Masters in Education with a Specialization in Autism

Since 1996, the prevalence of children with autism spectrum disorders has grown by unbelievable proportions. The CDC reports that the increase in children with ASD is significantly more than the increase in children with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, or vision impairment (CDC, 2015). With such a rise in diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders, the country yearns for professionals that have specializations in various fields that cater to children with autism. If the trend continues at this rate, the need for seasoned autism specialists in education can only continue to expand with it.
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Obtaining a Master’s in Education can set the stage for a lifelong career working with school-aged children. There is truly no more fulfilling career than that of education. Children have an inert need for guidance and support during their educational years, which makes teaching a valuable resource from many different perspectives.

However, within the school systems, there is also a need for special attention for children that have been diagnosed with autism. Since this disorder has only continued to be more present in children, the need for specialized care has grown.

If you are interested in pursuing a Master’s in Education with a Specialization in Autism, then you have come to the right place. Our expert team of education researchers created this guide as a tool for those interested to get involved in the field of education.

The Admissions Process

Autism statistic imageIf you have already gone through the undergraduate application process, than the graduate admissions process will likely not come to much of a surprise.

Graduate schools typically have a very specific set of instructions for students to adhere to, but these can vary from school to school.

It is important to remain informed about current expectations of graduate schools in order to have what you need handy during the application process. Our experts have gauged the various requirements of some popular schools in order to give you a good idea of what to expect when applying for graduate programs across the country.

See our list below for a helpful list of standard requirements for this degree program.

Accredited Undergraduate Degree

When applying to a graduate degree program, you are going to need to provide proof of completion of an accredited undergraduate degree program. In fields such as education, reliability is vital to moving forward with a degree program. Proving that you have met the current educational standards is step one to a higher degree in education.

Transcripts and Test Scores

Along with your undergrad diploma, you should be making some phone calls to any university or high school that you attended in order to forward your official transcripts. If you have previously taken the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), these scores will also need to be forwarded.

Letters of Recommendation

Not all colleges require letters of recommendation, but they are a valuable tool in setting your application apart from others – especially if the school you choose has a low acceptance rate. College professors, professional colleagues, or any other person that can attest to your excellent abilities in education or autism awareness are great options for providing letters of recommendation.


The Master’s in Education with a Specialization in Autism is a unique degree program that addresses two very different aspects of arts and sciences in a well-blended manner. The average credit hour requirement for this degree program is 30-36 hours and includes a practicum requirement. We have listed some of the more common courses within this degree program for you to review.

Teaching Learners with Disabilities

This course teaches learners how to avoid stigmatization of students with disabilities in a normal classroom setting. Students are taught to utilize positive language and influence in order to provide students with disabilities with an equal and profitable learning environment.

Communication and Social Competence

Communication and Social Competence provides students with an overview of deficits and strategies in speech, language, and total communication across the autism spectrum disorder. Gaining the knowledge of communication among ASD suffers can assist graduate level students in building a greater understanding of how children with autism learn and use material.

Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis

Teaches students about the basics of human behavior in relationship to autism and how it can be changed. Instructs students on how to include families in behavioral support plans and provide ethical treatment to children with autism.

Communication and Teaching Aspects for Children with Autism

There are certain aspects of teaching children with autism that are different from standard teaching requirements. During the course of this degree program, you will be introduced into various teaching methods that can assist with harnessing success with autistic children.

Discrete Trial Teaching

Using this method of instruction, teachers identify certain strengths of individual children with autism and apply it to the curriculum. This method uses small steps with prompts that are eventually removed once the child has mastered the activity. Teachers use positive reinforcement such as praise when the child completes steps independently.


Using this model of teaching, teachers actually get into the floor and play with the children on their level. This is an effective way of skill building that allows the child to remain in a comfortable and familiar environment.

Picture Exchange Communication System

Since non-verbal behavior is common in children with autism, the use of pictures in communication can be a helpful tool for teachers. Using this method, children can develop and foster a wide vocabulary through the use of pictures alone.

Career Paths and Industry Trends

The field of education is a great place to find a career that lasts a lifetime. With a specialization in autism, you have the opportunity to pursue related career paths that focus more on the education of children with autism specifically. Our experts have lined up a few of the popular paths for this field, as well as the current yearly income data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Special Education Teacher – $34,470 to $90,260 per year on average (BLS;,2015)
  • ABA Therapist – $41,110 to $118,310 per year on average (BLS;,2015)
  • Autism Education and Training Consultant – $63,970 per year on average (BLS;,2015)