Accredited Online Special Education Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 8/28/2020
Quick Facts
Accreditation: CAA, CAEP
Average Tuition: $24,983
Average Salary: $60,702

This page highlights the most popular online schools offering special education degrees. Teachers who earn degrees or certifications in special education will work with students with physical or mental disabilities or other types of learning differences. Every state has different requirements for teacher licensing, so it is important for students to find out what those requirements are to make sure that their educational program is meeting state standards. We also highlight the best online colleges offering master's degrees in special education, ranked based on tuition rates and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.

Prospective students of online special education degrees should make sure that the school they are looking to attend is regionally and programmatically accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Accreditation through this body ensures that the education students will receive has been held to standards that assure quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning.

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Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Special Education Bachelor's Degrees

Visitors to our site are most interested in these schools
Rank School Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
# 1 #1 $17,050 52% (479 reviews)
179 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Special Education (view all)
179 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Special Education
  • BS in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Speci...
  • BS in Elementary/Special Education (Dual Major)
# 2 #2 $11,700 59% (290 reviews)
505 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Special Education (view all)
505 Programs, 3 Bachelor's in Special Education
  • BEd: Elementary Education - Special Education General Cur...
  • BEd: Special Education (Licensure)
  • BS: Special Education: Interdisciplinary Studies
# 3 #3 $31,866 54% (13 reviews)
66 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Special Education (view all)
66 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Special Education
  • BA Special Education, K-12 Generalist (Licensure)
  • BA Special Education, K-12 Generalist (Non-Licensure)
# 4 #4 $21,218 Add Review
# 5 #5 $6,670 73% (680 reviews)
61 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Special Education (view all)
61 Programs, 2 Bachelor's in Special Education
  • B.A. in Special Education (Mild to Moderate)
  • B.A. in Special Education and Elementary Education (Dual ...
# 6 #6 $44,974 Add Review
# 7 #7 $12,600 100% (2 reviews)
29 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Special Education (view all)
29 Programs, 1 Bachelor's in Special Education
  • Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.) - Applied Behavioral...
# 8 #8 $20,759 67% (3 reviews)
# 9 #9 $14,600 73% (11 reviews)
# 10 #10 $33,298 Add Review
# 11 #11 $15,100 Add Review
# 12 #12 $18,954 83% (12 reviews)
# 13 #13 $26,468 100% (5 reviews)
# 14 #14 $32,500 Add Review
# 15 #15 $15,090 100% (1 review)
# 16 #16 $7,414 100% (3 reviews)
# 17 #17 $25,374 100% (1 review)
# 18 #18 $12,249 100% (1 review)
# 19 #19 $53,244 67% (6 reviews)
# 20 #20 $23,465 100% (4 reviews)
# 21 #21 $26,340 Add Review
# 22 #22 $32,000 100% (1 review)
# 23 #23 $8,745 50% (2 reviews)
# 24 #24 $19,383 33% (3 reviews)
# 25 #25 $9,399 100% (1 review)

Online Special Education Degree Overview & Career Information

A bachelor's degree is the minimum level of education required to become a special education teacher. Although associate degrees typically are not offered in this specific field of education, there are programs in related subjects, such as early childhood education, that can prepare individuals for future study at the undergraduate level or for certain entry-level jobs. A student graduating from a special education teacher-preparation program with a bachelor's degree is eligible to be licensed, while individuals who have a bachelor's degree that is not intended for licensure preparation, or a degree in a field other than special education, may need to undergo additional training as outlined by their state. Master's degree programs come in a variety of formats. Some are geared toward individuals with no prior teaching experience who want to make a career change, while others are for licensed teachers who wish to add to their skill set so that they are better suited to teach students with special needs. Doctoral programs are available to those who want to work in research, top leadership roles or teaching at the university level. Graduate certificate programs are also an option for teachers who want to gain skills in the area of special education but who do not want to commit to a full master's degree program.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Special Education

A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum amount of education required to become a licensed special education teacher. This type of program can be found at colleges and universities and usually takes four years to complete. Example courses that students will take include Special Education Assessment, Literacy Facilitation for All Learners, Foundations of Teaching and Learning, and Lifespan Development. There is also a required student teaching component. Those who are looking to become a certified teacher following the completion of a bachelor's degree should check to make sure that the degree they enroll in meets their state's licensure requirements, and that the program itself is designed to lead to teacher certification. Not all bachelor's degree programs in special education are intended to lead to certification, as some are more geared toward individuals who are planning on pursuing graduate-level work.

In addition to working as a public school teacher, a bachelor's program in special education will prepare an individual to work as a paraprofessional or teacher's aide in the private school system, or as a tutor to children with special needs. In order to be admitted to a program, applicants will need to have a high school diploma or GED. Other common requirements include a personal statement and SAT or ACT test scores.


One factor that individuals should keep in mind when deciding on an educational program is whether or not that program is regionally and programmatically accredited. When a school is regionally accredited, it means that an independent organization has evaluated that school as a whole and determined that it meets certain educational standards. Regional accreditation is important because credits transfer more easily between regionally accredited institutions. Furthermore, federal financial aid is not available to students enrolled in non-accredited schools.

Programmatic accreditation is given out by independent organizations that specialize in evaluating programs in specific subjects. For example, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) was the main accrediting body for teaching programs until it merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) to form the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Education programs that have received CAEP accreditation are considered by the accrediting body to be quality programs that prepare students for their future teaching careers. Aspiring special education teachers should look for a training program that has this type of accreditation because that will provide them with the assurance that they are learning the most up-to-date skills and that they are receiving a rigorous training that will turn them into quality educators.

Special Education Teacher Requirements

In order to become a licensed special education teacher, an individual will need to earn a bachelor's degree at minimum. However, the bachelor's degree does not have to be specifically in special education. Elementary education is another degree that is common for special education teachers to earn. They may then specialize or minor in special education. It is also possible to become a special education teacher with a bachelor's degree in an unrelated subject, though additional training will be required, and these specific requirements will depend on the state in which the individual intends to teach.

Beyond a bachelor's degree, the requirements needed to become a special education teacher will vary from state to state. Typically, there is some type of examination that aspiring teachers must pass. Some states may require teachers to go on to earn a master's degree after they achieve their initial certification. Obtaining licensure also generally requires completing observed student teaching, which is a typical component of teacher training at all levels.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.