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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Deaf Education

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Explore a Master's Degree in Deaf Education

If you would like work as a special education teacher and are interested in learning sign language, then an online master's degree in deaf education may be the right choice for you. A master's degree in deaf education prepares teachers to help elementary, middle, and high school students who are deaf or hard of hearing. A deaf education master's degree program may require the completion of 36 credit hours of courses, although the length of the curriculum may change based on the institution, as well as the amount of previous work experience and graduate credit you bring into the program.

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Class Curriculum

Deaf education students take a mix of American Sign Language and special education courses. These may include managing challenging behavior, psychology and sociology of deafness, speech and language development of the deaf and hard of hearing, and education technology and teaching. To graduate, students may need to complete a student teaching course. Read on for a closer look at three common deaf education courses:

  • Psychology and Sociology of Deafness. A psychology and sociology of deafness course covers the psychological and social development of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from childhood through adolescence. The course examines the impact of family, school, peers, and community on a child's development, including on the cognitive process and formation of identity.
  • Language Acquisition and Variation. A language acquisition and variation course examines the processes involved in learning English. Depending on the institution, the class may focus on reading and writing and the development of understanding of the English language for deaf students in grades seven to 12. The course also examines second language teaching strategies and the relationship between written and spoken English.
  • Teaching Deaf Learners with Secondary Disabilities. This course concentrates on the needs of deaf students with either developmental, emotional or behavioral, learning, or visual disabilities. The class includes instruction in identification, assessment, and teaching strategies.

Students in an online deaf education master's degree program are typically assessed by their performance on quizzes from reading assignments and lectures, exams, research projects, essays, and class discussions. Course content, such as lectures, may be available through video and audio presentations and PowerPoint slideshows through the school's e-campus system, such as Blackboard.

Building a Career

Graduates of an online master's degree program in deaf education may be qualified to work as a special education teacher at a private or public school. Special education teachers instruct students who have learning, mental, emotional, or physical disabilities basic literacy, communication, reading, and math. Deaf education graduates use the American Sign Language to instruct their students and help them form a connection between English and sign language.

Special educators earned a median annual salary of $53,220, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment in the field is expected to increase 17%, or about as fast as average, between 2010 and 2020. The BLS expects a growth in demand for special educators because of increasing school enrollment and the need for more teachers trained to instruct children with disabilities. However, these statistics are no guarantee of actual salary or employment opportunity, which is determined by the hiring organization, location, and needs of the area.