The 10 Best Online Special Education Degree Colleges Of 2021

Best Online Schools For Bachelor’s Degree In Special Education Badge

The demand for special education teachers is currently high. Based on the national list of the US Education Department on identified areas experiencing teacher shortages, there are numerous opportunities for students who wish to earn special education degrees via online learning.

Special Education Online Bachelor’s Degree programs enable students to become future educators who assist children with special needs to learn and succeed in academic institutions. Through online degree programs, students can acquire sufficient knowledge, competent skills, effective teaching practices, and strategies for properly handling children with learning, emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges.

About Online Special Education Program

Generally, online degree programs in Special Education provide expertise in the areas of autism, early childhood education, applied behavior analysis, visual impairment, and courses for the gifted and talented. There are degree programs that prepare educators to teach students from kindergarten up to the 12th grade.

Subjects such as writing, reading, math, and science are also taught to children with special needs, along with activities that engage them and enhance their communication skills. Internship opportunities and demonstration teaching are also provided for Special Education majors to develop their teaching skills and help them gain hands-on experience.

Advantages of Online Special Education

All graduates of the online special education degree find fulfilling work of educating children with learning conditions. Several states need special education teachers that are bachelor’s degree graduates. Special education teachers, speech and language pathologists, educational audiologists, and early intervention consultants are some of the jobs that an online special education graduate can get.

Those with a master’s degree can get higher-paying jobs and more duties in the job while those who hold an associate degree in special education can get employment as childcare workers and teacher’s assistants.

Concentrations of Special Education Degree

Special education online schools usually offer practices in visual impairment, early childhood, applied behavior analysis, gifted and talented, and autism. In the US, there are 1 out of 68 children who are diagnosed in the autism spectrum as stated by the Centers for Disease Control. This is the reason why several special education students choose to concentrate on the autism spectrum so that they can effectively teach children with this condition.

Choosing an Online Special Education Degree

You should take your time when choosing an online special education degree as each program varies in duration, cost, size, and transfer rules. Ensure that your financial, education and career goals suit your chosen online special education degree program.

Generally, in-state colleges offer the most cost-effective choice. Program cost and length, transfer rules, type and size of the school, and on-campus requirements are the following factors you should consider to choose the right school that fits your interests best!

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The following are 10 online schools that offer bachelor’s degrees in Special Education. In this list, we gathered the comprehensive academic programs offered by various colleges and universities across the United States.

After coming up with our shortlist, we ranked them based on specific parameters including program features, accreditation, course options, tuition rates, admission requirements, and financial aid opportunities. We also highlight the uniqueness of each program or coursework. The best online schools offering Bachelor’s in Special Education are ranked and listed in random order.

Please visit our Methodology page to get in-depth information.

East Carolina University

ECU - special education

East Carolina University (ECU) offers the online Bachelor of Science in Special Education degree program under the College of Education, which has been ranked as one of the best universities in the country. The completion degree program provides a wide range of opportunities for students coming from North Carolina community colleges. Students are also equipped to properly handle K-12 children having various learning and cognitive disabilities.

Location

Greenville, North Carolina

Accreditation

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Program Features

  • 126 total credits for completion
  • Coursework is 100% online
  • Students study on a part-time basis
  • Practical training (classroom observations, practice teaching/full-time internship in a public school classroom)

Course Options

  • Communication
  • Adapted Physical Activity
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Rehabilitation Services

Admissions

  • Scores from Praxis Core tests in Reading, Math and Writing
  • Official transcripts
  • ACT or SAT test results
  • Satisfactory completion of required coursework from previous schools attended

Tuition

$163 per credit hour

Financial Aid

Scholarships, loans, financial aid awards, AMS payment plans, eRefunds,

What’s unique about the program

Online students are required to obtain a Partnership East (PE) special education major in order to effectively receive K-12 Reading Licensure.


Western Governors University

WGU - special education

Western Governors University (WGU) is one of the country’s leading academic institutions that features 100% online bachelor’s degree programs. The university offers a Bachelor of Science in Special Education program which follows a cross-categorical pattern. The central goal of the degree program is to equip special education majors who want to handle children with mild to moderate behavioral and learning disabilities. Graduates produced at WGU are well-trained and sufficiently prepared to pursue teaching careers in special education schools.

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Accreditation

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

Program Features

  • coursework composed of dual K-12 special education and K-8 elementary education licensure prerequisites (at least 15 hours spent per week)
  • completion from 18 months to 4 years
  • Special Education track for completion in 2 ½ years (for students with completed credits) and 4 years (for students with no previous completed college credits)
  • Cohort seminar and practice teaching (twice a year)
  • Professional portfolio
  • Highly competent clinical advisors
  • Well-experienced professional educators

Course Options

  • Classroom Management and Student Motivation
  • Psychology for Educators
  • Reading Methods and Interventions
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Mathematics and Numeracy

Admissions

  • high school diploma or GED
  • Official transcripts of coursework from previously attended schools
  • at least 16 years of age
  • interview with WGU Enrolment Counselor

Tuition

$241 per credit hour

Financial Aid

Scholarships, loans, tuition assistance

What’s unique about the program

Coursework at WGU is offered in an asynchronous manner, which means students can complete the degree program at their own pace and schedules. Tuition is also based on time-to-completion instead of credit hours; thus all fees are the same even though the number of credit units per term to be taken by each student varies. This is unique to WGU as students are able to progress effectively through the entire coursework without having to worry about fees.


Liberty University

Liberty University - special education

Liberty University is known for its high-quality online programs such as the Bachelor of Science Special Education Interdisciplinary Studies degree program. The program allows students to obtain sufficient knowledge and skills in special education from a Christian perspective. It applies current educational trends such as direct instruction and differentiated learning. Current practices and special education models are explored with special focus on autism, learning disabilities, and other behavioral conditions. Liberty University takes a faith-based approach toward full comprehension of the coursework.

Location

Lynchburg, Virginia

Accreditation

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Program Features

  • 100% online (8-week courses)
  • total credit hours for completion is 120
  • generous transfer credit policy (minimum 30 credit hours accepted)
  • optional 300-hour practicum
  • coursework more on methodology and theories of Christian education

Course Options

  • Christian Life and Thought
  • Autism
  • Behavioral Problems
  • Survey of Trends in Special Education

Admissions

  • Transcripts Request Form
  • Official high school transcript

Tuition

$390 per credit hour

Financial Aid

Tuition payment plans, scholarships, loans

What’s unique about the program

Liberty University’s Special Education online program is highly recommended for Christian students who plan to homeschool their children. The degree program equips students not for licensure purposes but for careers as a paraprofessional, homeschool instructor, and tutor.


University of Wisconsin-Stout

UStout- Special Education

The University of Wisconsin-Stout applies career-concentrated strategies for post-secondary education as it seeks to help busy working adults who want to experience professional career growth.

UStout offers the Bachelor of Science in Special Education online degree program. It equips students with advanced instructional approaches for children, adolescents, and adults between 5 to 21 years of age. The program curriculum provides students with cross-categorical abilities required for optimum career growth and flexibility. It prepare students the many facets of individual education development, transition, and approaches. Students work with families and support services for evaluation.

Location

Menomonie, Wisconsin

Accreditation

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Program Features

  • free writing labs and online tutorials
  • coursework includes classes in ethnic and racial studies (intern and student teaching opportunities)
  • support and counseling from competent faculty
  • field placements
  • focused teaching from kindergarten to adult (ages 5-21)
  • total of 120 credits required for completion (76 credits of Major Studies and 44 credits of General Studies)

Course Options

  • Cognitive Disabilities
  • Emotional Disabilities
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Behavioral Disabilities

Admission

  • At least 2.75 or above as cumulative high school GPA
  • ACT or SAT test results

Tuition

$492 per credit hour

Financial Aid

Teaching grants, loans, scholarships, student employment

What’s unique about the program

Despite being a rural-based academic institution, the online degree program of the University of Wisconsin-Stout is considered one of the best in the United States. Its faculty system operates on an entirely tenure-track or full-time tenured nature.


Dakota State University

Dakota State University- special education

Dakota State University’s online learning instruction is characterized by advance technological specialization. The university holds one of the most effective online special education degrees through its Bachelor of Science in Education with specialization on Elementary Education/Special Education. The goal of this degree program is to help students become successful in classroom set-ups that merge regular and special learners. Graduates are able to work in special education schools, elementary schools, and may contribute towards the improvement of Title I and K-12 technology teaching.

Location

Madison, South Dakota

Accreditation

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Program Features

  • 140 to 142 total credit hours required for completion
  • students in the capstone project can apply their knowledge to traditional classroom settings
  • well-experienced educators
  • two-semester teaching residency
  • course option flexibility

Course Options

  • K-12 Technology Teaching
  • Elementary Education
  • Cognitive Disabilities
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Autism
  • Learning Disabilities

Admission

  • ACT score composite score of 18 and above
  • Subscore of 870 or above on the SAT Reasoning Test Math and Critical Reading
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.6 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)
  • should belong to the upper 60% of the high school graduating class

Tuition

$340.05 per credit hour

Financial Aid

Scholarships, grants

What’s unique about the program

Graduates have the privilege to receive an educational technology endorsement, which reflects the university’s dedication towards sufficient preparation for use of instructional and pedagogical technologies. This allows graduates to be eligible for teaching Computer Science to elementary, middle school, and secondary students. Moreover, DSU online enables you to select between a K-8 or K-12 setup for the completion of student teaching.


University of Georgia

University of Georgia- special education

The University of Georgia offers the Bachelor of Science in Special Education degree program under the College of Education Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education. The curriculum mainly focuses on the teaching of reading to individuals with learning disabilities, behavioral management, and assistive and learning technologies. The program serves as a combined degree-completion and certification program. It is also most appropriate for students who want to earn a certification in Special Education General Curriculum for pre-Kinder to Grade 12 in Georgia. The program’s main concentration is on mild to moderate learning and cognitive disabilities.

Location

Athens, Georgia

Accreditation

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Program Features

  • All coursework are completed online
  • Two campus visits required (for program orientation and student teaching workshop)
  • Complete field experiences in Georgia P-12 schools per semester
  • All coursework begin during the fall
  • Comprehensive hands-on training (3 required practicums and student teaching)
  • Student-focused faculty

Course Options

  • Social Psychology of Schools
  • Assistive and Learning Technologies
  • Survey of Special Education
  • Contemporary Issues in Special Education
  • Designing Reading Interventions for Special Education
  • Student Teaching in Special Education

Admission

  • Completed GACE Educator Ethics Entry Assessment
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8
  • Completion of 60 transferrable college credit hours
  • Completion of all core areas
  • Completed Special Education Online Program Readiness Check
  • $60 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official Transcripts

Tuition

$562 per credit hour

Financial Aid

corporate or military assistance, scholarships, grants, loans

What’s unique about the program

The degree program, which enables students to earn a teacher certification in Georgia, seeks to meet the shortage for special educators in the state. Students are required to visit the campus for orientation and interaction with other special students.


Old Dominion University

ODU - special education

Old Dominion University is considered one of the academic institutions that offers online bachelor’s degree programs since 2003. It takes pride in its Bachelor of Science in Special Education minor in Special Education (Early Childhood and Adapted Curriculum) that prepares students for high quality academic instruction focusing on developmental enhancement of special children. The degree program also allows students to obtain a Virginia teaching license in terms of two types of endorsements, namely, Early Childhood Special Education, and Special Education Adapted Curriculum K-12 for Severe Disabilities.

Location

Norfolk, Virginia

Accreditation

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Program Features

  • regular online class schedules
  • accessible online resources
  • internship or practicum is required
  • 40-41 credit hours required for completion (major) plus 49 credit hours (professional education/practicum)
  • Upper division (300 and 400 level courses) required for completion

Course Options

  • Behavior Management
  • Fundamentals of Human Growth and Development
  • Collaboration and Transitions
  • Assistive Technology for Diverse Students
  • Foundations of Special Education

Admission

  • Official High School or GED transcript
  • Official ACT or SAT scores
  • 1-3 Letters of Recommendation
  • maximum of 400 words Essay
  • Dual Enrollment Transcript
  • AP test scores

Tuition

$352 per credit hour

Financial Aid

Scholarships, work study program, TEACH grant, student loans

What’s unique about the program

The advance technologies that ODU Online utilizes for online instruction delivers competent distance learning experience for effective learning. The university is also famous for its efficient academic strategies, initiatives, and practices especially for students with military experience. Credit transfer is also allowed through ODU’s partnership with the Virginia Community College System.


Fort Hays State University

FHSU - special education

Fort Hays State Universiity (FHSU) has a wide range of alternatives for students who wish to pursue online Special Education degrees. Students have two main choices: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Special Education or Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education minor in Special Education. The coursework is geared toward gifted students and students who have special needs and disabilities.

Location

Hays, Kansas

Accreditation

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Program Features

  • 126 total credit hours for completion (early childhood education)
  • 127 total credit hours (elementary education)
  • Total of 21 credit hours of special education courses required to pursue the minor
  • Required internship and student teaching initiative (early childhood education major)
  • Physical placement and hands-on experiences (elementary education)
  • Competent distance-learning faculty and staff

Course Options

  • Behavioral Strategies
  • Classroom Management
  • Technology and Procedures
  • Student Assessment
  • Technology Applications in Special Education
  • Educating Exceptional Students

Admission

  • Cumulative GPA (minimum of 2.75)
  • ACT, PPST or Core exam results
  • Minimum of 36 hours of General Education credits (Grade of C)

Tuition

  • $171.09 per credit hour (Kansas residents)
  • $506.72 per credit hour (out-of-state residents)

Financial Aid

Scholarships, Contiguous State Resident Tuition Program,

What’s unique about the program

FHSU boasts high acceptance rates for higher degree programs and licensure exams in Special Education.


Mayville State University

MSU - special education

Mayville State University (MSU) extends to students outside the state through its extensive online education program that is hailed one of the best in academic online learning. The university offers a cost-efficient online Bachelor of Science in Education degree program with specialization in Special Education. Graduates take a licensure exam under the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.

Location

Mayville, North Dakota

Accreditation

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Program Features

  • teaching internship is required
  • curriculum composed of research, theory and student teaching
  • 124 credit hours required for completion

Course Options

  • Secondary Special Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Elementary Special Education

Admission

  • Cumulative high school grade average (at least 2.0)
  • ACT composite score (at least 18) or SAT equivalent
  • completion of College Prep Core requirements: English, Mathematics (Algebra I and above), Laboratory Science, Social Studies

Tuition

$280 per credit hour

Financial Aid

SMART grant, TEACH grant, work study, loans, scholarships

What’s unique about the program

Mayville State University boasts a double major program for students who wish to complete other education major courses in other campuses. The Bachelor of Science in Education major in Special Education can be earned along with courses in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. The university also accepts transfer credits from accredited schools in the region such as North Dakota, Arizona, Washington, and Wyoming.


Stephen F. Austin State University

SFA - special education

The Stephen F. Austin (SFA) State University online bachelor’s degree programs are known to be one of the most technologically advanced, flexible, and high-quality programs in Texas. The university offers an online Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (BSIS) with a concentration in Special Education under the Department of Elementary Education. The degree program also prepares students towards pursuing EC-12 special education teacher certificationto effectively handle children with learning and behavioral disabilities.

Location

Nacogdoches, Texas

Accreditation

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Program Features

  • all coursework are completed online (spring and fall semesters only)
  • flexible course schedule for working students (3 to 12 credits per semester)
  • requited full-time student teaching in a classroom (1 semester)

Course Options

  • Educational Programming for Autistic Students
  • Assistive Technology for Individuals with Disabilities
  • Functional Living Skills for Individuals with Disabilities
  • Survey of Exceptionalities
  • Educational Appraisal of Exceptional Children
  • Introduction to Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Academic Instruction for Persons with Disabilities
  • Early Childhood Special Education

Admissions

  • students should belong to the top 20% of the class
  • High school official transcripts
  • ACT or SAT test results
  • extra-curricular leadership activities
  • completion of at least 45 credit hours from a community college

Tuition

$337 per credit hour

Financial Aid

TEACH grant, scholarships, loans

What’s unique about the program

Paraprofessionals in the state of Texas can earn a teaching certificate while working in their classrooms and schools through the BSIS online program.