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2022 Best Special Education Schools

739 Colleges
$43,879 Avg Salary
$28,500 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Special Education School for You

In 2019-2020, 33,249 special education students received their degrees and certificates, making the major the #5 most popular in the country.

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for teaching students. You can choose a traditional brick and mortar school, or with the growth of online education, you can attend a school half-way across the country without even leaving your house. Also there are many trade schools that offer short-term programs that open up more career options.

The Best Special Education Schools ranking is one of many tools that Teaching Degree Search has developed to help you make your educational decision. Our analysis looked at 739 schools in the United States to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for teaching students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2022 Best Special Education Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best Special Education Colleges.

Top 25 Top Schools in Special Education

#1

Providence College

Providence, RI

Our 2022 rankings named Providence College the best school in the United States for special education students. Located in the medium-sized city of Providence, Providence is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

On average, special ed graduates from Providence take out $27,000 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $280, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Read full report on Special Education at Providence College

#2

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Johns Hopkins University. It ranked #2 on our 2022 Best Special Education Schools list. Located in the large city of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at Johns Hopkins take out is $36,435. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $425.

Read More…

#3

Manhattan College

Riverdale, NY

The excellent programs at Manhattan College helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best special education schools in the United States. Located in the large city of Riverdale, Manhattan is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

While working on their degree, special ed majors at Manhattan accumulate an average of around $21,347 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $234, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

Read More…

#4

Lebanon Valley College

Annville, PA

Out of the 739 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Lebanon Valley College landed the # 4 spot on the list. LVC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the small suburb of Annville.

On average, special ed graduates from LVC take out $27,000 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $280, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Read More…

#5

Salve Regina University

Newport, RI

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Salve Regina University. The school came in at #5 on this year’s Best Special Education Schools list. Located in the large suburb of Newport, Salve Regina is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

On average, special ed graduates from Salve Regina take out $27,000 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $280, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Special Education at Salve Regina University Report

With a ranking of #6, Western Washington University did quite well on this year’s best schools for special education students. WWU is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Bellingham.

Read full report on Special Education at Western Washington University

The College of New Jersey did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #7 on the list. TCNJ is a medium-sized public school located in the large suburb of Ewing.

On average, special ed graduates from TCNJ take out $23,750 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $260, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

Read full report on Special Education at The College of New Jersey

#8

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

Gonzaga University ranked #8 on this year’s Best Special Education Schools list. Located in the medium-sized city of Spokane, Gonzaga is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population.

Full Special Education at Gonzaga University Report

#9

SUNY Cortland

Cortland, NY

SUNY Cortland landed the #9 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best special education programs. Located in the town of Cortland, SUNY Cortland is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from SUNY Cortland carry an average student debtload of $25,922. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $288, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Special Education at SUNY Cortland Report

#10

Brandman University

Irvine, CA

Brandman University ranked #10 on this year’s Best Special Education Schools list. Brandman is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Irvine.

Full Special Education at Brandman University Report

Nebraska Wesleyan University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #11 on the list. NWU is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Lincoln.

Full Special Education at Nebraska Wesleyan University Report

#12

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, WA

Central Washington University landed the #12 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best special education programs. Located in the distant town of Ellensburg, CWU is a public college with a large student population.

Full Special Education at Central Washington University Report

#13

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

With a ranking of #13, Syracuse University did quite well on this year’s best schools for special education students. Syracuse is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Syracuse.

On average, special ed graduates from Syracuse take out $41,898 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $471, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Special Education at Syracuse University Report

#14

Hope College

Holland, MI

Hope College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #14 on the list. Located in the city of Holland, Hope is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at Hope take out is $27,000. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $280, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Special Education at Hope College Report

York College of Pennsylvania came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Special Education Schools ranking. YCP is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of York.

On average, special ed graduates from YCP take out $28,500 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $296, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

Read full report on Special Education at York College of Pennsylvania

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #16 on the list. UIUC is a fairly large public school located in the city of Champaign.

Special Ed majors at UIUC take out an average of $21,499 in student loans while working on their egree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $223.

Read full report on Special Education at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

#17

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD

Augustana University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #17 on the list. Located in the medium-sized city of Sioux Falls, Augustana Sioux Falls is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

Read More…

Illinois State University came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Special Education Schools ranking. Located in the suburb of Normal, Illinois State is a public college with a fairly large student population.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from Illinois State carry an average student debtload of $21,500. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $223.

Read full report on Special Education at Illinois State University

University of Wisconsin - Madison landed the #19 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best special education programs. UW - Madison is a fairly large public school located in the city of Madison.

Read More…

Saint Mary’s College of California came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Special Education Schools ranking. SMC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Moraga.

Read More…

With a ranking of #21, Point Loma Nazarene University did quite well on this year’s best schools for special education students. PLNU is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of San Diego.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at PLNU take out is $32,954. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $384.

Full Special Education at Point Loma Nazarene University Report

#22

Towson University

Towson, MD

Towson University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #22 on the list. Located in the small city of Towson, Towson is a public school with a very large student population.

Special Ed majors at Towson take out an average of $18,527 in student loans while working on their egree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $192, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Special Education at Towson University Report

With a ranking of #23, Chemeketa Community College did quite well on this year’s best schools for special education students. Chemeketa Community College is a medium-sized public school located in the medium-sized suburb of Salem.

Full Special Education at Chemeketa Community College Report

#24

Mount Marty University

Yankton, SD

Mount Marty University ranked #24 on this year’s Best Special Education Schools list. Mount Marty is a small private not-for-profit school located in the remote town of Yankton.

Read full report on Special Education at Mount Marty University

#25

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Special Education Schools ranking. Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Nashville.

Read More…

Rest of the Top 50 Best Special Education Schools

#26

Winona State University

Winona, MN
#27

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown, PA
#28

Dakota State University

Madison, SD
#32

Hamline University

Saint Paul, MN
#33

Elon University

Elon, NC
#34

Viterbo University

La Crosse, WI
#36

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA
#38

Drake University

Des Moines, IA
#39

University of Redlands

Redlands, CA
#40

George Washington University

Washington, DC
#42

Lewis University

Romeoville, IL
#43

Stonehill College

Easton, MA
#44

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ
#45

Saint Joseph's University

Philadelphia, PA
#46

Quinnipiac University

Hamden, CT
#47

Baylor University

Waco, TX
#50

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA

Additional Award Winners

This section represents the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Special Education Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 739 different United States special education schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
52 Pace University - New York New York, NY
53 St John’s University - New York Queens, NY
54 Nevada State College Henderson, NV
55 University of Wisconsin - Stout Menomonie, WI
56 Boston University Boston, MA
57 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
58 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
59 Endicott College Beverly, MA
60 Lock Haven University Lock Haven, PA
61 Seattle University Seattle, WA
62 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
63 Manhattanville College Purchase, NY
64 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
65 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown, PA
66 Chadron State College Chadron, NE
67 Northwestern College Orange City, IA
68 Assumption University Worcester, MA
69 University of St Thomas Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
70 Fordham University Bronx, NY
71 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
72 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
73 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
74 Martin Luther College New Ulm, MN
75 Hunter College New York, NY
76 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
77 Bradley University Peoria, IL
78 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
79 Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais, IL
80 Fresno Pacific University Fresno, CA
81 Rider University Lawrenceville, NJ
82 University of Delaware Newark, DE
83 Northern State University Aberdeen, SD
84 Monmouth University West Long Branch, NJ
85 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
86 Midland University Fremont, NE
87 New York University New York, NY
88 Brooklyn College Brooklyn, NY
89 Kean University Union, NJ
90 Ball State University Muncie, IN
91 Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Shippensburg, PA
92 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
93 LIU Post Brookville, NY
94 Saint Edward’s University Austin, TX
95 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
96 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
97 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
98 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
99 Alliant International University San Diego, CA
100 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
101 American University Washington, DC
102 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
103 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
104 University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI
105 St. Thomas Aquinas College Sparkill, NY
106 University of Evansville Evansville, IN
107 University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Stevens Point, WI
108 Whitworth University Spokane, WA
109 Mayville State University Mayville, ND
110 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Special Education students that almost earned our Best Special Education Schools award.

Rank College Location
111 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
112 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
113 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
114 Carthage College Kenosha, WI
115 California Lutheran University Thousand Oaks, CA
116 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
117 Carroll University Waukesha, WI
118 Concordia University, Irvine Irvine, CA
119 Marian University Fond Du Lac, WI
120 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
121 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
122 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
123 Chapman University Orange, CA
124 University of Georgia Athens, GA
125 Ramapo College of New Jersey Mahwah, NJ
126 SUNY Geneseo Geneseo, NY
127 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
128 Calvin University Grand Rapids, MI
129 Touro University California Vallejo, CA
130 Hofstra University Hempstead, NY
131 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
132 National University La Jolla, CA
133 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC
134 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
135 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
136 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
137 Alverno College Milwaukee, WI
138 Washington State University Pullman, WA
139 Iona College New Rochelle, NY
140 Westfield State University Westfield, MA
141 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
142 Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale, IL
143 University of Saint Joseph West Hartford, CT
144 William & Mary Williamsburg, VA
145 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg, MA
146 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
147 Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA

Special Education by Region

View the Best Special Education Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 14 majors within the teaching area of study, special education has other similar majors worth exploring.

Special Ed Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
General Special Education 22,244
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs 2,473
Other Special Education & Teaching 2,333
Elementary Special Education 1,422
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism 1,037
Education/Teaching of the Gifted & Talented 530
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities 510
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities 494
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Secondary Special Education Programs 491
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Speech or Language Impairments 440
Education of the Deaf 392
Education/Teaching of Individuals Who are Developmentally Delayed 211
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Emotional Disturbances 166
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities 164
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Vision Impairments Including Blindness 153
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Junior High/Middle School Special Education Programs 102
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Orthopedic & Other Physical Health Impairments 82
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries 5

Related Major Annual Graduates
Teacher Education Grade Specific 102,079
Educational Administration 45,664
Teacher Education Subject Specific 42,436
General Education 29,936
Curriculum & Instruction 18,195

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to woodleywonderworks.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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