Special Education

2022 Best Special Education Schools

707 Colleges in the United States
29,591 Special Ed Degrees Awarded
$43,879 Avg Early-Career Salary
Special Education is above average in terms of popularity with it being the #39 most popular degree program in the country. As a result, there are many college that offer the degree, making your choice of school a hard one.

College Factual looked at 707 colleges and universities when compiling its 2022 Best Special Education Schools ranking. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 29,591 degrees in special education during the 2019-2020 academic year.

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Choosing a Great Special Education School

Best Special Education Schools Your choice of special education school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. We derive our Best Overall Special Education School rankings by rolling up our degree-level rankings after weighting them by the number of degrees awarded at each school.

You may want to choose one of the degree levels below to find the schools of most interest to you.

Pick Your Special Education Degree Level

Since picking the right college can be one of the most important decisions of your life, we've developed the Best Special Education Schools ranking, along with many other major-related rankings, to help you make that decision. If you'd like to restrict your choices to just one part of the country, you can filter this list by location.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

If you want to learn more about how we derive our rankings, see College Factual's Methodology.

Best Schools for Special Education in the United States

Although we recommend filtering by degree level first, you can view the list below to see which schools give the educational experience for the special ed degree levels they offer. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

25 Top Schools in Special Ed

#1

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
$36,435 Median Student Debt

Every student who is interested in special education needs to check out Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Baltimore. A Best Schools rank of #19 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great university overall.

There were about 19 special education students who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent year we have data available. Those special education students who get their degree from Johns Hopkins University make $12,321 more than the standard special ed graduate.

More information about a degree in special education from Johns Hopkins University

#2

Providence College

Providence, RI
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
50 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

It is difficult to beat Providence College if you want to pursue a degree in special education. Located in the midsize city of Providence, Providence is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Schools rank of #96 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Providence is a great college overall.

There were roughly 50 special education students who graduated with this degree at Providence in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the special ed program state that they receive average early career earnings of $39,700.

More information about a degree in special education from Providence College

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In WA
85 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Western Washington University is one of the finest schools in the country for getting a degree in special education. WWU is a fairly large public university located in the city of Bellingham. This university ranks 7th out of 58 schools for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There were roughly 85 special education students who graduated with this degree at WWU in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in special education from Western Washington University

#4

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In TN
80 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Any student pursuing a degree in special education has to take a look at Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Nashville. A Best Schools rank of #37 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Vanderbilt is a great university overall.

There were about 80 special education students who graduated with this degree at Vanderbilt in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in special education from Vanderbilt University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
125 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the suburb of Ewing, TCNJ is a public college with a medium-sized student population. A Best Schools rank of #88 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means TCNJ is a great college overall.

There were approximately 125 special education students who graduated with this degree at TCNJ in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the special education program at The College of New Jersey make $13,321 above the typical graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in special education from The College of New Jersey

#6

Manhattan College

Riverdale, NY
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
63 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Riverdale, Manhattan is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 25th out of 160 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 63 special education students who graduated with this degree at Manhattan in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the special education major at Manhattan College make $16,621 above the typical graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in special education from Manhattan College

#7

Brandman University

Irvine, CA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In CA
143 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Irvine, Brandman is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 41st out of 203 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were approximately 143 special education students who graduated with this degree at Brandman in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in special education from Brandman University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
45th Most Popular In CA

UC Berkeley is a very large public university located in the midsize city of Berkeley. A Best Schools rank of #26 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great university overall.

There were approximately 5 special education students who graduated with this degree at UC Berkeley in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in special education from University of California - Berkeley

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
177 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the midsize suburb of Normal, Illinois State is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 6th out of 102 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There were roughly 177 special education students who graduated with this degree at Illinois State in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates who receive their degree from the special ed program earn about $42,600 in their early career salary.

More information about a degree in special education from Illinois State University

#10

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In WA

Located in the city of Spokane, Gonzaga is a private not-for-profit university with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Schools rank of #189 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Gonzaga is a great university overall.

There were approximately 24 special education students who graduated with this degree at Gonzaga in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in special education from Gonzaga University

#11

Towson University

Towson, MD
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
183 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Towson, Towson is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 6th out of 39 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There were about 183 special education students who graduated with this degree at Towson in the most recent year we have data available. Special Education degree recipients from Towson University get an earnings boost of about $6,871 over the typical income of special education graduates.

More information about a degree in special education from Towson University

#12

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
65 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Syracuse is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Syracuse. A Best Schools rank of #122 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Syracuse is a great university overall.

There were about 65 special education students who graduated with this degree at Syracuse in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the special education degree program at Syracuse University earn $9,721 more than the typical college grad in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in special education from Syracuse University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
8th Most Popular In WI
63 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #69 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means UW - Madison is a great university overall.

There were about 63 special education students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in special education from University of Wisconsin - Madison

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
83 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of New York, Teachers College is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. A Best Schools rank of #43 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Teachers College is a great university overall.

There were about 83 special education students who graduated with this degree at Teachers College in the most recent data year. Those special education students who get their degree from Teachers College at Columbia University receive $12,621 more than the standard special ed student.

More information about a degree in special education from Teachers College at Columbia University

#15

SUNY Cortland

Cortland, NY
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
88 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

SUNY Cortland is a moderately-sized public school located in the distant town of Cortland. This school ranks 28th out of 160 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 88 special education students who graduated with this degree at SUNY Cortland in the most recent year we have data available. After graduation, special ed degree recipients generally earn an average of $44,450 in the first five years of their career.

More information about a degree in special education from SUNY Cortland

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
39 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the small city of Champaign, UIUC is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #68 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means UIUC is a great university overall.

There were roughly 39 special education students who graduated with this degree at UIUC in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the special ed program state that they receive average early career wages of $42,100.

More information about a degree in special education from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

#17

Lebanon Valley College

Annville, PA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
$27,000 Median Student Debt

Located in the suburb of Annville, LVC is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 19th out of 134 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

There were about 23 special education students who graduated with this degree at LVC in the most recent data year. Students who receive their degree from the special ed program make about $41,500 in the first couple years of their career.

More information about a degree in special education from Lebanon Valley College

#18

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In VA
341 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

GMU is a fairly large public university located in the suburb of Fairfax. This university ranks 9th out of 73 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were about 341 special education students who graduated with this degree at GMU in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in special education from George Mason University

#19

Salve Regina University

Newport, RI

Located in the suburb of Newport, Salve Regina is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. This university ranks 6th out of 10 colleges for overall quality in the state of Rhode Island.

There were roughly 22 special education students who graduated with this degree at Salve Regina in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the special ed program report average early career income of $39,000.

More information about a degree in special education from Salve Regina University

#20

Boston University

Boston, MA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
64 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Boston U is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Boston. A Best Schools rank of #67 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Boston U is a great university overall.

There were about 64 special education students who graduated with this degree at Boston U in the most recent year we have data available. Those special education students who get their degree from Boston University receive $3,521 more than the average special ed graduate.

More information about a degree in special education from Boston University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
31 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of New York, Bank Street College of Education is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

There were roughly 31 special education students who graduated with this degree at Bank Street College of Education in the most recent data year. Those special education students who get their degree from Bank Street College of Education receive $8,521 more than the standard special ed student.

More information about a degree in special education from Bank Street College of Education

#22

George Washington University

Washington, DC
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
48 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

GWU is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Washington. A Best Schools rank of #86 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means GWU is a great university overall.

There were about 48 special education students who graduated with this degree at GWU in the most recent year we have data available. Those special education students who get their degree from George Washington University receive $12,521 more than the typical special ed graduate.

More information about a degree in special education from George Washington University

#23

Hunter College

New York, NY
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
315 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of New York, Hunter is a public college with a very large student population. This college ranks 46th out of 160 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were about 315 special education students who graduated with this degree at Hunter in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the special education program at Hunter College get $19,521 above the standard graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in special education from Hunter College

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
13th Most Popular In CA
$32,954 Median Student Debt

PLNU is a small private not-for-profit university located in the large city of San Diego. This university ranks 55th out of 203 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were approximately 26 special education students who graduated with this degree at PLNU in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in special education from Point Loma Nazarene University

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In WI
84 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Eau Claire, UW - Eau Claire is a public university with a large student population. This university ranks 8th out of 52 colleges for overall quality in the state of Wisconsin.

There were about 84 special education students who graduated with this degree at UW - Eau Claire in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in special education from University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

Rest of the Top 50 Best Special Education Schools

#26

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA
#27

Hope College

Holland, MI
#30

New York University

New York, NY
#31

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA

#32

Elon University

Elon, NC

#35

Fordham University

Bronx, NY
#37

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
#38

Brooklyn College

Brooklyn, NY
#39

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD

#44

Winona State University

Winona, MN
#45

Pace University - New York

New York, NY
#46

Saint Joseph's University

Philadelphia, PA
#47

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
#48

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Special Education Schools badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 707 different United States special education schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
51 Endicott College Beverly, MA
52 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
53 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
54 National University La Jolla, CA
55 Seattle University Seattle, WA
56 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown, PA
57 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
58 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
59 Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA
60 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
61 University of Redlands Redlands, CA
62 York College of Pennsylvania York, PA
63 University of Delaware Newark, DE
64 Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL
65 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
66 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
67 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
68 Ball State University Muncie, IN
69 Nevada State College Henderson, NV
70 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
71 Baylor University Waco, TX
72 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
73 SUNY Geneseo Geneseo, NY
74 Manhattanville College Purchase, NY
75 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
76 Chapman University Orange, CA
77 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
78 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
79 University of Wisconsin - Stout Menomonie, WI
80 Touro College New York, NY
81 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
82 Martin Luther College New Ulm, MN
83 Kean University Union, NJ
84 American University Washington, DC
85 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
86 LIU Post Brookville, NY
87 Calvin University Grand Rapids, MI
88 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
89 Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown, PA
90 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
91 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
92 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
93 Simmons University Boston, MA
94 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
95 Mount Marty University Yankton, SD
96 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
97 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
98 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
99 University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI
100 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
101 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
102 Auburn University Auburn, AL
103 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
104 Alliant International University San Diego, CA
105 Monmouth University West Long Branch, NJ
106 Concordia College - New York Bronxville, NY

Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Special Education Schools award.

Rank College Location
107 Whitworth University Spokane, WA
108 Northwestern College Orange City, IA
109 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
110 University of Saint Joseph West Hartford, CT
111 Bradley University Peoria, IL
112 Stonehill College Easton, MA
113 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
114 The City College of New York New York, NY
115 Ramapo College of New Jersey Mahwah, NJ
116 Touro University California Vallejo, CA
117 Drake University Des Moines, IA
118 Georgia College & State University Milledgeville, GA
119 Hofstra University Hempstead, NY
120 St. Joseph’s College - New York Brooklyn, NY
121 Lock Haven University Lock Haven, PA
122 University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, HI
123 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
124 University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Whitewater, WI
125 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
126 University of St. Thomas Houston, TX
127 University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Stevens Point, WI
128 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
129 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
130 Binghamton University Vestal, NY
131 Westfield State University Westfield, MA
132 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
133 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
134 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
135 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
136 California Lutheran University Thousand Oaks, CA
137 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
138 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg, MA
139 California State University - Fresno Fresno, CA
140 Fresno Pacific University Fresno, CA
141 Dakota State University Madison, SD

Special Education by Region

View the Best Special Education Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

View All Rankings >

Special Education is one of 14 different types of Education programs to choose from.

Special Ed Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
General Special Education 20,603
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs 2,119
Other Special Education & Teaching 2,105
Elementary Special Education 1,368
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Secondary Special Education Programs 444
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities 442
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism 431
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities 412
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Speech or Language Impairments 349
Education/Teaching of the Gifted & Talented 326

View All Special Ed Concentrations >

Majors Similar to Special Ed

Related Major Annual Graduates
Teacher Education Grade Specific 89,369
Teacher Education Subject Specific 39,529
Educational Administration 35,794
General Education 28,030
Curriculum & Instruction 16,788
Student Counseling 13,002
Instructional Media Design 6,565
Other Education 4,202
Teaching English or French 3,914
Educational Assessment 1,552

View All Special Ed Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to woodleywonderworks. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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