School of Education & Counseling

Autism Specialist (Puerto Rico)  Master of Education

As more and more students are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), autism specialists are changing lives in general education and special education. This Puerto Rico-based program answers the growing need for more understanding and better preparation for those working with students with severe disabilities. The course is offered as a mix of on-campus classes and online (asynchronous) classwork.

Puerto Rico
30 - 39 Credits
Starts September 3, 2024


Learn more about modalities >>


Program Overview for Autism Specialist MEd

This program prepares students to make a difference in the lives of those with ASD. It offers opportunities to personalize learning with flexible study options for working professionals who want to become Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialists.

Designed to help experienced teachers and para-professionals enhance their working knowledge of the field, this program also provides for exploration of new opportunities afforded with this knowledge.

This program does not lead to BACB certification.

Program Highlights for Autism Specialist MEd

It's time to advance your education and career. The Autism Specialist degree at Cambridge College Puerto Rico is a flexible, hands-on program designed to fit your busy schedule.

  • Language: All classes are taught in Spanish and coursework is in Spanish and English.
  • Personalized learning opportunities: Specialize your course of study through an independent learning project that enhances your preparedness as a professional educator.
  • Flexible, hybrid program: Four classes per term are taught on-campus, typically on weekends; the rest of the classwork is completed online (asynchronously). This allows you to earn your master’s degree while balancing work and family time.
  • Great location: Our classroom location in Puerto Rico is close to public transportation and provides year-round free parking for students.
  • Experienced faculty: Work closely with top faculty who bring extensive research experience and expertise in autism spectrum disorders to the program.
  • Exceptional value: As one of the most affordable four-year private nonprofit colleges, Cambridge College enables you to save on tuition.

Autism Specialist Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Autism Specialist master’s program will have a strong understanding of autism, behavioral issues and severe special needs. Required courses cover a broad range of topics, including:

  • Assistive technologies and federal laws pertaining to special education
  • Current research in childhood development
  • Behavior management, assessing and managing communication disorders and social skills intervention
  • Teaching and curriculum development for students with autism and other disabilities

Autism Specialist MEd Tuition Information

Cost Per Credit
Total Program Tuition
Puerto Rico
Cost Per Credit$344
Credits* 30 - 39 credits
Total Program Tuition $10,320 - $13,416

*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.

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

This program is for recertification by the Puerto Rico Department of Education. Prior valid Puerto Rico teacher certification in another area is required.

This program satisfies the licensure requirements for public and private schools (K-12).

Careers for Autism Specialists

Special education teachers and teachers who work with children with autism earn an average annual salary of about $62,950*, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational therapists, many of whom work with children with autism, earn about $93,180 per year.**

In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that approximately 1 in 36 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.


Median salary for teachers who work with children with autism*


Median salary for occupational therapists**

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Special Education Teachers, (visited Nov. 13, 2023).
**Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Therapists, (visited Nov. 13, 2023). 

Jobs for Autism Specialists

Autism spectrum disorder specialists find opportunities in a wide range of educational settings. Among other professional roles, they serve as:

  • Teachers
  • School therapists
  • Student aides

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

Faculty Spotlight

Julio A. Martinez-Sierra

Julio A. Martinez-Sierra


Program Chair and Senior Instructor

Dr. Martinez-Sierra was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He studied at the University of Puerto Rico for a Bachelor's Degree in Business Education, Minors in Drama, and Occupational Therapy. He has two Master’s Degrees. The first one is in Bilingual Special Education from Fordham University in New York City and the second one is in School Management and Supervision from Phoenix University, Puerto Rico Branch. He completed his Doctoral Degree in Special Education Management from Interamerican...