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Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8, initial licensure) & Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Grade Levels:
  • Credits for Licensure:
  • Credits:
  • Degree:
    Master of Education
  • Program Approved:
    Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education

Program Description

This program offers a unique opportunity for educators to become licensed special education teachers and certified behavior analysts. Featuring field-based research and hands-on learning, the special education program prepares highly innovative teachers who meet the regulations for licensure of Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8 and 5-12) in Massachusetts. This program will also prepare you to take the exams required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

What Is Special Education?

Special education provides specialized instruction to meet the unique learning needs of students with disabilities. Special education is highly individualized and designed to help students with special needs to achieve their fullest potential. In recent years, the number of special education students in the United States has increased dramatically, with autism and related disabilities accounting for much of this growth.

What You Need to Start Your Master’s Degree

This program requires that you have a current job in a setting that will enable you to meet the BACB’s supervised field work requirements. This includes having a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) who has agreed to provide supervision for the field work. Accrual of supervision hours and applied projects requiring access to clients and supervision are also essential components of the program.

Cambridge College Special Education Teaching Program Highlights

Gain the specialized skills and training to be a teacher of special education. Our program offers a flexible, hands-on graduate experience designed for working professionals, at one of the most affordable four-year private nonprofit colleges in the nation.

  • Flexible class schedules. Work at your own pace, and earn your master’s degree in as little as two years, in a flexible program with evening, weekend, and online class options.
  • Hands-on learning. Benefit from extensive field experiences and real-world classroom training. Licensure students will be required to complete 300 hours of practicum field work prior to graduation, as well as a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Content License Endorsement course.
  • No graduate school tests required for admission. Apply without having to take the GRE or MTEL tests in advance. If you’re not already a teacher and haven’t taken the MTEL, you can take the MTEL exam before starting the required degree practicum—not before you apply for admission.
  • Resources to succeed. Gain hands-on experience using classroom and adaptive technologies that are used throughout the special education profession, while learning from caring and supportive faculty who bring years of special education teaching experience to the program.
  • Convenient location. Cut down on commuting time and stress. All Cambridge College’s classroom locations are near public transportation and/or offer year-round free parking for students.

The greater Boston metropolitan area is one of the top 10 cities with the highest employment levels for special education teachers at the kindergarten and elementary school, middle school, and secondary school levels.

Special Education (PreK-8 or 5-12, Initial Licensure) Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of this program, you’ll understand how moderate disabilities affect progress in learning academic content of the general curriculum, and strategies for helping special education students to excel. You’ll also be prepared to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Special Education Jobs

Earning your master’s degree in special education and then becoming licensed as a Teacher of Students With Moderate Disabilities prepares you for rewarding and high-demand careers—whether you want to make a career change or you’re already a teacher and want to move into special education.

Students who complete this program will be eligible for licensure to teach in grades PreK-12 as a co-teacher, a consulting teacher, or a teacher of record in resource room settings. All of these opportunities offer competitive pay and excellent job security. Graduates will also be eligible to become certified behavior analysts with a teaching license.

How Much Do Special Education Teachers Make?

Earning your master’s degree in special education can increase your annual salary, and special education teachers typically make more money than general education teachers at the same school.

In 2018, the median annual wage for special education teachers nationally was $59,780. Here’s a look at salaries for special education teachers in Massachusetts:

  • Special education teacher – kindergarten and elementary school: $74,470
  • Special education teacher – middle school: $74,500
  • Special education teacher – secondary school: $76,080

Special Education Courses

The Special Education Teaching and Applied Behavior Analysis master’s degree program at Cambridge College features classes such as:

  • Psycho-Educational Assessment for Teaching Exceptional Students
  • Principles of Language Development Bridging Differences and Disorders
  • Ethics and Professionalism in Applied Behavior Analysis

Download the Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis program sheet.

Special Education Teacher Scholarships and Financial Aid

You may qualify for grants, scholarships, loans, and other types of financial assistance to help pay for your master’s degree in special education and applied behavior analysis. Learn more about applying for financial aid at Cambridge College.

Many companies also offer tuition assistance programs that can help to pay for education. Find information about getting your company to help.

Related Programs at Cambridge College

If you’re still exploring degree options, you might be interested in learning more about these Master of Education programs at Cambridge College:


Please note: At Cambridge College locations outside of Massachusetts, this program is currently non-licensure only.

Special Education Foundation Courses
Program Portfolio Integration
EED 735

Students are required to enroll in this 0-credit course during the first semester of their program experience. Enrollment in this 0-credit course activates student access to the Tevera portfolio which facilities the tracking and storage of essential documents required for program completion.

The Reflective Practitioner
EED 5001 1 credit(s)

Reflective practice is a process of self-evaluation and analysis that allows teachers to reflect on their teaching practices, identify areas for improvement, and make adjustment to their practice to better support student learning. In this 1-credit course, graduate students will learn to identify their own strengths and challenges, set goals for themselves and their students, evaluate curriculum materials, generate potential solutions to problems of practice, and explore tools and technology to support their reflective practice.

Theories of Typical and Atypical Human Development
ESP 689 3 credit(s)
This course examines current research and theoretical models that focus on the typical and atypical development of children. The emphasis is on understanding children’s psychological, intellectual, and physical development and investigating the impact of developmental theories on the education of children with disabilities.
Collaboration and Consultation Techniques
ESP 594 2 credit(s)
The course explores collaboration and consultation techniques among school-based teams to best support a range of learners in today's classrooms. The course will provide students with the background and knowledge-based to work collaboratively with school-based educators, parents, and outside agencies to improve student outcomes. Students will become familiar with the educator’s role within the IEP process to strengthen educational partnerships through culturally responsive instruction and teamwork to assess, plan, and implement effective classroom environments.
Teaching Phonological and Phonemic Awareness and Phonics
ELE 500
This course introduces the importance of phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, and phonics skills in early literacy development. Emphasis is placed on brain research and explicit instruction in phonemic and phonological awareness and phonics instruction as the largest indicators of successful reading development. This course is a prerequisite for ELE 521.
Inclusion in Math Class
MAT 700 3 credit(s)

This course promotes collaboration between mathematics and special educators to improve instruction and outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities. This course provides a structure for developing shared visions, common language, foundational knowledge of mathematics instruction, and the instructional needs of math students with disabilities. The Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks serve as a foundation for high quality core curriculum and instruction addressing conceptual understandings and practices that are an essential part of rigorous math expectations. 

Pedagogy in Reading and English Language Arts
ESP 680 3 credit(s)
This course develops a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of reading and writing development based on the active view of reading model and science of reading research. Diagnostic tools and classroom techniques for teaching and assessing phonological awareness, decoding, encoding, comprehension strategies, and fluency skills are explored, along with related theories, research, and developmentally appropriate practices.
Assistive Technology: Modifying the Curriculum for Diverse Learners
ESP 615 3 credit(s)
This course examines Assistive Technology in special education, ensuring compliance with Federal regulations under IDEA. Participants will explore best practices and strategies pertaining to the development and delivery of effective AT services. Topics include considering and assessing AT needs, integrating AT into IEPs, effective team collaboration, and implementing AT for low and high-incidence disabilities. The course also covers promising practices for AT selection, creating accessible educational materials, and the impact of UDL on AT.
Psycho-Educational Assessment for Teaching Exceptional Students
ESP 607 3 credit(s)
This course prepares candidates to assess various educational test instruments, understand outcome data, analyze various data sets and make hypotheses, and formulate academic goals and objectives. Candidates develop a conceptual framework to understand student's academic needs and develop appropriate interventions based upon testing outcome data. Test construction is introduced for evaluating various assessment instruments and the appropriateness of their use. Students utilize formal and informal assessments, standardized instrumentation, and screening instrumentation to gather data and formulate appropriate interventions and accommodations for various educational plans. Specific practices include formative assessment, academic feedback, and questioning. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.
Laws and Regulations Pertaining to Behavioral Intervention and ABA
ESP 698 1 credit(s)
Pre-practicum: 12 hours of directed field-based training required. This course reviews special education laws and specific regulations regarding behavioral intervention and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) including early Intervention (EI) for infants until age 3, the public school referral process, for special education services, referral, evaluation and eligibility determination for children with disabilities on the Autism spectrum, and the development of an Individual Educational Program (IEP).
Supervised Learning Project
ESP 800B 2 credit(s)

The Supervised Learning Project is a culminating learning experience that helps educators/behavior analysts integrate their personal and formal learning, along with their extensive field work into a meaningful whole. Students will integrate their experiences into a field-based research document which reflects the area of study and of licensure. It is project-based and is combined with a poster demonstration.

Principles of Language Development Bridging Differences and Disorders
ESP 662 3 credit(s)
This course explores language acquisition and development from birth through adolescence. The connection between language acquisition, language impairment, and strategies for communicative disorders in children is emphasized. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training are required.
Adapting Materials for Students with Disabilities in Gen Ed Classrooms
ESP 592 1 credit(s)
This course provides participants with the knowledge and skills to adapt curriculum and materials to meet the diverse needs of students. Participants will explore the key frameworks of UDL and differentiation to promote inclusive practices and optimize learning. Participants will evaluate existing curriculum, materials, and instructional practices to ensure they are accessible, engaging, and effective for learners. Emphasis will be on applying accommodations and modifications as well as implementing the frameworks for UDL and differentiation.
Practicum Prerequisites
  • Pass all MTELs required by Massachusetts for this license. Communication and Literacy, General Curriculum (multi-subject) + math subtest (Elementary Math (53), Middle School Math (47) or Mathematics (09) will also meet the math subtest requirement.) + Foundations of Reading (Reading (08) will also meet this requirement.).
  • SEI605    Sheltered English Immersion or ESE-endorsed course or SEI MTEL.
  • Pass all required courses.
  • Pre-Practicum — Successfully complete program-specific hours in diverse settings (0 credit)
  • EDU704    Practicum Readiness (1 credit)
  • Submit Practicum Application and Placement Approval Forms.
SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) Content License Endorsement Course
SEI 605 3 credit(s)
This Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Content License Endorsement Course is designed for educator licensure candidates in all core academic areas, to prepare them to address the needs, and build on the multilingual and multicultural assets, of a diverse and ever-changing student population in Massachusetts. The course is a key element of the Massachusetts RETELL initiative (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners). RETELL also includes statewide implementation of the WIDA ELD (English Language Development) standards, and the WIDA-ACCESS assessment tools. Participants will be introduced to ELD standard and WIDA tools, and will practice applying research-based SEI instructional strategies as they teach their content to English language learners (ELLs). They will also be introduced to a variety of professional growth opportunities to prepare them to extend their learning by making SEI the focus of professional practice within the new educator evaluation process.
Practicum Readiness
EDU 704 1 credit(s)

This course is specifically designed to determine readiness for the practicum. It will assist the teacher candidate to develop his/her skills to be ready to assume the role of student teacher from the first day of practicum. Students will understand the requirements of CAP by engaging in and completing the forms for each of the "essentials" and completing their own goals. All of the Tevera components, other than the practicum documents, will be completed. MTELs will be completed. Those having difficulty with the MTELs will be directed for support. Fieldwork assignments will be required.

Practicum & Seminar

The practicum (preK-8) is 300 hours in an inclusive general education setting or 75 hours in an inclusive general education setting and 225 in a separate or substantially separate setting for students with moderate disabilities.

Guided and evaluated by a licensed/certified special educator in the classroom and by a licensed/certified Cambridge College supervisor.  Practicum locations are subject to ESE regulations and must be discussed with the program chair and approved by the pre-practicum/practicum coordinator.

Practicum: Special Education (PreK-8) 300 hours
ESP 794A 2 credit(s)
14-week supervised field experience of a minimum of 300 hours in which candidates demonstrate proficiency in meeting the Professional Standards for Teachers. The practicum must meet the hours and setting requirements for the license sought, under the guidance of a supervising practitioner with the appropriate license, with Cambridge College supervision. Assessment follows the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) and assesses ability with respect to: well-structured lessons, high expectations, meeting diverse needs, adjustment to practice, safe learning environment, professional culture/reflective practice, as well as formative assessment, differentiation and providing academic feedback. Artifacts are uploaded into an Exit Portfolio. An Application to Practicum is required.
Practicum Seminar: Special Education
ESP 791 2 credit(s)

Practicum required concurrently: ESP790 A/B. The seminar, based on the Professional Standards for Teachers in Massachusetts and those of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), provides opportunities for classroom experience and supports students' growth as they assume the teaching role. Candidates receive feedback on lesson plans, and develop instructional practice by analyzing case studies, engaging in role play and viewing of instructor-selected video tapes that depict examples of practice. Candidates upload required key assessments into an Exit Portfolio in TaskStream.

ABA Course Sequence

Students must complete all special education foundation courses including the Practicum and Practicum Seminar prior to entering into the ABA course sequence. Exceptions must be approved by ABA program chair. Consultation with ABA program chair required before entering the ABA course sequence.

Courses must be taken in the order delineated here.

Timely completion of ABA course sequence: ABA coursework, including supervision and fieldwork, are specifically aligned with current BACB standards and its corresponding edition of the BCBA exam. Standards and exam are subject to change, therefore timely completion is essential.

In a student's second spring term, the following course must be taken alongside ABA 718:

  • ABA 719 - Behavioral Interventions
Basic Applied Behavior Analysis I
ABA 715A 4 credit(s)

The course introduces the science of behavior analysis, and the basic concepts and principles of behavior analysis (e.g., reinforcement, punishment). It includes the philosophical underpinnings of the science of behavior analysis including goals, philosophical assumptions, dimensions of applied behavior analysis, radical behaviorism, experimental analysis of behavior, and professional practice. This course is a prerequisite for all other ABA courses in the sequence. The course will provide credit hours towards eligibility for the behavior analysis certification examination.

Basic Applied Behavior Analysis II
ABA 715B 4 credit(s)

The course introduces the science of behavior analysis, and the basic concepts and principles of behavior analysis (e.g., reinforcement, punishment). It includes the philosophical underpinnings of the science of behavior analysis including goals, philosophical assumptions, dimensions of applied behavior analysis, radical behaviorism, experimental analysis of behavior, and professional practice. This course is a prerequisite for all other ABA courses in the sequence. The course will provide credit hours towards eligibility for the behavior analysis certification examination.

Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis
ABA 726 3 credit(s)

This course prepares students for the ethical and professional practice of Applied Behavior Analysis. Students will learn the importance of ethical conduct as it relates to the professional practice of tasks identified in the Fifth Edition Task List. Students will learn about the foundations of ethical and professional behavior to endure a high quality of practice in both behavior analysis and education in general. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Professional and Ethical Code for Behavior Analysts will be reviewed and discussed in detail. This course provides credit hours towards eligibility for the behavior analysis certification examination.

Behavior Assessment
ABA 716 3 credit(s)

This course reviews basic concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), building upon knowledge learned in Basic ABA I. An emphasis will be placed on the application of concepts and principles to real world situations.

Research Methods in Applied Behavioral Analysis
ABA 718 3 credit(s)

This course focuses on research design and study of human behavior. Students will learn about the characteristics of science and the rationale for having behavior as a focus. Students will be exposed to issues related to measurement, specific research designs, and important issues (such as variability) associated with the designs. How to accurately interpret research data from a variety of research experiments will also be discussed. The course will explore related issues relevant to identifying functional relations among environmental and behavioral variables in behavior analysis. This course provides credit hours toward educational qualifications required to sit for the behavior analysis certification exam.

Behavior Interventions
ABA 717 4 credit(s)

Contemporary developments and issues in ABA including behavior change strategies, recent developments in ABA, generalization and ethical use of treatment methodologies are addressed. This course if part of the educational qualifications required to sit for the behavior analysis certification examination.

Supervision and Management in Applied Behavior Analysis
ABA 722 3 credit(s)

This course helps prepare students for management and supervisory positions within the field of applied behavior analysis. The course provides students with behavior analytics strategies for managing, supervising, and training personnel. The use of a functional assessment approach and function-based strategies, along with performance monitoring and feedback, will be reviewed. This course also includes a review of several behavior-change procedures. This course is based on the BACB®'s Task List (Fifth Edition).

ABA Fluency Seminar
ABA 721 1 credit(s)

This one-credit course is designed to strengthen students’ ability to demonstrate key core knowledge competencies in the field of applied behavior analysis. During the course of the term, students will engage in a number of fluency-based instructional activities that will enable them to demonstrate knowledge in all of the BCBA task list content areas. Students will be required to practice these skills both during class sessions and via software specifically designed to support fluency training and competence demonstration. Students must demonstrate proficiency in each of the task list content areas in order to successfully pass this course, and pass a comprehensive final exam.

Program Chair

ABA Faculty

ABA faculty are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). Other faculty listed on this page teach other programs/courses in the School of Education.

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor


  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students)

Program Requirements

Applicants to the MEd programs that include the ABA course sequence must meet the requirements below before they may begin the ABA coursework.

  • Active employment in a relevant, related field with at least one year of experience in a ABA-based treatment setting.
  • Be working with or supervised by certified BCBA personnel. (Supervisor name and contact information must be submitted and verified upon program entry.)

Applicants must be prepared to pursue timely completion of the ABA course sequence, given that the sequence aligns with a particular edition of the exam approved by the national Behavior Analyst Certifying Board.

Health Requirements for Massachusetts Students 

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.


School Requirements

International Students 

International students need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit 

Please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more about transferring credits.



  • Credits for Licensure:
  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $3,940 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.)
  • Internship/Practicum Fee:

Note: Rates are as of July, 2022, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

Take the Next Step Toward Your Master's Degree in Special Education