Special Education, MA Ed (Advanced Practitioner - Functional Academic Skills & Independent Living)

Master of Arts in Education Degree in Special Education with an Emphasis in Advanced Practitioner - Functional Academic Skills and Independent Living

University of Nebraska at Kearney

  • Fully Online
  • 36
  • $315.00
  • $444.00

Program Overview

The online Special Education Advanced Practitioner with emphasis in Functional Academic Skills and Independent Living, Master of Arts in Education (MA Ed) degree program is designed for individuals with a passion for creating life skills programs for individuals with disabilities. 

Why chose this program? 

  • Learn how to create and implement life skill programs.
  • Gain knowledge in assisting students in the transition from public school to post-school work environments. 
  • Acquire strategies to assist teachers in including students with multiple disabilities in the general education classroom.
  • Prepare for doctoral programs in education aimed to help individuals with more progressed disabilities.

Upon completion of this program, students are eligible for Nebraska endorsement as a Functional Academic Skills and Independent Living Specialist. Students seeking endorsement in other states should check with their state department of education.

This endorsement allows the individual to teach children identified as having one of four disabilities: 

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Career Outlook: Special education teachers engage with children and youth that have a wide variety of disabilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for special education teachers will grow by about 8% from 2016-2026. Although most special education teachers work in public schools, some find jobs in the private sector taking care of special needs children in childcare services and other institutions.

More about the Special Education, MA Ed, Advanced Practitioner program:

The Master of Arts in Education: Special Education Advanced Practitioner program is designed for teachers who currently hold certification in Special Education and would like to further their education. 

Students have four options to choose from: 

  • Behavior Intervention Specialist
  • Inclusion and Collaboration Specialist 
  • Assistive Technology Specialist Emphasis 
  • Functional Academic Skills and Independent Living Specialist Emphasis 

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A Bachelor's degree

  2. 2.75 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  3. A license/certificate required

    Standard teaching certificate

  4. Official transcripts from all previous schools

  5. A professional biography

NOTE: If you reside in state(s) KY contact a program adviser before applying.

To apply to this program:

  1. Complete and submit the online application for admission.
  2. Pay the $45 non-refundable application fee.

Courses You’ll Take

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
TE 800Educational Research3
This introductory online course in educational research focuses on evaluating and interpreting educational research and applying its findings to educational practice.
TESE 892Augmentative Alternative Communication3
Prereq: TE 805P Provides an overview of alternative and augmentative communications devices and strategies. Discussion about AAC assessment, management, implementation, and evaluation of effectiveness will be discussed.
TE 805POverview of Assistive Technlogy3
This course examines the applications of assistive technology for individuals with disabilities as it relates to teaching and learning. Existing research with students with special needs will be reviewed and new applications of existing and developing technology will be explored.
TESE 885Inclusion and Differentiation Strategies for the 21st Century Classroom3
The course addresses the instructional needs of all students with exceptionalities (disabilities and giftedness) as well as those from culturally diverse backgrounds in integrated settings. Special education referral process, Response to Intervention, Section 504, analysis of instruction/environment and its impact on learning, assignment/assessment modification, behavioral issues, and evaluation of student learning will be the emphasis. Research-based intervention strategies to differentiate instruction will also be presented.
TESE 882Applied Behavior Analysis3
This course provides an in depth examination of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Students will examine the history and development of ABA as well as the use of ABA in the education of and research with individuals with disabilities.
TESE 829PAssessment of Young Children: Birth to Five3
This course prepares students to evaluate assessment tools for young children, determine their appropriateness for various purposes, write and interpret evaluation reports, and translate assessment results into intervention goals and strategies. In field experiences students administer tests and interpret and report results. Prerequisite: TESE 827P or departmental permission.
TE 804Curriculum Development in Multicultural Education3
Students learn to evaluate, create, and implement multicultural lesson plans, unit plans, textbooks, curriculum guides, classroom rules and regulations, and school policies.
TE 803Philosophy of Education3
Survey of the philosophical foundations of western culture and their relation to the development of earlier and contemporary educational philosophies.
TESE 887PTeaching Functional Academics to Individuals with Exceptional Needs3
This course is designed to provide students with strategies and interventions to enable the instruction of functional academics for students with exceptional needs. Students will be exposed to techniques for initial instruction in reading, math, and written language emphasizing real-life application. Experiences will include adapting general standards and curriculum and applying them to meet IEP functional goals and objectives.
TESE 879PTeaching Social Skills to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder3
This course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to teach Social and Personal Skills for students with disabilities. Students will be exposed to various Social and Personal Skills programs and strategies that are presently available that have been designed for students with special needs. The development of role play, problem solving, social story, and social script techniques will be emphasized. In addition, students will be able to develop individualized instruction for students based on needs assessment data. Students will also apply their knowledge of age appropriateness in the development of social and personal skills lessons.
TESE 876PTransitional Issues for Individuals with Disabilities3
Assessment planning and instruction to facilitate educational and employment post-school outcomes will be emphasized. Federal and state laws governing minimum transition practices will be covered. Assessment, transition planning, services, interagency collaboration, resources, and instruction will be discussed to facilitate a successful transition.
TESE 880Critical Issues in Special Education3
This course provides students with the knowledge and understanding of the critical issues facing the field of Special education. Professional ethics and code of conduct will be emphasized.

Tuition & Fees

Nebraska Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours


Out of State Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours

About Faculty

University of Nebraska online courses are taught by expert faculty who embody the qualities resulting from research experience and professional/field experience. Students learn from faculty with a variety of backgrounds, many of whom are published researchers in their fields. NU faculty who teach online do so in a way that optimizes learning within the online modality and because technology enables students to access education they may otherwise may not be able to pursue.

Application Deadlines
  • Fall SemesterJul 10
  • Spring SemesterNov 10
  • Summer SessionsApr 10