A student can earn a special education degree by attending an educational institution with a degree program in special education. Depending on how people want to use their degrees, there are a number of degree programs available to suit their needs. People considering special education careers may want to look at job listings to get an idea of the kind of education and training requirements expected for starting positions in this field, so they can pursue appropriate training.
Special education programs can offer certificates, associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and advanced degrees. The higher the level of education, the more employable someone with a special education degree will be. A regular educator who has a special education certificate may be able to work with students with disabilities who need assistance in the classroom, while a person with a graduate degree could be involved in curriculum design and school administration.
When seeking a special education degree, it is a good idea to attend an accredited and reputable program. People can check on educational accreditation by examining listings at accrediting organizations. Professional organizations for educators and others may also maintain lists of recommended schools. Things like school and program rankings can be helpful, and it is important to be aware that a school with a good overall reputation may not necessarily have a high quality special education program, making it wise to research individual programs as well as schools.
In a special education degree program, students are provided information on how to teach students with disabilities and techniques to use in special education classrooms, as well as integrated classrooms where students with disabilities mainstream in a regular classroom environment. The program can include a variety of topics, including modules on specific disabilities for instructors who want to better understand the needs of their students, along with education about how to assess disabled students to determine their needs and develop an appropriate education program.
A special education degree usually comes with some classroom experience under supervision. People in graduate school will need to complete thesis research in special education as part of their training. This can include work in classrooms, as well as other forms of research, with the goal of contributing to the special education field and exploring specific areas of interest, like augmentative communication or physical education for students with disabilities. People pursuing graduate education should make sure to attend schools with mentors who share their interests.