30 Best Online Bachelor’s in Special Education Degree Programs

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In this article, we highlight the 30 best and most affordable online bachelor’s in special education and related degree programs.

According to U.S. News and World Report’s description of special education teachers, over 80 percent of those with a bachelor’s in special education say their careers make the world a better place. Students interested in embarking on this valued career can now earn a degree online. Accredited and top-ranked institutions are offering online bachelor’s in special education degree programs that are designed to provide flexible learning options.

We examined approximately 50 accredited institutions that offered online bachelor’s degrees in special education, education with a specialization in special education, or early childhood education and behavioral science with courses in special education and related topics. Our original pool of schools was gathered from College Factual and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator. From this list, we chose the most affordable institutions among those with regional, national, or program rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. We listed the schools in order of affordability.

Below are the resulting selections for our 30 best online bachelor’s in special education and related degree programs.

#30 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Bachelor’s in Special Education

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Southern New Hampshire University - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
Southern New Hampshire University offers an online bachelor’s in special education with options to study abroad.

Undergraduate tuition: $30,386

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online bachelor’s in special education program that is designed for students with a passion to work with children of all academic abilities. Courses are taught entirely online, and the program offers unique opportunities to study abroad, tap into a network of alumni, or join student clubs. Required classes include children with exceptionalities, differentiating instruction, literacy facilitation for all learners, methods of teaching elementary mathematics, and special education assessment. The program is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 131st best regional university in the North and the #1 most innovative school.

#29 – Notre Dame College

Online Bachelor’s in Education – MMIS License

Cleveland, Ohio

Website

Notre Dame College - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
Notre Dame College’s online bachelor’s in education offers an MMIS license option.

Undergraduate tuition: $27,520

For students interested in an online degree in special education option, Notre Dame College offers a bachelor’s in education with mild to moderate intervention specialist license (MMIS). All courses are delivered online and taught by full-time faculty. Also, the MMIS license is a field-based program that focuses on conditions for teaching, learning and professional work, and teaching and learning. Resource intervention is also emphasized. The education programs are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Notre Dame College is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In the most recent edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News lists the school as a best regional college in the Midwest.

#28 – Liberty University

Online Bachelor of Science in Special Education Interdisciplinary Studies

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Liberty University - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
Liberty University’s online bachelor’s in special education program is entirely online.

Undergraduate tuition: $20,109

Liberty University’s online degree in special education program approaches the education discipline from a Christian perspective. The program is offered entirely online with an optional 90-hour practicum. Required courses include classroom management for teachers, introduction to autism spectrum disorders, learning and behavior problems, and survey of trends in special education. Liberty is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists the school as the 80th best regional university in the South. Also, the online bachelor’s programs at Liberty rank #100 out of more than 1,200 similar programs.

#27 – Grand Canyon University

Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Special Education

Phoenix, Arizona

Website

Grand Canyon University - v
Grand Canyon University offers a combined online bachelor’s in special education and elementary education.

Undergraduate tuition: $17,050

Grand Canyon University offers an online bachelor’s in special education and elementary education. The program is designed as a dual degree and provides students with the knowledge needed to assist diverse learning needs. Online courses include creating and managing engaging learning environments, foundational literary skills and phonics, instruction planning and assessments for elementary teacher candidates, research-based methods and strategies of teaching mathematics, and social justice for educators. Grand Canyon University is regionally ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as one of the best regional universities in the West. The school’s graduate education programs have also earned recognition.

#26 – Post University

Online Bachelor’s in Child Studies

Waterbury, Connecticut

Website

Post University - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
Post University’s online bachelor’s in child studies may appeal to those interested in an online special education bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate tuition: $16,510

Those interested in special education bachelor’s degree programs or an online bachelor’s in special education may turn to Post University’s child studies program. Students learn how to support child development in public and private school settings. The program meets the standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and is both accredited and ranked. A behavioral science core is part of the program requirements, and includes online courses in educational psychology, language development in young children, learning theory, and science, math, and technology. Post is a regionally ranked institution. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report have recognized the school as among the best regional colleges in the North.

#25 – City University of Seattle

Online Bachelor’s in Education – Special Education

Seattle, Washington

Website

City University of Seattle - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
City University of Seattle offers an accredited online bachelor’s in special education.

Undergraduate tuition: $16,500

City University of Seattle offers a unique program for those interested in an online degree in special education. Students may earn a bachelor’s in education with an endorsement in special education. The accredited program is designed to offer flexible courses that may be completed online. Required special ed classes include autism, behavioral analysis and management, creative arts concepts, health and fitness methods, special education and special programs, and sustainability and the social sciences. An internship and student teaching requirement is also part of the program. City University of Seattle is ranked by U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the online bachelor’s programs rank #27 in the country.

#24 – University of Massachusetts

Online Bachelor’s in Children’s Learning and Development

Amherst, Massachusetts

Website

University of Massachusetts - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
UMass offers an online bachelor’s in children’s learning and development that is ideal for future special education teachers.

Undergraduate tuition: $14,171

For those interested in pursuing an online bachelor’s in special education, UMass offers a unique program. The children’s learning and development bachelor’s degree is offered entirely online so that working adults may gain a quality education without having to step away from current life obligations. Online courses include educational psychology, embracing diversity, introduction to special education, observing and assessing young children, substance abuse services and intervention, and theories and methods for sheltered instruction. UMass is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 75th best national university. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #63 in the nation.

#23 – Walden University

Online BS in Child Development

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Walden University - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
Seven concentrations are available through Walden’s online bachelor’s in child development program.

Undergraduate tuition: $12,075

The BS in child development at Walden University may appeal to students interested in a special education bachelor’s online program. Seven available concentrations allow students to focus in an area of interest that may meet career goals. Also, the program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and curriculum follows the guidelines set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Online courses include child development, cultural and linguistic diversity, language development, observation and assessment of the young child, and pioneers and philosophy of education. Walden University is recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as having a best education graduate school.

#22 – University of Washington

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood and Family Studies

Seattle, Washington

Website

University of Washington - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
University of Washington’s self-paced education program is perfect for those interested in an online bachelor’s in special education and early childhood development.

Undergraduate tuition: $11,839

Looking for a self-paced and online special education degree? University of Washington offers a bachelor’s in early childhood and family studies program that offers a more general approach to teaching and learning. Online courses may include early childhood curriculum, engaging interactions and environments, individualized teaching and learning, laying the foundation of reading, and positive behavior support in early childhood. Students may take specialty courses that are designed for those with an interest in special education. University of Washington is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school as the 52nd best national university and the 11th best global university.

#21 – University of Georgia

Bachelor of Science in Special Education Online

Athens, Georgia

Website

University of Georgia - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
University of Georgia’s online bachelor’s in special education is affordable and ranked.

Undergraduate tuition: $11,622

The University of Georgia offers a special education bachelor’s online degree program that is designed to prepare students to teach children with disabilities. Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to become certified in special education general curriculum for pre-K to grade 12. Required courses include classroom behavior management for individuals with disabilities, instructing children with autism spectrum disorder, instruction of individuals with mild disabilities, and typical and atypical language development. University of Georgia is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 61st best national university. Also, the online bachelor’s programs, including the online bachelor’s in special education, are ranked #5 out of more than 1,200 programs.

#20 – Park University

Online BS in Education Studies

Parkville, Missouri

Website

Park University - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
Park University’s online BS in education studies may appeal to those interested in an online bachelor’s in special ed.

Undergraduate tuition: $11,470

Park University’s bachelor’s in education studies may appeal to those interested in an online special education degree because of the variety of courses offered in the field. Four areas of emphasis are available, including youth child, youth (grade 1 through 6), early childhood education and leadership, and early childhood education teaching young children. All classes are delivered through online instruction. Those that relate to special education include diagnosis and remediation for math difficulties, educational psychology, family involvement in early childhood education, language and literacy development, and social and emotional learning in early childhood. Park University is an accredited institution, and its online bachelor’s programs are ranked #183 out of 1,200 by U.S. News and World Report.

#19 – University of Cincinnati

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website

University of Cincinnati - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
The University of Cincinnati’s online bachelor’s in early childhood education program explores topics in special education.

Undergraduate tuition: $11,000

Some students interested in special education bachelor’s degree programs may find that a more general degree is beneficial. At the University of Cincinnati, students may earn an online bachelor’s in early childhood education with a specialization in pre-K, infant-toddler, or administration. The program explores topics in special education and includes online courses like collaborative teaming in early childhood special education, developmental concerns and family partnerships, educational psychology, language development in young children, and social issues in early care and education. University of Cincinnati is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 140th best national university. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #195 in the nation.

#18 – Ashford University

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

San Diego, California

Website

Ashford University - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
Ashford University offers an accredited program that appeals to those interested in online bachelor’s in special education degree programs.

Undergraduate tuition: $10,720

The bachelor’s in early childhood education program at Ashford University may appeal to individuals interested in an online degree in special education. The accredited program offers a degree specialization in teaching younger children for those interested in infant and toddler growth and development. Online courses may include child development, children and families in a diverse society, issues in education, language and development in young children, nutrition and health of children and families, and observing special needs in children. The school offers an early childhood education online club that allows students to interact with their peers in a like-minded environment. Ashford is an accredited and proprietary institution.

#17 – Northcentral University

Online Bachelor’s in Special Education

Prescott Valley, Arizona

Website

Northcentral University - Online Bachelor’s in Special Education
Northcentral University’s online bachelor’s in special education helps prepare students to work with special needs children.

Undergraduate tuition: $10,718

The special education bachelor’s online degree program found at Northcentral University is designed to prepare students to work with special needs children in a professional and academic setting. Courses are delivered entirely online with classes taught by doctoral faculty members. According to the program website, the online bachelor’s in education is the only one of its kind certified by the Department of Education. Online courses include assessment in special education, developing curriculum for the mentally disabled/emotionally disabled student, law in special education, and teaching strategies in special education. Northcentral University is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, the most recent edition of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges lists the graduate education school among some of the best in the country.

#16 – Northern Arizona University

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Flagstaff, Arizona

Website

Northern Arizona University - northern arizona university
Northern Arizona University’s online bachelor’s in early childhood education emphasizes topics in special education and assessment.

Undergraduate tuition: $10,358

While Northern Arizona University doesn’t offer a specific online special education degree at the bachelor’s level, students can major in early childhood education, or another related program, and then pursue the master’s in special education degree offered at the institution. Online courses for the bachelor’s program include early childhood development, curriculum and assessment in early childhood, educational psychology, foundations of special education – early childhood, and play education. Ethics, public administration, and communication courses are also required. Northern Arizona University is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In the most recent edition of Best Colleges, the school’s online bachelor’s programs rank #159 out of more than 1,200.

#15 – Arizona State University

Online Bachelor’s in Educational Studies

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University - northern arizona university
ASU’s accredited education program appeals to those interested in earning an online bachelor’s in special education.

Undergraduate tuition: $10,158

Accredited special education bachelor’s degree programs can be hard to find. Arizona State University offers an online bachelor’s in educational studies program that features a more generalized approach to education. Students take classes in exploration of education, educational psychology, foundations of structured English immersion, theories for acquiring and learning languages, and understanding the culturally diverse child. Courses in special education are also offered. ASU is ranked and accredited. In fact, the university is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 129th best national university in the country. Also, the school offers the 14th best graduate education program and the 11th best online bachelor’s programs.

#14 – Ball State University

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Muncie, Iowa

Website

Ball State University - northern arizona university
Ball State University offers an online bachelor’s in education that emphasizes topics in special needs.

Undergraduate tuition: $9,498

Ball State University offers an accredited bachelor’s in early childhood education that may appeal to those interested in an online special education degree. The program is ranked and affordable, offering scholarships and competitive tuition costs. According to the program website, early childhood and special education courses are available. All classes are delivered online, and special education courses include assessment of young children with exceptional needs, early childhood curriculum and instruction, early emergent literacy, leadership and management in child development programs, and theory and practices in early childhood special education. Ball State is a top-ranked institution. According to U.S. News and World Report, the school ranks 168th among the best national universities. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #34.

#13 – Old Dominion University

Online Bachelor’s in Special Education

Norfolk, Virginia

Website

Old Dominion University - Online Bachelors in Special Education
Old Dominion University’s online bachelor’s in special education degree is ranked #49 in the nation.

Undergraduate tuition: $9,480

Old Dominion University offers an accredited online degree in special education for those interested in earning a bachelor’s via distance education. Upon graduation from the program, students become eligible for Virginia licensure. Open only to students who live in Virginia or Washington state, the program is completely online with classes delivered in a flexible manner. Online courses include classroom and behavior management techniques, foundations of special education – legal aspects and characteristics, instructional design, language acquisition and reading for students with diverse learning needs, PK-12 instructional technology, and reading and writing in content areas. Old Dominion is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the online bachelor’s programs rank #49 in the country.

#12 – Rasmussen College

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Bloomington, Minnesota

Website

Rasmussen College - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Rasmussen College offers an online bachelor’s in education that may be completed in just 18 months and appeals to those interested in special education and early child development.

Undergraduate tuition: $9,360

For those interested in a special education bachelor’s online degree program, Rasmussen College offers an affordable option. The online bachelor’s in early childhood education may be completed in just 18 months and offers courses that explore special education, child development, and teaching and learning. In fact, online courses include empowering contemporary families, ethics and leadership in early childhood education, positive behavior guidance of young children, teaching and learning across the curriculum, and trends in early childhood education – current research and policies. According to the program website, the curriculum is based on the national best standards established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

#11 – Kansas State University

Online Bachelor’s in Childhood Education

Manhattan, Kansas

Website

Kansas State University - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Kansas State University offers an accredited bachelor’s program that is ideal for those wanting an online special education bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate tuition: $9,350

For those interested in special education bachelor’s degree programs, Kansas State University offers an accredited program that focuses on childhood education challenges and needs. Students may elect to take courses in special education with subjects that explore early childhood special needs. Online courses include behavior management, characteristics of cognitive disorders, characteristics of emotional and behavioral disorders, language development, and student teaching in early childhood. Kansas State is accredited and nationally ranked. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 146th best national university. For those interested in pursuing a graduate degree in education, the school’s online graduate education programs are ranked #53 in the nation.

#10 – University of Nebraska

Online Bachelor’s in Child, Youth, and Family Studies – Early Education Emphasis

Lincoln, Nebraska

Website

University of Nebraska - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Courses in special education are available through University of Nebraska’s online bachelor’s in early education.

Undergraduate tuition: $8,367

The early education degree program at University of Nebraska may appeal to those interested in a special education bachelor’s online program. While the program emphasizes early education, courses in addressing special needs are available. All courses are delivered online and include topics such as assessing young children and their environments to enhance development, development of curriculum, diversity in the lives of young children and families, technology and young children, and working with families. The University of Nebraska is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News lists the school as the 103rd best national university. Also, the online bachelor’s programs are ranked 86th in the country.

#9 – Southern Oregon State University

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development

Ashland, Oregon

Website

Southern Oregon State University - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Southern Oregon’s online bachelor’s in early childhood development program covers classes in special education, intervention, and prevention.

Undergraduate tuition: $8,145

The School of Education at Southern Oregon State University offers a bachelor’s in early childhood development program that may appeal to those in search of special education bachelor’s online degree options. The program includes courses in special education and children with disabilities. In fact, online classes include atypical child development, bullies and victims in the schools – intervention and prevention, children at risk, children with disabilities, creativity and learning, and social and emotional needs of children. The program also requires completion of a practicum and portfolio that provide students with experience in the classroom observing and interacting with children. Southern Oregon University is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 73rd best regional university in the West.

#8 – Stephen F. Austin State University

Online Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies – Special Education

Nacogdoches, Texas

Website

Stephen F Austin State University - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
The online bachelor’s in special education at Stephen F Austin State University is an interdisciplinary degree program.

Undergraduate tuition: $7,560

Stephen F. Austin State University offers an online degree in special education program that is designed to prepare students for certification as an EC-12 special education teacher. The program also equips students with the skills needed to enter the school’s master’s in special education program. The program is aligned with the national standards for special educators and state standards for teachers. Advisors and professors assist with placement of degree candidates at various field experiences in the area, including local schools and educational facilities. Stephen F. Austin State University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 87th best regional university in the West and the 35th top public school.

#7 – Mississippi State University

Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education

Mississippi State, Mississippi

Website

Mississippi State University - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Mississippi State’s elementary education program offers courses ideal for those interested in an online bachelor’s in special education or related degree.

Undergraduate tuition: $7,502

For those interested in a more generalized special education bachelor’s online degree program, Mississippi State University offers an elementary education degree with courses available in special education. Courses are delivered online and designed for busy students who require flexibility and convenience when it comes to completing their degree. All requirements parallel the on-campus program, so that online students gain the same quality education as their peers who attend traditional classes. Online courses include behavior management in the classroom, child development, early childhood handicapped, early literacy, and working with parents. Mississippi State is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 161st best national university. Many of the school’s online graduate programs are also highly ranked, including the graduate education program.

#6 – Granite State College

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education – Special Education

Concord, New Hampshire

Website

Granite State College - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Granite State College’s online bachelor’s in special education is affordable and accredited.

Undergraduate tuition: $7,257

Granite State College offers a unique and affordable special education bachelors online degree that allows students to gain knowledge and skills necessary to become a special educator in the classroom. Online courses include assessment of children in early childhood special education (birth to age 8), behavior interventions for young children, human development, special education law, and the dynamic role of the special educator. Granite State College is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as having the 79th best online bachelor’s programs in the country.

#5 – University of North Carolina

Online Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Studies

Greensboro, North Carolina

Website

UNC Greensboro - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
UNC’s education bachelor’s is 100% online and designed for those who want to pursue an online bachelor’s in special education or related degree.

Undergraduate tuition: $6,745

Students interested in a special education bachelors online program and who have completed an AAS in early childhood at a North Carolina community college may find UNC at Greensboro’s online human development bachelor’s degree program appealing. The program is 100% online and considered to be one of the most affordable programs of its kind in the state. Courses focus on childhood development and family services, while offering topics in behavior management, children with disabilities, and special education. UNC-Greensboro is a nationally ranked and accredited institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 187th best national university in the country. Also, for those interested in completing a graduate education program, the school’s online graduate school of education ranks #78 in the nation.

#4 – East Carolina University

Online Bachelor’s in Special Education

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

East Carolina University - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
East Carolina University offers an accredited online bachelor’s in special education.

Undergraduate tuition: $6,580

East Carolina University offers an online degree in special education that is designed to equip students to work with children with disabilities. Courses are delivered online to provide flexibility and convenience. Online courses include assessing students with disabilities, introduction to exceptional children, introduction to students with disabilities in the general curriculum, issues and strategies for students with disabilities, and technology in special education. East Carolina is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 194th best national university. In recent years, the online bachelor’s degree programs have earned national rankings.

#3 – Florida International University

Online BS in Early Childhood Education

Miami, Florida

Website

Florida International University - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Florida International University’s online bachelor’s in early childhood education program focuses on special needs and how to assist disabled children.

Undergraduate tuition: $6,556

Interested in an online bachelor’s in special education? Florida International University offers a general degree program that explores topics in special education and children with disabilities. In fact, online courses include classroom management, educational psychology, issues in early childhood education, play and development of social competence, and special needs of children and their families. The online program assists students with career planning and educational goals by matching every student with a success coach. Florida International is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Even the school’s online bachelor’s programs are ranked by U.S. News as the 100th best online programs in the country.

#2 – Mayville State University

Online Bachelor’s in Special Education

Mayville, North Dakota

Website

Mayville State University - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Mayville State University offers an affordable online bachelor’s in special education.

Undergraduate tuition: $6,380

Mayville State University offers a special education bachelor’s online degree program that is designed for currently licensed teachers. For those without a bachelor’s degree, a double-major option in education and special education is also available. Special education courses include emotional disturbance, learning disabilities, remedial reading, social and emotional guidance, and special education law. Mayville State University is one of the most affordable schools on our list. The institution is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional college. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #205 in the nation.

#1 – Western Governors University

Online Bachelor’s in Special Education (K-12)

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Western Governors University - Online Bachelor's in Special Education
Western Governors University offers our most affordable choice for an online bachelor’s in special education.

Undergraduate tuition: $6,070

Western Governors University offers the most affordable online bachelor’s in special education degree program on our list. Completion of the special education degree leads to teacher licensure. The program is designed for unlicensed teachers, career changers, or paraprofessionals with a desire to teach in the classroom. Online courses include behavioral management and intervention, educational assessment, and introduction to special education – law and legal issues. There is also a professional portfolio and in-classroom teaching requirement. All courses are delivered online so that students may take advantage of the program’s flexibility. Most students continue working while completing the degree. Western Governors University is our #1 pick for the best online bachelor’s degrees in special education due to affordability.

This concludes our ranking of the 30 best online bachelor’s in special education and related degree programs.

By BDP Staff
September 2016