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June 1, 2021

WGU Launches Master's in Teaching Special Education Program in Response to Critical Shortage of Specialized Teachers

WGU has announced the recently launched  Master of Arts in Teaching–Special Education (MATSPED) degree is now available. There is a critical shortage of special education teachers throughout the country, and the demand for these specialized professionals is at an all-time high. WGU’s new MATSPED degree will help Indiana meet workforce development needs and help educators meet the requirements to earn the initial teaching licensure in special education (mild to moderate) in elementary and secondary schools.

The M.A. in Teaching–Special Education program from WGU’s Teachers College is open to all qualifying students and is geared toward those with an undergraduate or graduate degree seeking an initial licensure in special education, students with a current teaching license seeking a specialization in SPED (considered a “second initial license”) and paraprofessionals with an undergraduate degree seeking licensure.

“Special education teachers ensure an equitable education to students with exceptional needs in Indiana and millions more across the country,” said WGU Indiana Chancellor Alison Bell. “With the launch of this new program, WGU stands ready to support the growing demand for specialized teachers and their key role in providing a learning environment where all students have a chance to thrive academically.”

The MATSPED program is a self-paced, competency-based, online program designed to meet The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards to prepare educators to work with students with exceptionalities. This highly relevant curriculum developed by education experts is intended to lead to initial licensure in special education and preparations for the EdTPA Special Education assessment. The curriculum includes:

  • Intensive, fast-paced education in fundamental issues, special education policy, law, methodology, knowledge, authentic tasks and skills for special education teachers;
  • Simulated experiences where students role-play leading an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting;
  • ProCore courses that provide the foundational blocks of pedagogy and essential experiences students will need to succeed in teaching; and
  • Full-time demonstration student teaching with a mentor teacher under the supervision of WGU’s field experience team in special education settings at the K–6 and 7–12 levels.

WGU’s affordable, flexible and competency-based model is ready to support current or aspiring special education teachers wherever they are in their career journeys and provide the essential skills, knowledge and field experience needed to become an instructor for students with mild to moderate disabilities and create an inclusive classroom.

For more information or to apply for WGU’s MATSPED program visit

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Leslie Reed, Director, External Communications
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