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2023 Best Special Education Schools

603 Colleges in the United States
36,792 Special Ed Degrees Awarded
$45,679 Avg Early-Career Salary
If you pursue a degree in special education, you won't be alone. The field of study is the #29 most popular program in the country. This means there are lots of options to choose from when you decide to get your degree.

College Factual looked at 603 colleges and universities when compiling its 2023 Best Special Education Schools ranking. Combined, these schools handed out 36,792 degrees in special education to qualified students.

Jump to one of the following sections: * Degree-Level Rankings

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.

Featured Special Education Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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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

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

Any student pursuing a degree in special education needs to check out Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Baltimore. A Best Colleges rank of #9 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great university overall.

There were roughly 47 special education students who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent year we have data available. Special Education degree recipients from Johns Hopkins University earn a boost of approximately $19,544 over the average income of special education graduates.

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

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

Illinois State University is a good choice for students interested in a degree in special education. Located in the suburb of Normal, Illinois State is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 6th out of 87 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There were approximately 214 special education students who graduated with this degree at Illinois State in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the special ed program earn about $43,480 in their early career salary.

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

#3

Syracuse University

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

It's hard to beat Syracuse University if you wish to pursue a degree in special education. Syracuse is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the medium-sized city of Syracuse. A Best Colleges rank of #71 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means Syracuse is a great university overall.

There were about 64 special education students who graduated with this degree at Syracuse in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the special education program at Syracuse University earn $7,194 more than the typical college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in special education from Syracuse University

#4

Towson University

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

It's hard to beat Towson University if you want to pursue a degree in special education. Located in the city of Towson, Towson is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 4th out of 34 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There were roughly 231 special education students who graduated with this degree at Towson in the most recent data year. Those special education students who get their degree from Towson University receive $6,544 more than the average special ed graduate.

More information about a degree in special education from Towson University

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

GWU is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of #40 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means GWU is a great university overall.

There were approximately 62 special education students who graduated with this degree at GWU in the most recent year we have data available. Special Education degree recipients from George Washington University get an earnings boost of approximately $13,070 above the typical income of special education graduates.

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

#6

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
54 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Vanderbilt is a large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Nashville. A Best Colleges rank of #21 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means Vanderbilt is a great university overall.

There were roughly 54 special education students who graduated with this degree at Vanderbilt in the most recent year we have data available. Students who receive their degree from the special ed program make around $47,195 for their early career.

More information about a degree in special education from Vanderbilt University

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

Located in the large city of New York, Teachers College is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of #42 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Teachers College is a great university overall.

There were about 69 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 $32,243 more than the standard special ed student.

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

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

Located in the large suburb of Ewing, TCNJ is a public college with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 5th out of 44 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

There were approximately 151 special education students who graduated with this degree at TCNJ in the most recent data year. Special Education degree recipients from The College of New Jersey receive an earnings boost of about $11,475 over the average earnings of special education majors.

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

#9

Hunter College

New York, NY
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
360 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 33rd out of 143 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 360 special education students who graduated with this degree at Hunter in the most recent data year. Those special education students who get their degree from Hunter College receive $23,635 more than the average special ed student.

More information about a degree in special education from Hunter College

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

Located in the city of Saint Paul, UST MN is a private not-for-profit university with a moderately-sized student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 55 colleges for overall quality in the state of Minnesota.

There were approximately 92 special education students who graduated with this degree at UST MN in the most recent year we have data available. Special Education degree recipients from University of St Thomas Minnesota earn a boost of approximately $3,802 above the typical income of special education majors.

More information about a degree in special education from University of St Thomas Minnesota

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
1,870 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Ball State is a fairly large public university located in the city of Muncie. This university ranks 6th out of 42 schools for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

There were about 1870 special education students who graduated with this degree at Ball State in the most recent data year. Those special education students who get their degree from Ball State University earn $2,438 more than the typical special ed student.

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

#12

Fordham University

Bronx, NY
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
68 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Bronx, Fordham U is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 14th out of 143 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were about 68 special education students who graduated with this degree at Fordham U in the most recent data year. Those special education students who get their degree from Fordham University earn $16,494 more than the average special ed graduate.

More information about a degree in special education from Fordham University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
69 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 Colleges rank of #33 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UW - Madison is a great university overall.

There were about 69 special education students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the special ed program earn an average of $41,945 for their early career.

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

#14

Boston University

Boston, MA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
44 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Boston U is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Boston. A Best Colleges rank of #41 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Boston U is a great university overall.

There were about 44 special education students who graduated with this degree at Boston U in the most recent data year. Special Education degree recipients from Boston University get an earnings boost of about $3,216 above the average income of special education majors.

More information about a degree in special education from Boston University

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
93 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

WWU is a fairly large public university located in the city of Bellingham. This university ranks 7th out of 51 schools for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There were about 93 special education students who graduated with this degree at WWU in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the special education program at Western Washington University get $3,574 above the standard college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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

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

Located in the large city of Seattle, UW Seattle is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #38 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UW Seattle is a great university overall.

There were approximately 32 special education students who graduated with this degree at UW Seattle in the most recent year we have data available. Special Education degree recipients from University of Washington - Seattle Campus receive an earnings boost of about $19,605 over the average income of special education graduates.

More information about a degree in special education from University of Washington - Seattle Campus

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

GMU is a very large public university located in the large suburb of Fairfax. This university ranks 5th out of 65 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were roughly 397 special education students who graduated with this degree at GMU in the most recent year we have data available. Special Education degree recipients from George Mason University receive an earnings boost of around $13,409 above the typical income of special education majors.

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

#18

Saint Joseph's University

Philadelphia, PA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
157 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

St. Joe's is a medium-sized private not-for-profit university located in the city of Philadelphia. This university ranks 10th out of 117 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

There were about 157 special education students who graduated with this degree at St. Joe's in the most recent data year. Those special education students who get their degree from Saint Joseph's University make $3,466 more than the standard special ed student.

More information about a degree in special education from Saint Joseph’s University

#19

Brooklyn College

Brooklyn, NY
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
244 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

Brooklyn College is a large public college located in the large city of Brooklyn. This college ranks 55th out of 143 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were about 243.99999999999997 special education students who graduated with this degree at Brooklyn College in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the special education degree program at Brooklyn College make $22,319 more than the typical college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in special education from Brooklyn College

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

Located in the city of Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #60 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means UMN Twin Cities is a great university overall.

There were about 84 special education students who graduated with this degree at UMN Twin Cities in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the special education program at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities earn $2,376 above the typical college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in special education from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

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

IU Bloomington is a very large public university located in the small city of Bloomington. A Best Colleges rank of #58 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means IU Bloomington is a great university overall.

There were roughly 38 special education students who graduated with this degree at IU Bloomington in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the special ed program earn an average of $41,896 for their early career.

More information about a degree in special education from Indiana University - Bloomington

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

Located in the city of Athens, UGA is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #79 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UGA is a great university overall.

There were roughly 75 special education students who graduated with this degree at UGA in the most recent data year. Students who receive their degree from the special ed program make an average of $42,959 in the first couple years of working.

More information about a degree in special education from University of Georgia

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

Located in the city of Champaign, UIUC is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #44 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means UIUC is a great university overall.

There were approximately 52 special education students who graduated with this degree at UIUC in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the special ed program report average early career income of $43,613.

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

#24

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
41 Special Ed Degrees Awarded

UDayton is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the medium-sized city of Dayton. This university ranks 7th out of 96 schools for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

There were about 41 special education students who graduated with this degree at UDayton in the most recent year we have data available. After graduating, special ed degree recipients generally earn around $41,471 in their early careers.

More information about a degree in special education from University of Dayton

#25

Touro College

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

Located in the city of New York, Touro is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 45th out of 143 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 645 special education students who graduated with this degree at Touro in the most recent data year. Those special education students who get their degree from Touro College make $15,248 more than the average special ed student.

More information about a degree in special education from Touro College

Rest of the Top 50 Best Special Education Schools

#25

Touro College

New York, NY
#26

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA
#28

LIU Post

Brookville, NY
#31

Hope College

Holland, MI

#32

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

#33

Manhattan College

Riverdale, NY
#35

Auburn University

Auburn, AL
#38

Hofstra University

Hempstead, NY

#42

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT
#43

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN
#44

Brandman University

Irvine, CA
#45

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA
#46

Queens College

Queens, NY
#47

Providence College

Providence, RI
#49

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the remainder of the colleges awarded a Best Special Education Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 603 different United States special education schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 Washington State University Pullman, WA
51 Endicott College Beverly, MA
52 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
53 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
54 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC
55 Juniata College Huntingdon, PA
56 Millersville University of Pennsylvania Millersville, PA
57 Winona State University Winona, MN
58 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
59 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
60 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ
61 Whitworth University Spokane, WA
62 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
63 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
64 Lehman College Bronx, NY
65 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
66 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
67 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
68 California State University - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
69 Grand Canyon University Phoenix, AZ
70 SUNY Cortland Cortland, NY
71 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
72 Bank Street College of Education New York, NY
73 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
74 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown, PA
75 National University La Jolla, CA
76 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
77 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
78 Bradley University Peoria, IL
79 Seattle University Seattle, WA
80 University of Cincinnati - Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
81 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
82 Calvin University Grand Rapids, MI
83 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
84 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
85 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
86 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN
87 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
88 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
89 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
90 University of Mary Bismarck, ND

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
91 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
92 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
93 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
94 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
95 Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale, IL
96 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
97 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
98 Simmons University Boston, MA
99 Kean University Union, NJ
100 Minot State University Minot, ND
101 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
102 Baylor University Waco, TX
103 University of Redlands Redlands, CA
104 Trinity Christian College Palos Heights, IL
105 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
106 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
107 Carthage College Kenosha, WI
108 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
109 Saint Martin’s University Lacey, WA
110 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
111 University of Nevada - Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
112 University of Delaware Newark, DE
113 Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI
114 Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI
115 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
116 Augustana University Sioux Falls, SD
117 Carroll University Waukesha, WI
118 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
119 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
120 Hastings College Hastings, NE

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 24,497
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs 3,111
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities 1,789
Elementary Special Education 1,625
Other Special Education & Teaching 1,227
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism 1,133
Education/Teaching of Individuals in Secondary Special Education Programs 655
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities 540
Education/Teaching of the Gifted & Talented 504
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Speech or Language Impairments 415

View All Special Ed Concentrations >

Majors Similar to Special Ed

Related Major Annual Graduates
Teacher Education Grade Specific 110,226
Educational Administration 46,469
Teacher Education Subject Specific 43,297
General Education 29,810
Curriculum & Instruction 19,832
Student Counseling 13,858
Instructional Media Design 8,695
Teaching English or French 5,791
Other Education 4,858
Teaching Assistants 2,751

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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