• Western Carolina University provides online opp ortunities for your advancement in Special or Gifted Education through several programs.  

    Professional Development Credential (PDC) is an online opportunity to address real issues in today’s classroom. Choose from one of these 5 critical focus areas:  Creativity and Differentiation, Response to Intervention for Social and Emotional Behavior, Collaboration with Families and Professionals, Autism, and/or Technology. Each area consists of two online courses and will earn a professional development credential (PDC).  The courses can also be applied to a master’s degree or CEU credit.

    AIG Licensure- A four course sequence that leads to an add-on license in gifted education.

    Masters or Arts in Education (MAED) for those who already have an initial licensure in elementary, birth through kindergarten, special education or a content area.  Three concentrations are available.

    • Gifted, Creative and Innovative Education (30 hours)
    • Mild to Moderate Disabilities (30 hours)
    • Severe Disabilities (33 hours)

    Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT)  for those who do not have a degree in special education or an initial teaching license, two concentrations are available and both lead to licensure. This program could be a benefit to paraprofessionals who have a Bachelor’s degree and are interested in professional development. Students may take the initial part of the program for initial license and if desired, continue on to earn a master’s degree and advanced license.

    • General Curriculum (Mild to Moderate Disabilities) 42 hours
    • Adapted Curriculum (Severe Disabilities)  42 hours

    For students enrolled in our master’s program, scholarships, research and professional development travel grants are available! For example, the Invest in Teacher Scholarship allows students to take their first class for free.

    Consider these reasons to earn a master’s degree in special education:

    • Teachers with master’s degrees become leaders in the field of special education or gifted education.
    • Teachers with master’s degrees provide excellent mentoring and support to new teachers.
    • Teachers with master’s degrees are often hired for leadership positions such as curriculum specialists, behavior specialist, placement specialist, and  lead teacher
    • Graduate school provides connection and camaraderie with others in the profession.  
    • Graduate school provides great resources and assistance for teachers who apply for National Board Certification.
    • Graduate programs keep professional educators connected with research and new developments in the field.
    • A master’s degree is a stepping-stone to a doctoral program in education.
    • Well-prepared teachers produce higher student achievement and are more likely to stay in the profession (NCATE, 2006).*
    • Students with teachers with master’s degree may outperform other students.  For example, national data for fourth and eighth grades indicate that students whose teachers have a master’s degree score higher on reading assessments than those with teachers holding a bachelor’s degree.**

     For additional information visit Western Carolina School of Teaching and Learning website.