Earning a master's degree in special education will give the experienced classroom teacher insight into best practices of teaching students with special needs, practical instructional strategies and resources and, in most school districts, a bump in salary. Although several different program formats are available for earning a degree like this, the online program offered by the University of Wisconsin-Superior may be the best choice for both your budget and your schedule.
An Affordable Program for Teachers
The Master of Science in Education - Special Education program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior is offered entirely online. It is "taught by a faculty made up of committed professionals with experience as special educators in K-12 settings," so you know you are getting a quality education.
This affordable program is offered for the same price to students both in state and out of state. Tuition is paid on a course-by-course basis, rather than in a lump-sum, with payment due as you enroll for each course. In addition — aside from a minimal application fee — all costs and fees are included in the cost of tuition, including all technology fees.
Online vs. On-Campus
Why earn your master's degree online? The financial advantages to online learning range from transportation expenses to the logistics of family schedules.
Gas and parking: With the inconsistent price of gas, it is almost impossible to estimate the cost of traveling to and from campus on a regular basis. Even if you live relatively close, many urban campuses are located in downtown areas where you may have to pay for parking. In bigger metropolitan areas, these meter costs — or even permit parking charges — can add up quickly. When you learn online, you simply walk across the room to your computer.
Childcare — If you are a parent or guardian pursuing an advanced degree by taking classes on campus, you may need to arrange for childcare. According to Care.com, childcare in the Superior, Wisconsin area can range from $10-$30 per hour, depending on the caregiver's experience and training. For a single three-hour class in a fifteen-week semester, a $15-per-hour babysitter would cost at least $675. When you learn online, you are free to learn and study at home while your children are at school, asleep or otherwise occupied.
Another Advantage to Learning Online
When experienced teachers decide to pursue an advanced degree, they are usually not in a position to quit their jobs to attend school. Maintaining an income stream and a position of faculty seniority are important not only to a teacher's financial security but also to his or her professional position.
Most education degrees available on campus are designed with educators in mind, scheduling classes during the late afternoon and evening. Given a teacher's irregular hours, however, those classes can conflict with responsibilities at school, such as parent-teacher conferences, school functions, and unexpected after-school activities or meetings.
Earning a degree online provides graduate students almost unlimited flexibility, making it possible to continue working full time while taking classes. In many cases, lectures are recorded so you can watch them on your schedule. Discussions with fellow students and instructors are held via videoconferencing or web-based messaging tools. Even exams are taken electronically.
An Added Financial Advantage
According to the Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing, published by the U.S. Department of Education/Office of Postsecondary Education, the state of Wisconsin has had a shortage of special education teachers since the early 1990s. Because of the need for these specially trained teachers, qualified applicants to this master's degree program may apply for a TEACH Grant.
As of the 2017-2018 school year, "The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who agree to teach for four years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families."
Earning a Master of Science in Education - Special Education Online from the University of Wisconsin-Superior may be one of the best steps you can take in your professional teaching career. The online format is convenient, flexible and affordable. And you may even be eligible for financial aid through the TEACH Grant program.
Learn more about the UW-Superior Master of Science in Education - Special Education online.
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