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Interesting Courses in the Master’s Degree in Special Education Program

The study of special education is anything but ordinary.

The best teachers are engaging, inspiring, and thought-provoking, so the best graduate programs for teachers should be, too. The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Special Education (K–Age 21) program at Walden University has a number of courses that are sure to engage and inspire you as you work toward a career as a special education teacher. It offers effective strategies for classroom management; thought-provoking discussions on diversity; and skills for connecting with students of all ages, with a wide range of disabilities.

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The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) refers to special education teachers as “exceptional teachers teaching exceptional children.”1 All special education teachers must be certified in special education, but the truly exceptional teachers are passionate about their careers. The following courses in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Special Education (K–Age 21) program at Walden University are intended to fuel that enthusiasm.

  1. Classroom Management
    What could be more essential to effective teaching than a safe, supportive, and respectful learning environment? In this engaging course, special education teaching candidates will examine strategies for building positive relationships, fostering motivation, and engaging in effective communication and problem-solving. They then apply these concepts in a real classroom field experience.
  2. Today’s Classroom and the Diverse Learner
    Classrooms in the 21st century are more diverse than ever. It’s essential that special education teachers possess the skills to provide equal educational opportunities for all learners, regardless of their differences. Candidates will address learning theories as they apply to diverse experiences, language, culture, and family and community values. A fascinating case study explores the history, language, and culture of Minnesota-based American Indian tribes—minorities who “walk in two worlds.” Students from these communities might observe long-held cultural practices at home, while they strive to adopt contemporary culture at school.2
  3. Characteristics of Learners With Exceptionalities
    Fundamental to the field of special education is an acute awareness of the abilities and needs of individual students relating to their particular exceptionalities. Special education teacher candidates examine the characteristics and instructional implications of specific learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, other health impairments, and giftedness. Finally, each candidate will conduct and intensive case study of a real student with exceptionalities, in a classroom setting.
  4. Instructional Strategies for Learners With Exceptionalities
    All teachers are familiar with lesson plans, but this course addresses the unique distinctions specific to lesson plans in special education. Candidates will learn to apply research-based instructional strategies to promote the academic and social development of students with exceptionalities. They then will design, adapt, and implement a lesson in a diverse classroom.
  5. Demonstration Teaching
    In this course, special education teacher candidates will finally get to put all of their knowledge and skills to use, to assume complete teaching responsibility of a real special education classroom for four weeks. Candidates will work closely with, and be evaluated by, their course instructor and the regular classroom teacher.

Besides being engaged, inspired, and challenged, special education teacher candidates who complete these courses will be one step closer to pursuing a rewarding job in special education.

And opportunities for special education teachers continue to increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the special education job market is projected to grow 8% between 2020 and 2030, adding nearly 38,000 new jobs.3

The first step toward this rewarding career is a master’s degree in special education from an accredited online college.

Walden University has provided working professionals with the education they need to advance their careers and effect social change for more than 50 years. At Walden, an accredited online university, you can pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Special Education (K–Age 21) while you continue to work full time.

This online degree program allows you gain the evidence-based skills and strategies to create effective, personalized curriculum design and teaching experiences that help special needs students thrive. Classroom simulations give you the opportunity to practice interaction strategies with students, parents, and colleagues and experiment with different teaching approaches.

If you haven’t yet earned a teaching degree, Walden also offers a BS in Elementary Education (Teacher Licensure) program designed to prepare students for licensure as a K–6 teacher.

Walden as your online learning partner, you can work at a pace that is comfortable and convenient for you. Their flexible online learning platform allows you complete coursework as you manage personal and career demands on your way to preparing for a meaningful new role helping others.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Special Education (K–Age 21) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

1Source: www.naset.org
2Source: www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/groups/agencywide/documents/defaultcolumns/dhs16_158118.pdf
3Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm

Licensure
Walden is approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) to offer a program leading to a Minnesota Tier 3 license in Special Education: Academic Behavioral Strategist. All candidates must pass the required Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams (MTLEs) in order to complete the program. Candidates seeking licensure in Minnesota are responsible for completing any other Minnesota requirements beyond Walden’s state-approved program. The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) is solely responsible for reviewing applications and issuing licenses.

Individuals interested in licensure in states other than Minnesota may qualify by virtue of completing a state-approved educator preparation program; however, individuals must review their state’s regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers. Individuals who reside in certain states may be ineligible to enroll in this program. Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide guidance on licensure questions; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure.

Prospective Alabama students: State authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P–12 school/ system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at www.alsde.edu.

Note to All Pennsylvania residents: Walden University’s teacher preparation program is approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board as leading to licensure. Because this program is not reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, candidates are instructed to apply for Pennsylvania certification as out-of-state graduates of a teacher preparation program.

Note to all Washington residents: Eligibility for initial educator certification in Washington is based on completion of a state-approved educator preparation program. This program is approved in Minnesota and is authorized for field placements in Washington by the Professional Educators Standards Board. Even though you may be residing in Washington while in this program, your application for educator certification in Washington will be processed as an out-of-state application. Go to https://www.pesb.wa.gov/educator-pathways/becoming-a-washington-educator/out-of-state-license-transfers/ for more information. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for teacher advancement.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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