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Online Master's Degrees in Special Education

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Online Master's Degrees in Special Education

The Patton College of Education offers a Master's Degree in Education (MEd) with licensure as an Intervention Specialist, with three different Intervention Specialist majors: Early Childhood Intervention Specialist, Mild-to-Moderate Intervention Specialist, and Moderate-to-Intensive Intervention Specialist. Our program is crafted to address the demands of delivering exceptional services in resource-constrained settings while championing an ethos of equal educational opportunities for every student. Central to our curriculum is a focus on practical application, where the practicum and internship components provide real-world experiences. These hands-on opportunities allow students to seamlessly apply the tools and knowledge gained in the virtual classroom, ensuring they graduate equipped to make a meaningful difference in the lives of students receiving services and support under IDEA.

  • Fully online
  • This program has two starts per year (summer and fall semesters) 
  • Earn your master's in as little as 3-6 semesters, depending on previous coursework
  • No GRE required
  • Pathway to Intervention Specialist Licensure
  • Three Intervention Specialist Majors:
    • Mild-Moderate (MM) Education Needs (K-12)
      Master’s degree with teaching license for teaching students (grades K-12) with high-incidence disabilities (e.g., specific learning disabilities, mild intellectual disabilities, emotional disturbance, level 1 autism)
    • Moderate-Intensive (MI) Educational Needs (K-12)
      Master’s degree with a teaching license for teaching students (grades K-12) with low incidence disabilities (e.g., moderate or severe intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, level 2 or level 3 autism)
    • Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (ECIS)
      Master’s degree with the license for teaching children (PK-grade5) with disabilities

    Personalized Advising

    We prioritize individualized support through our personalized advising. Tailored guidance begins upon admission as each candidate is matched with a faculty advisor. Together, they craft a customized Program of Study outlining required courses and milestones for graduation. Our advisors work collaboratively with students, tailoring a clear path to graduation that aligns with their professional aspirations and educational goals.


    Real-World Experience

    Practical application is ingrained in our curriculum through internships and classroom engagement. The program emphasizes hands-on learning, providing invaluable opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in authentic educational settings. Through internships and classroom involvement, students gain firsthand insights, honing their skills, and developing a deep understanding of effective strategies in Special Education.


    Career and Licensure Pathways

    Our program readies students not just academically but practically for thriving careers and licensure as special education teachers. Through tailored coursework, hands-on experiences, and guidance from our faculty, students are able to receive practical experience in their chosen area of specialization. Whether aiming for roles as intervention specialists, early childhood intervention specialists, behavioral analysts, administrators, or advocates, our program provides targeted support. This program incorporates Ohio teacher licensure requirements and is available to those NOT holding a teaching license at the undergraduate level.


Pre-Kindergarten Special Needs Endorsement Program

Ohio University also proudly offers the Pre-Kindergarten Special Needs (PKSN) Endorsement program, aimed at bolstering the cadre of high-caliber educators in the state of Ohio. This specialized program is dedicated to cultivating fully credentialed and proficient teachers equipped to cater to the unique needs of preschool children with disabilities and developmental delays. By focusing on advanced knowledge and skill development, the PKSN program elevates early childhood teachers and intervention specialists, empowering them to provide exceptional educational opportunities for young learners with special needs. Through this initiative, we aim to fortify the quality of instructional services received by children and their families, ensuring a steadfast commitment to inclusive and impactful early education for every child. 

Pre-K Special Needs Endorsement

Costs and Financial Aid

Tuition and fees are assessed based on the number of credit hours of enrollment, Ohio residency and program.

Be sure to look into the TEACH Grant, a federal aid opportunity for some special education majors who agree to certain post-graduation requirements.

The Patton College of Education offers several online graduate-level special education programs to meet your professional needs.

  • Our traditional online master's degrees result in a master’s degree with licensure in early childhood intervention, K-12 mild-moderate, or moderate to intensive disabilities.
  • The Pre-K Special Needs Endorsement equips educators licensed in early childhood to add the state’s professional teaching endorsement in PKSN, which will permit them to work with children 3-5 years of age with developmental delays and disabilities.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Special Education Online Programs. General questions about online study with The Patton College of Education are addressed on the online programs FAQ page. If you have questions that are not addressed, feel free to email Tasha Attaway at Special Education or CTOP for more information.

What are the application deadlines?

The first-priority application deadline to start in the summer AND fall semesters is April 3. Applications must be completed in full (all materials submitted) by 11:59 p.m. on the final application deadline of April 15. Visit the Graduate Application website to start your application.

When I complete the application, who should I ask to write my Letter(s) of Recommendation?

You should ask people with whom you have worked academically or professionally to write your letter(s) of recommendation, so faculty members or colleagues with whom you have worked directly are ideal.

The purpose of a letter of recommendation is to demonstrate proof of your ability to succeed in graduate-level work to the faculty who will be evaluating your application. So, the letters should point to your aptitude for and commitment to the field of special education (and the students), and, ideally, give examples of your scholarly aptitude, original thinking, determination, and persistence. The key thing is that these letters are speaking on your behalf to show that you are a good fit for the field of special education, online study, and/or graduate-level study. Personal/character recommendations are not appropriate.

When I complete the application, do I need to submit official or unofficial transcripts?

Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions are required in order to evaluate your application and official transcripts must be requested directly from the institution. However, if you have an unofficial transcript (a copy of an official transcript that bears the school seal and Registrar's signature), you may attach that to your application where it will be used solely for the purpose of evaluating your application. If you apply with an unofficial transcript, an official transcript MUST be received before the end of your first course or a hold will be placed on your account and you will not be able to register for future courses until it is received.

OHIO requires an official transcript to be sent directly from all institutions where you completed your bachelor’s degree and any post-graduate work (but transcripts are not required for study abroad experiences). Copies of transcripts you have in your possession are not official and while they can be used to evaluate your application, those unofficial documents would result in a conditional admission, pending receipt of your official transcripts. 

Submitting official transcripts: Official transcripts may be mailed directly from the institution or delivered electronically to Ohio University’s Graduate College (use Paper transcripts must arrive still sealed in the original envelope in which they were released by the issuing institution. The mailing address needs to include your full name and your Ohio University PID number and/or your date of birth (month/date/year). Mailing address: Graduate College, Your name, Pxxxxxxxxx or date of birth xx/xx/xxxx; 1 Ohio University; Grosvenor Hall 102; Athens, OH 45701.

I requested an evaluation of my transcript. How long does that take?

This evaluation is a manual process so please allow a minimum of one week for processing. To accommodate all processing times, please do not request a transcript evaluation less than 30 days prior to the application deadline for the semester in which you want to begin classes. 

Are all courses online?

All courses are online and there is no face-to-face coursework to complete. The fieldwork associated with your program will be completed in your community and we will work with you to arrange those hours.

Can I take all courses at one time?

For our endorsement program, teachers take one course at a time and are able to begin during any semester.

Are all courses asynchronous?

Yes. There may be synchronous small group requirements with some courses but these sessions will be scheduled by the participating individuals. There is no synchronous requirement for all classes.

What is the cost of the program?

Last year, the cost of the program was $523 per credit hour for Ohio residents. Your actual out-of-pocket cost may vary, depending upon whether you attend full-time or part-time and whether or not you have an educational background that may meet some basic course requirements (determined by a review of your transcript as part of the application process). 

The Office of the Bursar provides the cost of the program each year. For additional questions about tuition and fees, reach out to the Office of the Bursar - their email address is Bursar and phone number is 740.593.4130.

Is financial aid available?

The endorsement program is not eligible for federal financial aid. However, workplace professional development funding is often available so be sure to check with your employer's human resources department.

Federal financial aid is available for the master's degree programs, including the TEACH Grant, which is a federal aid opportunity for some special education majors who agree to certain post-graduation requirements. You start the process of applying by completing the FAFSA and you can learn more about it at Student Aid

How many courses do I take at once?

We allow master's degree students to have full- or part-time status so there is no minimum and the maximum per semester is 18 credit hours. You can choose how many credit hours you wish to take to fit your schedule best. If you are receiving financial aid, there is a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester.

PKSN Endorsement students take one course per semester.

What OAEs are required to obtain licensure?

For the PKSN, OAE 013 is required to have the endorsement added to your license.

For the Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (ECIS), the OAE 190 (Foundations of Reading), OAE 057 (Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Primary), and OAE 058 (Primary Special Education) are required for licensure.

Both the Mild to Moderate (MMIS) and Moderate to Intensive (MIIS) master's degrees require OAE 043 (Special Education), 090 (Foundations of Reading), and 004 (Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Multi-Age) for licensure.

For individuals seeking their first license in Mild-Moderate, Moderate-Intensive, and ECIS, they do not have to take the (004 or 001 respectively) if they complete a Professional Internship and earn a score of 37 on the edTPA which is completed during the Professional Internship.

When can I take the OAE tests?

You can take the test(s) at any time, whenever you feel prepared. The tests simply must be completed in order for licensure to be awarded or for the endorsement to be added to your license.

What are the requirements for PKSN field experiences?

The program requires a total of 60 field hours, which typically breaks down to 20 hours per course. This has to be with children aged 3 to 5 with disabilities or developmental delays. We're pretty flexible as long as it meets that population requirement, so this could entail working in a classroom, summer camp, Sunday School, one-on-one tutoring, etc.

Is the field experience and/or Professional Internship required?

Field experience, which is part-time work in a classroom with a mentor teacher, is required of all students. Professional Internship (PI), which is full-time student teaching, is required unless you are a licensed teacher in your own classroom or have already completed a Professional Internship and have documentation of doing so.

Can I use courses from my undergraduate coursework to waive courses in the PKSN?

No courses in the PKSN endorsement can be waived.

Can I use courses I took in the PKSN endorsement to waive courses in the Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (ECIS) master's degree program?

There is only one course from the PKSN program that can be waived in the ECIS master's degree program, which is EDSP 5830.

Is it possible to complete the MEd program in one year?

If you already hold a license in a different area, you can complete a master’s with an additional special education license in one year. If not, it would take at least four semesters at full-time status.

Can I use the intervention specialist license to teach in a general education classroom?

Teachers who are licensed as Intervention Specialists are not able to serve as general education teachers. General education licensure requires additional levels of content-area expertise as well as a grade-level band specialization.

Ohio University does not currently have a fully online program that results in eligibility for general education teacher licensure.

Can I use this master's degree to obtain licensure in a state other than Ohio?

Our program results in a master’s degree with eligibility for state of Ohio licensure as an Intervention Specialist but Ohio University and The Patton College participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). If your state also participates, your coursework would be recognized but you would need to contact your state’s higher education commission for specific details on how to complete the licensure requirements. 

I currently work full time outside of education. How will I complete the field experience for the master's programs?

The professional internship requires you to be in a classroom setting full time Monday through Friday and that requirement must be met in order to receive licensure. Some students have had to leave their current positions but it could be possible to be hired by a school district and that site can be used for your professional internship.

I would like alternative licensure.

The process for alternative licensure starts with the Ohio Department of Education. You submit your materials to them as you apply for alternative licensure. They will tell you the courses you need to complete and then you apply to our program (either as a master's degree student or a non-degree student) and we work with you to complete the courses they require of you. You must be employed by a district and the district applies for the alternative license on your behalf

I have a really low GPA from my undergraduate coursework. Can I still apply to the MEd programs?

We review applications holistically so a low GPA is not necessarily an automatic disqualification. If your GPA is significantly lower than 3.0, you can take the GRE and submit that score for consideration. Also, be sure to include an explanation in your autobiographical statement and include at least one letter of recommendation from a faculty member who can speak in support of your aptitude for graduate work, if at all possible.

Can I choose where to complete my field work for the PKSN? Do all hours need to be completed in the same setting?

You absolutely can choose where you do your field work, and all 60 hours do not need to be at the same place. As long as the hours are with children aged 3-5 with disabilities or developmental delays, they will suffice.