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Master's Degree in Special Education

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Master’s Degrees in Special Education

19,550 Yearly Graduations
$47,350 Median Salary
$29,523 Median Debt
There are 635 colleges and univerities across the nation that offer a master's degree in special ed. Among those who recently graduated from the schools offering this degree, the majority were women, and 26% were students from underrepresented racial-ethnic groups. Also, 1.0% of special ed graduates were international students.

Education Levels of Special Ed Majors

During the 2019-2020 academic year, 19,550 students earned their master's degree in special ed. This earns it the #4 spot on the list of the most popular master's degree programs in the nation.

The following table shows the number of diplomas awarded in special ed at each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 19,550
Bachelor’s Degree 9,071
Graduate Certificate 2,832
Associate Degree 692
Basic Certificate 563
Doctor’s Degree 278
Undergraduate Certificate 263

Earnings of Special Ed Majors With Master’s Degrees

The median salary for graduates holding a master's degree in special ed is $47,350. A lot of factors can contribute to this number, such as the location of your workplace and the availability of other perks and bonuses. A better approximation of salary is to look at the typical range of salaries. In this case the low is $43,550 and the high is $54,325.


Student Debt

The median student debt for graduates holding a master's degree in special ed is $29,523. The school you go to and how long it takes you to graduate, among other things, can cause this number to vary. The chart below shows the range of accumulated debt loads. On the high side of the range, $37,972 is the debt load, and the debt load on the low side is $21,760.


The median monthly payment of a special ed graduate with a 10-year repayment plan is $344.

Student Diversity

More women than men pursue their master's degree in special ed. About 86.0% of graduates with this degree are female.

Gender Number of Grads
Men 2,735
Women 16,815

The racial-ethnic distribution of special ed master’s degree students is as follows:

Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 559
Black or African American 1,802
Hispanic or Latino 2,307
White 13,034
International Students 195
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,653

There are 635 colleges that offer a master’s degree in special ed. Learn more about the most popular 20 below:

Special Ed Concentrations

Major Annual Degrees Awarded
General Special Education 13,712
Other Special Education & Teaching 1,705
Elementary Special Education 884
Early Childhood Special Education 780
Teaching for Autism 418

Below are some popular majors that are similar to special ed that offer master’s degrees.

Major Annual Degrees Awarded
Educational Administration 28,194
Teacher Education Grade Specific 26,246
General Education 18,793
Teacher Education Subject Specific 16,775
Curriculum & Instruction 15,283


*The racial-ethnic minority student count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the percentage of racial-ethnic minorities.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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