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Most Popular Online Special Education Schools

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2021 Most Popular Online Special Education Schools

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

Special Education is one of the most popular majors in the nation, ranking 5th of all the majors we analyze. In 2018-2019, 30,639 degrees and certificates were awarded to students with this major.

There are lots of options to pick from today when trying to decide which teaching program is right for you. 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 Most Popular Online Special Education Schools ranking is one of many tools that Teaching Degree Search has developed to help you make your educational decision. This report analyzed 150 schools in the United States to see which ones were the most popular online programs for teaching students. To create this ranking we looked at how many students graduated from schools with online programs.

The following schools top our list of the Most Popular Online Special Education Colleges.

#1

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT

Our analysis found Western Governors University to be the most popular school for special education students who want to pursue an online degree in the United States. Located in the large suburb of Salt Lake City, WGU is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

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#2

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

A rank of #2 on this year’s list means Grand Canyon University is a great place for special education students pursuing an online degree. Located in the city of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University is a private for-profit college with a very large student population.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from Grand Canyon University carry an average student debtload of $38,322. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $419, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#3

Ball State University

Muncie, IN

Out of the 150 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Ball State University landed the # 3 spot on the list. Ball State is a very large public school located in the city of Muncie.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at Ball State take out is $28,045. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $315, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#4

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Liberty University. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Located in the city of Lynchburg, Liberty University is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population.

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#5

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend George Mason University. The school came in at #5 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Located in the suburb of Fairfax, GMU is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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Alliant International University landed the #6 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. Alliant is a small private for-profit school located in the city of San Diego.

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University of Southern California came in at #7 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Online Special Education Schools ranking. Located in the city of Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from USC carry an average student debtload of $84,878. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $989, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#8

University of Georgia

Athens, GA

University of Georgia ranked #8 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Located in the city of Athens, UGA is a public college with a fairly large student population.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from UGA carry an average student debtload of $23,513. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $262, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Pennsylvania State University - World Campus ranked #9 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Located in the rural area of University Park, Penn State World Campus is a public school with a fairly small student population.

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#10

University of West Georgia

Carrollton, GA

University of West Georgia landed the #10 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. Located in the town of Carrollton, University of West Georgia is a public school with a fairly large student population.

While working on their degree, special ed majors at University of West Georgia accumulate an average of around $23,632 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $259, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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The University of West Florida ranked #11 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. UWF is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Pensacola.

On average, special ed graduates from UWF take out $27,392 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $303.

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Chemeketa Community College ranked #12 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Chemeketa Community College is a medium-sized public school located in the suburb of Salem.

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Concordia University, Saint Paul came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Online Special Education Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Saint Paul, Concordia University, Saint Paul is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population.

Special Ed majors at Concordia University, Saint Paul take out an average of $22,508 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $262, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#14

Granite State College

Concord, NH

With a ranking of #14, Granite State College did quite well on this year’s best schools for special education students. GSC is a small public school located in the fringe town of Concord.

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Arkansas State University - Main Campus did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #15 on the list. Located in the small city of Jonesboro, A-State is a public college with a fairly large student population.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at A-State take out is $19,866. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $231.

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#16

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC

East Carolina University landed the #16 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. Located in the small city of Greenville, ECU is a public college with a fairly large student population.

While working on their degree, special ed majors at ECU accumulate an average of around $24,110 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $250.

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#17

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College ranked #17 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. SMWC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the rural area of Saint Mary of the Woods.

On average, special ed graduates from SMWC take out $27,250 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $283, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#17

Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, AZ

Northern Arizona University landed the #17 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. Located in the small city of Flagstaff, NAU is a public school with a fairly large student population.

On average, special ed graduates from NAU take out $25,260 in student loans while working on their degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $281.

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With a ranking of #19, University of Cincinnati - Main Campus did quite well on this year’s best schools for special education students. Located in the large city of Cincinnati, UC is a public college with a very large student population.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from UC carry an average student debtload of $25,000. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $259, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#19

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

University of Kansas landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. Located in the small city of Lawrence, KU is a public college with a fairly large student population.

Special Ed majors at KU take out an average of $22,167 in student loans while working on their egree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $258.

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#19

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, WA

Central Washington University ranked #19 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Located in the town of Ellensburg, CWU is a public college with a large student population.

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#22

University of West Alabama

Livingston, AL

With a ranking of #22, University of West Alabama did quite well on this year’s best schools for special education students. University of West Alabama is a medium-sized public school located in the rural area of Livingston.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from University of West Alabama carry an average student debtload of $34,166. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $398.

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Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Most Popular Online Special Education Schools award.

Rank College Location
23 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
23 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL
25 Missouri State University - Springfield Springfield, MO
26 Indiana Wesleyan University - National & Global Marion, IN
27 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
27 College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV
29 Bowling Green State University - Main Campus Bowling Green, OH
30 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, AR
30 Towson University Towson, MD
30 Dakota State University Madison, SD

View the Most Popular Online 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 20,414
Other Special Education & Teaching 2,242
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs 2,193
Elementary Special Education 1,313
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism 924
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities 532
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Secondary Special Education Programs 500
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities 476
Education/Teaching of the Gifted & Talented 458
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Speech or Language Impairments 434
Education of the Deaf 358
Education/Teaching of Individuals Who are Developmentally Delayed 240
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Vision Impairments Including Blindness 160
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation 152
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Emotional Disturbances 115
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Orthopedic & Other Physical Health Impairments 63
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Junior High/Middle School Special Education Programs 56
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries 9

Related Major Annual Graduates
Teacher Education Grade Specific 100,925
Educational Administration 44,381
Teacher Education Subject Specific 43,516
General Education 31,066
Curriculum & Instruction 18,767

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • 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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