Is A Special Education Master’s Program Right for You?

August 16, 2019

Special Education Master's Program

It’s an exciting time to be a teacher. Demand is strong for qualified teachers, and the opportunity to specialize in the education field has never been better. One of the most popular licensure areas is special education. Working with children with special needs, helping them to develop and grow, is incredibly rewarding. Many people who enter a special education master’s degree program are career changers – if you are reading this article, you may be one too.

The good news is that the pathway to make the transition into teaching special education, while challenging, is more convenient than ever. Online Master of Arts in Education degree programs that focus on special education allow students to maintain busy personal and professional schedules while earning their special education master’s degree and teaching license.

Four Types of Students

At Marian University, there are typically four types of students who enter a special education master’s program. Read on to see if you fit into any of these categories.

Paraprofessional Aides

Those who currently work as paraprofessional aides in a school district often discover the joy of working with and supporting the development of students with special needs. While it’s often considered a calling to enter the special education profession, that can be even truer after spending time falling in love with working with students with special needs. Many aides decide to take the next logical step and earn a special education master’s degree.

Changing Careers

Many people go right from high school into college, and then right from college into a career. That leaves little time for contemplation about what they really want to do. However, after entering a career such as business administration or social work, professionals often discover their real passion is working with children as a teacher.

In this situation, an online degree program is perfect. It allows professionals in the workplace to maintain their current job while earning the education they need to become special education teachers. They may have to sacrifice a few vacation days to obtain field experience hours needed to complete their special education master’s degree, but it’s well worth it.

Licensed Teachers

Much like those who entered a profession and decided they really wanted to teach, educators themselves may decide they want to change their role within the education system. Licensed teachers often want to add a special education license because they have discovered a passion for teaching in that area. Or, they want to expand their knowledge to better serve students in the inclusive classroom.

New Special Education Teachers – Special Education Master’s Program

In some cases, those who have recently been hired as special education teachers have been issued a temporary “emergency” license. They are required to enroll in a licensure program, such as the one offered by Marian University, as they start their teaching career.


The MPath Flexible Program online learning platform offered through Marian University is an online learning system perfect for working adults who fit into any of these four categories.

Innovative technology allows students to start a new class every four weeks and complete assignments at their convenience. Students can contact professors and collaborate with other students as needed through communication channels built into the MPath system.

In these MPath online classes, you will meet fellow students who share your same career goals and ambitions. In many cases, students make contacts and friendships that remain long after graduation.

The MPath program offers students:

  • A custom completion plan that allows students a clear path to move toward their goals
  • A visual tracking system of the student’s personal progress that includes clear, measurable competencies.
  • Engaging learning experiences based on student needs.
  • Flexibility offered through 12 start dates every year.

Polly Manske, an assistant professor of teacher education at Marian University, has the unique perspective of having been a student before becoming a teacher. She worked in the insurance industry for 10 years before deciding she wanted to teach.

“Having entered the teaching profession as a career-changer myself, I can appreciate the challenges and excitement of a program such as Marian’s MPath Flexible Learning Program – because I’ve been there!” she said. “For this reason, our program focuses on preparing you to enter the classroom confident and ready for the challenge.”

MPath gives working adults a far more convenient way to earn a degree than traditional, on-campus programs that require you to travel to a classroom. For those wishing to enter the special education field, it’s an option that is well worth considering.