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Master of Arts in Education/Special Education

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Master of Arts in Education/Special Education

The challenge of working with exceptional students requires teachers with extraordinary gifts. If you’ve always thought about becoming a special education teacher, but your bachelor’s degree is in a discipline other than Education, our Master of Arts in Education/Special Education (MAEd/SPE) can help you achieve your goal.

This graduate degree program is intended for students with no prior teaching experience. The MAEd/SPE will introduce you to methods and strategies for classroom instruction while providing a deeper understanding of working with children who have special needs. Nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the curriculum blends academic theory with relevant coursework, field experience and student teaching in cross-categorical setting, and includes all essential elements required to help you prepare for a career in special education.

What you'll learn

The Master of Arts in Education (MAED) with a specialization in Special Education is a graduate degree program preparing candidates for teacher licensure in the field of special education. Candidates for this program have already earned a bachelor's degree and wish to gain the pedagogical skills and knowledge that will assist them in becoming effective special education educators. The program's curriculum includes orientation to the exceptional child, foundations and methodologies of mild disabilities, diagnosis and assessment of disabilities, structured English immersion, reading and language arts instruction, inclusion strategies, and collaboration and resource management for the special educator.

Throughout the program, students are required to complete a minimum of 100 hours of verified field experiences. The focus of each observation will relate to specific course content. Documentation will be maintained in the student's electronic portfolio. Students' field experiences are designed to prepare them for student teaching. Student teaching is an integral component of the Special Education Program. Student teachers work with a cooperating teacher and with a University of Phoenix faculty advisor during a field-based experience in a cross-categorical special education setting. The student teaching experience is designed to emphasize the achievement of state standards leading to certification and to present individuals with growth opportunities that best prepare them to assume the duties of a certified teacher.

The Master of Arts in Education/Special Education is a graduate degree program intended for students with no prior teaching experience for initial teacher licensure. The program is designed for students who want to become special education teachers. Candidates for this program have already earned a bachelor’s degree. The program includes a clinical component requiring field experiences and student teaching above and beyond program coursework. As licensure requirements may vary by state, it is the student’s responsibility to ascertain and meet licensure requirements in any state in which the student desires to practice and to contact the applicable state educator licensure agency to verify current requirements to become a licensed teacher. There may be additional qualifications and/or disqualifications applicable in order to work as a teacher with any local, state or federal entity.

Certification in Alabama

State authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P-12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama certificate. Applicants for an Alabama certificate based on reciprocity must meet Alabama’s test requirements and submit a valid, renewable professional educator certificate/license issued by another state at the degree level, grade level, and in the teaching field or area of instructional support for which an Alabama certificate is sought and for which Alabama issues a certificate. Applicants for Alabama certification in an area of administration must also document at least three years of full-time employment as an administrator in a P-12 school system(s).

Professional licensure in Iowa

A student seeking an Iowa educator license is advised that successful completion of this institution’s program(s) of educator preparation does not qualify the student for initial educator licensure by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. A candidate seeking licensure in the State of Iowa must first be licensed/certified as an educator in the state in which preparation was completed. For Iowa students enrolled online, this will be Arizona. This institution shall assist a candidate in: 1) contacting the appropriate licensing board in Arizona and 2) in understanding the requirements of the appropriate licensing board prior to the candidate’s completion of this institution’s program(s) of educator preparation. A candidate seeking subsequent licensure from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners must contact that Board (515.281.5849; for licensure requirements in Iowa.

Make an informed choice

We believe that students and families should be prepared financially for college and understand gainful employment opportunities before starting any program. So we want to ensure you have the information you need to make an informed choice - information like what it will cost, the skills you'll learn through your chosen program, and the types of occupations the program prepares you for.

View the Master of Arts in Education/Special Education gainful employment disclosures.

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"Impacting student learning, one educator at a time"

Driven by this mission, our elementary education degree prepares future teachers and current educators to become effective leaders in the elementary school classroom — and beyond.

A student-centered learning experience

Each course is led by an experienced faculty member in a collaborative team forum in which you and your classmates actively share information and directly apply new ideas to your professional experience.