Accelerated Teaching Degree for Special Education

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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • There is a sig­nif­i­cant need for spe­cial edu­ca­tion teach­ers in the U.S., mak­ing it a promis­ing career path due to the short­age of qual­i­fied per­son­nel and the high demand for spe­cial­ized support.
  • Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams focus heav­i­ly on prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence, often part­ner­ing with school dis­tricts to pro­vide hands-on train­ing. This immer­sive approach helps stu­dents apply their learn­ing in real-world set­tings promptly.
  • The fast pace and work­load of accel­er­at­ed pro­grams can be demand­ing, requir­ing strong time man­age­ment and stress man­age­ment skills. Bal­anc­ing work, per­son­al life, and stud­ies is cru­cial to pre­vent burnout.
  • USC, Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty and More­land Teach Now Grad­u­ate School of Edu­ca­tion are top schools for an accel­er­at­ed teach­ing degree for spe­cial education.

The Unit­ed States has just around 7 mil­lion kids with spe­cial learn­ing needs. These chil­dren have dif­fi­cul­ty in study­ing as eas­i­ly as most, requir­ing a teacher with more patience and the appro­pri­ate skills to teach them. Con­sid­er­ing the mas­sive short­age in per­son­nel qual­i­fied to offer such tutor­ing, the spe­cial edu­ca­tion job out­look looks quite good, should you wish to fol­low this path.

This spe­cial­ty might prove attrac­tive to you as some­one with poten­tial expe­ri­ence or with a col­lege degree. Con­sid­er­ing the atten­tion that you have to pro­vide, the poten­tial for pay is also high­er, mak­ing it an excel­lent long-term invest­ment. How­ev­er, as leav­ing your day job could be out of the ques­tion, get­ting your spe­cial edu­ca­tion degree fast-track might be the answer to your prob­lems. In this arti­cle, you will learn more about these accel­er­at­ed degrees and how they could help you. 


What Is Special Education?

As the name sug­gests, spe­cial edu­ca­tion is designed to meet the needs of stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties. Whether they have learn­ing or phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties, spe­cial edu­ca­tion aids them get their right to edu­ca­tion, help­ing them adapt to their future. At the same time, the goal of spe­cial edu­ca­tion is to even­tu­al­ly inte­grate stu­dents into main­stream class­es, pro­mot­ing social inter­ac­tions and inclusivity.

The need for spe­cial edu­ca­tion class­es is rel­a­tive­ly high, espe­cial­ly as some chil­dren require more behav­ioral and phys­i­cal sup­port than oth­ers. For instance, stu­dents with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties such as dyslex­ia might have issues with their aca­d­e­m­ic per­for­mances, requir­ing a dif­fer­ent les­son plan or approach com­pared to the main­stream one. A spe­cial edu­ca­tion teacher will keep those needs in mind so the stu­dents can receive the appro­pri­ate education.

Understanding Accelerated Teaching Degrees

Becom­ing a teacher the tra­di­tion­al way could prove quite time-con­sum­ing, espe­cial­ly if you only recent­ly grad­u­at­ed from col­lege. Get­ting your teach­ing license the typ­i­cal way takes around 4 years, and this does not include the cours­es for spe­cial edu­ca­tion licen­sure. For that, you might have to get a master’s degree or pass pre­req­ui­site class­es. This could take years, which does not work for career-mind­ed peo­ple who wish to advance fast.

In these cir­cum­stances, accel­er­at­ed fast-track teacher edu­ca­tion is gen­er­al­ly the rec­om­mend­ed path. Bach­e­lor pro­grams take 2 years or less to final­ize, depend­ing on the num­ber of cred­its you need to grad­u­ate. If you want to get both your bachelor’s degree and your spe­cial­ty, you could get your cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in 3 years, as the aver­age Mas­ter of Arts in Teach­ing takes one year. If you already have your bachelor’s degree, you will fin­ish your stud­ies quickly.

Benefits of Accelerated Degrees in Special Education

Going for accel­er­at­ed B.Ed. pro­grams has cer­tain advan­tages, includ­ing the following:

· Quick Pathway to Classroom

When you set your mind up on a cer­tain career, you don’t have time to spend as many years in a tra­di­tion­al pro­gram. This may have worked when you were just out of high school, as you were look­ing for­ward to col­lege life, but work­ing adults often have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties. You like­ly have a teach­ing job at this point, and your goal here is to advance in your position.

Quick teach­ing degree pro­grams can make that hap­pen as they accel­er­ate your path into the class­room. With­in a year or so, you will have your own class­room and a high­er salary. This will also ben­e­fit your com­mu­ni­ty, as your pres­ence will alle­vi­ate the short­age of spe­cial edu­ca­tion teachers.

· Immersive Learning Experience

Per­haps one of the best parts of accel­er­at­ed learn­ing mod­els is that you won’t be going through lengthy the­o­ret­i­cal lec­tures. Many of these class­es are taught in tra­di­tion­al pro­grams, not nec­es­sar­i­ly because they are cru­cial but because they could be use­ful lat­er on. Their exten­sive­ness is thought to help you in any sort of circumstance.

How­ev­er, learn­ing only starts when you begin apply­ing it to real-world sce­nar­ios, and accel­er­at­ed spe­cial edu­ca­tion teacher train­ing ful­ly under­stands that. For this rea­son, the cur­ricu­lum is con­cen­trat­ed enough to offer bet­ter immer­sion, with much of the focus on the prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence. This improves your reten­tion while prepar­ing you for class­room life.

Key Components of Special Needs Education

Spe­cial needs teacher train­ing has sev­er­al com­po­nents that make it dif­fer­ent from the aver­age pro­gram. Let’s dis­cov­er them below:

1. Specialized Curriculum

The cur­ricu­lum for a pro­gram to become a spe­cial edu­ca­tion teacher quick­ly involves core cours­es spe­cial­iz­ing in stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties. Aside from foun­da­tion­al class­es where you learn things such as the Indi­vid­u­als with Dis­abil­i­ties Edu­ca­tion Act (IDEA), you will also go through ded­i­cat­ed cours­es. This would include teach­ing chil­dren with dyslex­ia and hear­ing dis­abil­i­ties or man­ag­ing chil­dren with autism. Behav­ioral man­age­ment is also a typ­i­cal course.

2. Innovative Teaching Methods

Spe­cial edu­ca­tion teach­ers might need inno­v­a­tive teach­ing meth­ods. This is why short-term teach­ing degrees will show you how to edu­cate using assis­tive tech­nol­o­gy and online learn­ing plat­forms. Col­lab­o­ra­tive learn­ing could also be a skill taught, pri­mar­i­ly as spe­cial edu­ca­tion focus­es on social skill devel­op­ment and inter­ac­tions with one’s peers.

3. School Partnerships

Unlike tra­di­tion­al pro­grams, the accel­er­at­ed kind focus­es on prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence. This is why these cours­es have school dis­trict part­ner­ships where you can get your practicum and learn about var­i­ous edu­ca­tion­al set­tings. Men­tor­ship pro­grams are also essen­tial, as they can help accom­mo­date you in the new field.

Admission Requirements and Process

The admis­sion require­ments for your accel­er­at­ed teach­ing cre­den­tials are sim­i­lar to oth­er master’s pro­grams. Most of them will ask for the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accred­it­ed institution
  • Min­i­mum GPA of around 2.5
  • Stan­dard­ized test scores
  • Pre­req­ui­site courses
  • Let­ters of recommendation
  • Per­son­al statement
  • Resume

The more com­plete your admis­sion file is, the high­er your chances of accep­tance. For this rea­son, you should make sure your per­son­al state­ment and let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion are com­pelling, high­light­ing your trans­fer­able skills. Gain­ing rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence could also put you on the path to being accepted.

Top Accelerated Special Education Degree Programs

There are numer­ous spe­cial edu­ca­tion pro­grams where you can get your degree fast, the most pop­u­lar includ­ing the following:

· University of Southern California

Sup­pose you are look­ing for an on-cam­pus accel­er­at­ed pro­gram. In that case, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia offers a Mas­ter of Arts in Teach­ing (MAT) pro­gram that you can fin­ish in as lit­tle as 12 months. The master’s pro­gram has basic class­es such as class­room man­age­ment or edu­ca­tion­al the­o­ry, but also instruc­tion­al strate­gies for stu­dents with disabilities.

· Johns Hopkins University

The MAT accel­er­at­ed pro­gram at Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty is also a good option if you want to spe­cial­ize in spe­cial needs pro­grams. The degree can be obtained in 8 months, and the pro­gram is known for its strong sup­port and men­tor­ship possibilities.

· Moreland University Teach-Now Graduate School of Education

If you want to get your online spe­cial edu­ca­tion degrees in a short­er time, the Teacher Prepa­ra­tion Pro­gram of the More­land Teach Now Grad­u­ate School of Edu­ca­tion can be fin­ished in 9 months. The course offers access to vir­tu­al sim­u­la­tions, mak­ing it per­fect for those learn­ing from a distance.

Career Outcomes and Opportunities

As some­one fin­ish­ing a spe­cial edu­ca­tion pro­gram, you can occu­py plen­ty of posi­tions. The most obvi­ous choice is as a spe­cial edu­ca­tion teacher, but you could also be an inclu­sion spe­cial­ist, a spe­cial edu­ca­tion coor­di­na­tor, or an edu­ca­tion consultant.

Going on spe­cial edu­ca­tion career paths can also be quite reward­ing, as the medi­an year­ly salary is $65,910, accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics. The sum has grown over the past cou­ple of years, and con­sid­er­ing the need for this type of per­son­nel, your chances of find­ing a suit­able job are pret­ty high.

Challenges and Considerations

While there are sig­nif­i­cant advan­tages to going for an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram, there are also a few chal­lenges to con­sid­er. Know­ing what they are could help you bet­ter pre­pare for what is ahead of you.

· Workload and Intensity

Very often, the inten­si­ty and work­load of the accel­er­at­ed pro­gram is the part that stu­dents find most chal­leng­ing. Join­ing a pro­gram for inten­sive teacher cer­ti­fi­ca­tion does not mean you will have to study less. It means you will go through the same amount of infor­ma­tion in a short­er timeframe.

Com­bin­ing quick-paced learn­ing and an intense cur­ricu­lum can sig­nif­i­cant­ly add to your stress lev­els as a stu­dent. Unless you learn to man­age your time effec­tive­ly so you don’t fall behind, you risk putting your­self on the verge of burnout.

· Obtaining a Balance

As a work­ing indi­vid­ual, you prob­a­bly already have a lot of respon­si­bil­i­ties to com­mit to. Your day job aside, you still have a per­son­al life to get to and sleep to catch up on. Going with­out sleep is also out of the ques­tion, as this could affect your abil­i­ty to per­form. This is why you need to devel­op well-struc­tured time man­age­ment strate­gies and get sup­port when­ev­er you can.

Pri­or­i­tiz­ing is your best friend here, as it can help you reach your dead­lines with less stress. Dig­i­tal tools and plan­ners could help you with that. Stay­ing proac­tive and engaged in the class­es could also help you in the long run, as you will have less to catch up on dur­ing your free time. Don’t for­get to add some self-care in the mix, as this could help relieve stress.

The Bottom Line

Get­ting an accel­er­at­ed degree in spe­cial edu­ca­tion is not that dif­fi­cult with the right pro­gram. So, do your research and see which pro­gram would ben­e­fit you the most. Once you get your degree, you have var­i­ous job oppor­tu­ni­ties that will allow you to have a pos­i­tive impact on your community.


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