Our initial licensure graduate programs in special education prepare teachers to work with students with moderate disabilities in grades pre-k through 8 or 5 through 12. Our initial licensure programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MDESE) and all of our special education programs are nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP; formerly NCATE) as well as by our special program area the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), a distinction which Salem State has proudly earned since the 1950s.
Our program is geared toward cultivating the skills, methods, and strategies needed to support students with mild to moderate special education needs for inclusion in general education classrooms. The M.Ed. with Initial Licensure is 39 credits, 13 classes, and requires a 300-hour practicum.
Licensure programs require a 300-hour practicum designed to provide students with in-depth experience working in the field. We have a strong network of schools throughout the North Shore for those seeking placement. Educators already working in the classroom may usually complete their practicum at their place of employment if desired.
The programs that lead to initial licensure also require a minimum of 75 hours of fieldwork completed prior to practicum. This must be done across multiple grade levels and a variety of settings. Please be prepared to need to take some time off of work to complete these requirements.
Per state licensure requirements, students seeking initial licensure in moderate disabilities must complete a portion of the practicum in an inclusion setting. An inclusion setting is one that serves both students with and without IEPs. For students seeking a preschool to 8th-grade license, a minimum of 75 hours must be completed in an inclusion setting. For students seeking a 5th to 12th-grade license, a minimum of 150 hours must be completed in an inclusion setting. It is possible to complete all required practicum hours in an inclusion setting for either grade range.
Our robust curriculum will prepare students to facilitate inclusive learning in the classroom, collaborate with peers and parents about best practices, and learn how to balance the needs of all learners in a general education classroom. Students will have opportunities to pursue concentrations in autism spectrum disorders, elementary education, reading, and literacy.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 6% growth rate in special education teachers between 2014 and 2024, about as fast as average for all occupations. The median (national) salary for special education teachers is $56,800. Median salaries for Massachusetts special education teachers tend to be higher than the national average, particularly in the Greater Boston area. Nearly 100% of those who graduate from our master’s and initial licensure programs in special education have been able to gain employment in the field or move up in their current job upon successful completion of their degree.