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Transition to Special Education With a Master's Degree

The familiar quotation, "Some see the disabilities, but special education teachers see the possibilities" cannot be attributed to any one person. The sentiment, however, is proven every day in classrooms all over the world.

Teachers are special people, no matter the age or learning abilities of their students. There is a subset of teachers, however, who are drawn to working with students with special needs. Sometimes it's because of their own life experiences with a sibling, child or other loved one who was educationally challenged. Sometimes it's simply because they see a need and feel called to fill it.

Whatever the reason, you may have the desire to teach students with special needs.  Earning a Master of Science degree in special education will prepare you to make a career change by providing the necessary and valuable support, training and resources.

Teachers Share Their Inspiration

Answering the question "Why I Teach", Shirin Felfelti shares simply, "I became a special education teacher because working with students with special needs brings me so much joy."

Margaret Brewer-LaPorta was teaching at the college level for years when she decided to go back to school to earn a master's degree in inclusive adolescent education. She is now teaching earth science to middle school students with disabilities. "To pass on the gifts given to me, I teach to lift souls, to help my students find their wings, and to show them how to reach beyond their dreams."

Jamie DiCarlo says that when people ask her why she teaches students with autism spectrum disorders, she says "It is because every child has the right to learn. I love reaching the kids that nobody else can reach and seeing them become positive members of the community."

Acquiring the Skills and Knowledge

If you've held credentials as a classroom teacher — even if now expired — and want to move into the special education field, the fully online Master of Science in Education – Special Education program from the University of Wisconsin-Superior may be right for you. It will prepare you for Wisconsin licensure and tests, and get you ready to meet the high demand for special education teachers in Wisconsin.

In addition to helping you become an elementary school, secondary school, middle school or high school special education teacher, this degree program prepares you for other career possibilities such as intervention specialist, early interventionist, exceptional children teacher, exceptional student education teacher, and learning disabilities special education teacher, to name a few.

Students in this Master of Science in Education program must complete three core courses, four methods courses, one research course, and two certification courses. These courses cover subjects such as behavior analysis, reading and behavior interventions, adaptive instruction, and assessment of learners with exceptionalities, as well as collaboration skills and transition requirements.

The UW-Superior online degree program consists of 30 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 12 months. The flexible, online format makes it possible for educators to continue working while pursuing this advanced degree. Courses are taught by the same quality faculty who teach the on-campus courses, and the multiple start dates each year make it convenient to begin whenever you are ready.

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin-Superior online MSE in Special Education program.


U.S. Department of Education: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog - Why I Teach

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