  • May ask you to write a case study about an individual student with a disability.
  • You may complete an IEP for one student.
  • You may design and implement a procedure for learning in the presence of a supervising teacher.

Each school has their own requirements when it comes to student teaching. To find a school that fits your goals, check with the specific make-up of a few options.

Admissions Requirements for a Special Education Bachelors Degree Online

Typically, while earning an online special education bachelors degree, many programs ask that you have earned a high school or equivalent diploma. Some schools may have additional requirements, some of which are listed here.

  • You send all high school or college transcripts.
  • You send SAT or ACT test scores.
  • You send a letter of recommendation.

Each school has their own admissions rules. Therefore, some schools may have stricter requirements than others. Check with a few different options to find one that matches your goals.

What Can You Do With a Bachelors in Special Education?

After earning a bachelors degree in special education, there are many careers that you may pursue. However, many students go on to teach special education. While some of these teachers work at residential facilities, hospitals, students’ homes, and private schools, many work in public schools.[i]

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for special education teachers in 2015 was $56,800.[ii] In order to become a special education teacher, you need to have a bachelors degree and a state-issued license or certification.[iii] The BLS expects the number of special education teachers to increase 6% during the ten years from 2014 to 2024.[iv]

Additional Licenses and Certifications in Special Education

In order to teach special education in a public school, you need a state-issued license or certification. To work in a private school, you do need the same license. Each state has their own requirements, however some of the most common requirements are listed here.

  • Background check
  • Teacher preparation program
  • Supervised teaching experience
  • Minimum GPA
  • Annual professional development

You should check with your specific state to find your requirements, as each state may vary. For instance, some states offer general licenses that allow you to work with students with a variety of disabilities. On the other, some states offer a license based on a disability-specific category.iii

Take the Next Step!

Take the next step to earn your Special Education Bachelors Degree Online. Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to find a perfect match for you. It may bring you one step closer to learning how to have a positive impact in the lives of exceptional students.

You can read program descriptions and see specific requirements. You can even reach out to schools directly to request more information.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-3 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-5 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-4 [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-6

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