Best special education graduate programs in California

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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#1 in California | #1 in Special Education nationally

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 California | #2 in Special Education nationally

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 California | #3 in Special Education nationally

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 California | #8 in Special Education nationally

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.

#5 in California | #12 in Special Education nationally

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.

#6 in California | #13 in Special Education nationally

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.

#7 in California | #25 in Special Education nationally

Point Loma Nazarene University

San Diego, California

Economic score: 0.25

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

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Earnings: $70,151

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $36,646

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: $36,939

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

Debt to earnings: 0.53

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 California | #56 in Special Education nationally

Mount Saint Mary's University

Los Angeles, California

Economic score: 0.33

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

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Earnings: $58,403

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $24,898

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: $33,661

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

Debt to earnings: 0.58

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 California | #59 in Special Education nationally

University of Redlands

Redlands, California

Economic score: 0.34

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

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Earnings: $55,439

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $21,934

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: $31,086

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

Debt to earnings: 0.56

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 California | #82 in Special Education nationally

National University

La Jolla, California

Economic score: 0.39

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

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Earnings: $66,479

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $32,974

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: $51,895

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

Debt to earnings: 0.78

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 California | #98 in Special Education nationally

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, California

Economic score: 0.43

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

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Earnings: $61,020

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $27,515

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: $47,943

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

Debt to earnings: 0.79

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 California | #108 in Special Education nationally

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, California

Economic score: 0.44

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

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Earnings: $59,924

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: $47,160

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

Debt to earnings: 0.79

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 California | #234 in Special Education nationally

Ashford University

San Diego, California

Economic score: 0.91

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

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Earnings: $37,673

Median earnings of all students 3 years after graduation.

EarningsPlus: + $4,168

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: $38,452

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

Debt to earnings: 1.02

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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Brandman University

Irvine, California

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California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, California

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California State University-Dominguez Hills

Carson, California

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California State University-East Bay

Hayward, California

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California State University-Fresno

Fresno, California

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California State University-San Bernardino

San Bernardino, California

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California State University-San Marcos

San Marcos, California

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