Special Education Shortages Drive Demand for Experienced Graduates


Being able to connect with and foster learning in special needs children requires a very special skillset, and there are not enough trained educators to meet the growing demand in America’s schools. The U.S. Department of Education has identified special education as one of several areas in which there is a severe shortage of capable teachers and support workers, and the demand for trained special educators has risen so greatly that there is an entire organization working to address the shortage.

“More and more classrooms are incorporating students with special needs,” according to Reyna Sund, Director of Career and Alumni Services for Ashford University.

To meet the demand, Sund said, the next generation of educators may need advanced training and degrees, such as Ashford’s online Master of Arts in Special Education.

“Graduates with special education backgrounds are becoming more valuable,” Sund said. “This program addressed that increasing demand.”

Keeping Up With Higher Standards

“In special education, the academic standards are very demanding,” said former Program Chair Dr. Laurie Wellner. “The [Master’s in Special Education] has been designed to include innovative content that prepares our graduates for work in the field. It will provide a strong focus on the practical application of knowledge paired with a foundation of theory-based learning.”

The program, which launched in March 2016, is “designed for previously certified teachers and professionals seeking job advancement or additional knowledge within the field,” she added.

Most importantly, Wellner said, the program addresses the shortage of trained special educators at the state and national level.

“The [program] leads to a robust master’s degree, and that sets you up to serve students in multiple settings. This degree provides a foundation that graduates can build on.”


Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.

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