School of Education & Counseling

Autism Specialist  Master of Education

Teachers in general education and special education today are working with more and more students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This program answers the growing need for more understanding and better preparation for those working with students with severe disabilities.

31 Credits
Starts September 3, 2024


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autism specialist

MEd Autism Specialist Program Overview

With approximately 1 in 36 children identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many educators are looking to to make a difference in the lives of those with ASD. The MEd Autism Specialist program offers opportunities to personalize learning with flexible study options for working professionals who want to become specialists in autism.

This program is designed to help experienced teachers and para-professionals by enhancing their working knowledge of the field. It also provides for exploration of new opportunities afforded with this knowledge.

This is not a licensure program and does not lead to Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) certification.

Autism Specialist Program Highlights

Take the next step in your education and career. The Autism Specialist degree at Cambridge College is a flexible, hands-on program designed for busy, working adults.

  • Personalized learning opportunities: Specialize your course of study through an independent learning project that enhances your preparedness as a professional educator.
  • Flexible class schedules: Balance education with work and family time with the help of flexible, convenient classes. Courses are taught in a mix of scheduled, interactive remote (Zoom) classes held on evenings and weekends, and online (asynchronous) classes and assignments you do on your own time.
  • Experienced faculty: Work closely with top faculty who bring extensive research experience and expertise in autism spectrum disorders to the program.
  • Exceptional value: Save on tuition at one of the most affordable private nonprofit colleges in the nation.
  • No GMAT required: Get started on your master’s degree—Cambridge College does not require standardized graduate school tests for admission into non-licensure programs.

“Cambridge College has educated me to be uniquely equipped to succeed.”

Kristen Schaer
Cambridge College Graduate, Class of 2017

Autism Specialist Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Autism Specialist Master of Education program will have a deeper understanding of autism, behavioral issues and severe special needs. The program covers a broad range of topics, including:

  • Assistive technologies and federal laws about special education
  • Latest childhood development research
  • Assessing and managing communication disorders, social skills intervention and behavior management
  • Teaching and curriculum development for students with disabilities, including autism

Autism Specialist Tuition Information

Cost Per Credit
Total Program Tuition
Cost Per Credit$639
Credits* 31 credits
Total Program Tuition $19,809

*See curriculum sheet for a breakdown of credits and credit ranges.

Prospective graduate degree students for programs in the School of Education & Counseling must satisfy the following requirements plus any program-specific requirements your program may have.

  1. Complete and sign the online application.
  2. Pay the application fee. Pay your $50 ($100 for international students) application fee by the term start date.
  3. Send official transcripts. Maildirectly to Cambridge College in a sealed, unopened envelope. Learn How to Send Transcripts. Required degrees must be from accredited colleges or universities.
    • Master's and most graduate certificate programs require an earned bachelor's degree.
    • Post-master's certificates and CAGS require an earned master's degree.
    • International transcripts must be translated and evaluated by an approved agency. See all international student requirements
  4. Send your résumé and work experience. Send your resume that details your education and work experience, including how they pertain to your career goals. If your SEC program has a work experience requirement, it will be listed in the Program-Specific Requirements section below.
  5. Submit your personal statement. Write a 500-word, typed, double-spaced essay describing your professional experience, goals and objectives for graduate study. How do you expect your graduate studies to enhance your future career?
  6. Include two professional recommendations (not required for fully online programs). These should address your professional character and ability to perform graduate work. Download Applicant Recommendation Form
  7. Interview (required for some programs). If your program requires an interview, it will be listed in the Program-Specific Requirements section below.
  8. Satisfy Health Insurance & Immunization requirements. (Massachusetts only). These are required only for graduate students taking six or more credits per term in Massachusetts through on-campus or hybrid classes. Health insurance may be waived.

Teacher Licensure Program Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed above, our Teacher Licensure Programs have these additional requirements:

  1. Earned bachelor's degree with 3.0 or higher GPA.
  2. MA Educator Documentation from the Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website. Keep copies of all documents submitted and, upon admission, post in your electronic portfolio:
    1. Massachusetts Educator Personnel ID (MEPID number)
    2. MTEL Communication & Literacy Test, successfully completed.

Required if completed:

  • Massachusetts preliminary license, if held
  • Sheltered English Instruction requirement
  • Fingerprinting and Criminal Offender Record Information

Applicants who do not initially meet all requirements (e.g. GPA of 3.0 or MTEL) for admission into their chosen licensure program must enroll in the corresponding non-licensure degree option. Students who achieve a 3.0 GPA upon completion of the first three SEC courses, pass the MTELs, and now meet all requirements, may request a change of program.

Disclosures: For all Licensure Programs

  • Licensure requirements are subject to change per Massachusetts regulations. All Cambridge College licensure programs are based on current regulations.
  • All candidates admitted for licensure programs must successfully complete the program in its entirety.
  • All requirements at the time of program completion must be finalized prior to seeking Massachusetts endorsement for licensure purposes.
  • If you have any licensure questions, please speak to your program chair.

Autism Specialist Careers and Salaries

Most careers for autism specialists are in traditional school settings, within school systems, and in private settings. The median pay for special education teachers across the U.S. was $65,910 in May 2023, reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 In Boston, the average salary is higher, at $70,864, with the range typically falling between $55,863 and $92,807.2

Opportunities also exist for full-time or supplemental jobs as a special education tutor. The average pay for a special education tutor in the U.S. is $26/hour with a range from $10.82 to $51.68/hour, according to ZipRecruiter.3


Average salary in Boston for special education teacher in July 2024.2


Average pay for a special education tutor in the U.S.3

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics., (viewed July 19, 2024).

2, (viewed July 19, 2024).

3 (viewed July 19, 2024).

Autism Specialist Jobs

Autism behavior specialists work in a wide range of educational settings. Jobs titles include:

  • Student aides
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Special education teacher
  • Special education tutor
  • Other professional roles

In addition to working directly with special needs students, autism specialists may also conduct assessments, submit recommendations and develop individualized care or education plans.