Best special education graduate programs

Special education professionals work with children and adults who are atypically developing. A graduate degree in special education enhances their ability to work with special needs students by advancing their knowledge about the field. Check out the best special education graduate programs below. Read more about our ranking methodology here

Our master’s in special education rankings cover 210 of the 424 universities available, accounting for 71% of total student conferrals. Three years after completing their degree, graduates earn a weighted average salary of $53,501.

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Ranking methodology
#1 in Special Education | #109 in Education

California State University-Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Economic score: 0.11

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $80,425

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $46,920

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $20,500

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.25

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#2 in Special Education

California State University-Long Beach

Long Beach, California

Economic score: 0.13

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $71,575

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $38,070

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $19,250

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.27

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#3 in Special Education

California Lutheran University

Thousand Oaks, California

Economic score: 0.13

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $62,012

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $28,507

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $14,600

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.24

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#4 in Special Education | #244 in Education

College of Staten Island CUNY

Staten Island, New York

Economic score: 0.15

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $69,110

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $25,674

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $17,000

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.25

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#5 in Special Education

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, Utah

Economic score: 0.15

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $51,906

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $11,855

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $10,413

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.20

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#6 in Special Education | #255 in Education

Rhode Island College

Providence, Rhode Island

Economic score: 0.16

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $60,044

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $12,947

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $12,318

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.21

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#7 in Special Education

Manhattan College

Riverdale, New York

Economic score: 0.16

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $67,981

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $24,545

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $17,368

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.26

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#8 in Special Education

California State University-Northridge

Northridge, California

Economic score: 0.17

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $66,882

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $33,377

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $22,414

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.34

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#9 in Special Education | #30 in Education

CUNY City College

New York, New York

Economic score: 0.18

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $70,644

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $27,208

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $20,500

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.29

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#10 in Special Education | #10 in Education

CUNY Queens College

Queens, New York

Economic score: 0.18

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $69,855

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $26,419

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $20,500

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.29

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#11 in Special Education | #71 in Education

Northeastern Illinois University

Chicago, Illinois

Economic score: 0.19

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $57,180

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $13,258

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $13,905

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.24

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#12 in Special Education

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, California

Economic score: 0.20

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $61,661

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $28,156

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $22,430

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.36

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#13 in Special Education

Notre Dame de Namur University

Belmont, California

Economic score: 0.20

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $68,592

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $35,087

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $27,887

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.41

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#14 in Special Education

St. Thomas Aquinas College

Sparkill, New York

Economic score: 0.21

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $67,801

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $24,365

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $22,062

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.33

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#15 in Special Education | #20 in Education

CUNY Brooklyn College

Brooklyn, New York

Economic score: 0.21

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $75,285

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $31,849

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $27,292

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.36

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#16 in Special Education

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

Economic score: 0.21

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $60,684

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $29,802

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $25,095

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.41

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#17 in Special Education | #41 in Education

Concordia University-Chicago

River Forest, Illinois

Economic score: 0.22

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $60,306

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $16,384

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $18,000

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.30

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#18 in Special Education

Touro College

New York, New York

Economic score: 0.22

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $68,785

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $25,349

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $24,450

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.36

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#19 in Special Education | #44 in Education

CUNY Hunter College

New York, New York

Economic score: 0.24

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $70,626

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $27,190

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $27,075

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.38

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

#20 in Special Education | #121 in Education

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Economic score: 0.24

Calculated by dividing the debt-to-earnings by earningsplus percentage. The lower the economic score, the better.

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Earnings: $49,930

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $10,051

Earnings plus shows how much more or less the median student earns than the median earnings of undergraduate graduates in the same program type. (Based on ipeds CIP Code taxonomy)

Debt: $15,000

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

Debt to earnings: 0.30

Calculated by dividing the debt by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

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