Graduate Online Program Early Intervention Special Education

Elementary Class

Early Intervention Special Education Master's Degree Overview

Portland State University's Early Intervention Special Education (EISE) online program prepares students to become licensed early intervention/special education teachers and includes an embedded master's degree.

Presented in a convenient online format, our early intervention special education program offers a high-touch, interpersonal approach that's hard to find in an online program. You'll enjoy the independence of distance learning, while belonging to a supportive community and getting plenty of personal attention from faculty based in Portland, Oregon.

Who the Program is For:
The early intervention special education master's program prepares you to serve young children (ages 0 to 5) who have disabilities or other special needs. The program is designed both for new teachers seeking a preliminary teaching license with a Special Education: Early Intervention endorsement, and licensed teachers who want to add an early intervention endorsement or special education master's degree.

Degree Details

  • M
    Delivery Method
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Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Early Intervention Special Education Master's Degree: Why PSU?

Portland State's online master's degree program in early intervention special education gives you the opportunity to: Build supportive relationships. Portland State encourages supportive communities by using a cohort model and an easy-to-use online platform. You'll have frequent, ongoing contact with your classmates, developing the spirit of collaboration and support you'd normally expect from an in-person program. Work closely with faculty. Our leading faculty designed the online master's program in early intervention special education and teach all the courses. You'll enjoy regular one-on-one interaction with faculty, and you won't have to fight for their attention. Develop practical skills. In this hands-on program, you'll practice applied techniques that get proven results. You'll acquire new skills for helping children with special needs under the age of 6 to reach their maximum potential. Get supervised field experience. Our online EISE program includes a field placement in an early childhood special ed setting. You'll gain experience in a classroom or home environment. In addition, our online early intervention special education program provides you with specialized training to work with students and families from diverse backgrounds.

What can I do with an online Master's degree in Early Intervention Special Education?

Early intervention special educators work with infants and toddlers (birth to age 3) who are experiencing developmental delays or disabilities. EISE professionals help to narrow a child's developmental gaps before they reach school age, so they’re better equipped to thrive once they enter the school population.

Here are some of the most common EISE career opportunities:

  • Home visitor. As the job title suggests, home visitors work with children and families in their own residences. “Many children respond best when they receive early intervention special education in a familiar environment,” says Hix. “It’s also a good setting for parents and siblings to participate and learn how to provide positive reinforcement.” You may be employed through a Head Start program, social service agency, or educational service district if you work as a home visitor.
  • Itinerant teacher. As an itinerant teacher, you’ll travel to preschools, early learning centers, and other sites to work with individual students outside their regular classroom setting. In addition to providing one-on-one instruction, you’ll coordinate EISE services with the child’s regular teacher, parents, other caregivers, and (in some cases) specialists such as speech therapists or occupational therapists.
  • Classroom teacher. EISE classroom teachers help children with special needs adjust to more formal school environments. “You need a wide range of skills in this role,” says Lori Kellogg, principal of the Tualatin Early Childhood Center. “There’s a lot of group supervision, but you’re also frequently working with children individually and in small groups. If you lead a classroom you’ll play a critical role in helping children learn to socialize, follow routines, and gain a sense of independence.
  • Evaluation specialist. Program evaluators measure outcomes and provide feedback to EISE teachers and administrators. In this role, you’ll conduct frequent testing to track children’s progress, while gathering additional data through observations and interviews. Evaluators spend a good bit of their time working on databases, procedures manuals, and paperwork.
  • Training instructor/researcher. As a relatively new field with a growing workforce, EISE offers broad opportunities for training and research. Most faculty of Portland State University’s online EISE master’s program engage in one or both of these pursuits, so you may find opportunities to sample these activities while you’re enrolled in the program.

Featured Courses

Prerequisite Courses: These courses must have been completed within seven years prior to beginning of the program.

  • PSY 460: Child Development
  • SPED 418/518: Survey of Exceptional Children

Core Courses 

Take the following courses:

  • CI 571 Play: Curriculum in Early Childhood Education
  • SPED 506 Culminating Project
  • SPED 507 Student Teaching Seminar
  • SPED 509 Prac I: Supervised Field Experience ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education)
  • SPED 509 Prac II: Supervised Field Experience EI (Early Intervention)
  • SPED 520 Collaboration I: Families and Community - EL and EI/ECSE
  • SPED 525 Student Teaching EI/ECSE
  • SPED 579 Literacy EI/ECSE
  • SPED 580 Introduction to Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education
  • SPED 581 Family Guided Early Intervention
  • SPED 582 Specialized Techniques: Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education
  • SPED 583 Communication and Language Development: EI/ECSE
  • SPED 584 Assessment: EI/ECSE
  • SPED 585 Instructional Strategies I: EI/ECSE
  • SPED 586 Instructional Strategies II: EI/ECSE
  • SPED 596 Research in Evidence-based Practices in Special Education
  • SPED 597 Inclusive Early Childhood Models


    Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

    U.S. News & World Report ranks the Portland State College of Education among the nation's top education schools.

    Portland State's College of Education is the first educator preparation program in Oregon, the first on the West Coast, and one of the first 10 in the nation, to be fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). 

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