Program overview

The 100% online Teacher of Students with Disabilities (TOSD) Certificate and Master of Arts in Special Education programs are designed to prepare certified teachers to teach students with special needs in a variety of settings. You'll develop the confidence and expertise to positively impact students' lives and provide necessary support for students and their families.

Program highlights

The 100% online program is designed to fit the schedules of working educators. 

Program features

  • Online learning communities with academic and technical support from Rider faculty
  • Examination of disability classifications and characteristics of learners
  • Identification of Evidence Based Practices to support learners with disabilities
  • Research in current issues and practice in special education
  • Integration of theory and practice through field experiences and applications
  • National accreditation and recognition
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
  • Augmentative and Assistive Technology (AAT)
  • Support for students with disabilities in transition to adult life

Curriculum requirements

A pathway to three professional qualifications

Upon completion of the Teacher of Students with Disabilities Certificate program, teachers need only three additional courses to complete the M.A. in Special Education program. Upon completion of the master's program, teachers need only three additional courses to earn the Reading Specialist Certificate. Please note the New Jersey Department of Education has proposed changes to the reading specialist certification requirements. If these changes are approved, students in the reading specialist program may need to complete the program and apply to the NJ Department of Education for the Reading Specialist Endorsement by August 31, 2025. If you have any questions, contact your academic advisor.

A teacher helping a student with special needs.

Alumni success

Student stories are the best testament to the value of a Rider education.

David Eggert '18, '20 (B.A. in elementary education, M.A. in special education)

“The Masters of Arts in Special Education program has truly transformed the way I instruct and assess students in the classroom. From cross-cutting concepts to real world applications, I feel that the research, application, and real-world experience of faculty enhance the educational program for all students. I have found that when we moved to online instruction was as engaging and supportive as the face to face classroom!” 

Teacher and student

Tuition benefits for state employees

Rider University is proud to partner with The State of New Jersey and give back to educators by offering a tuition discount and additional benefits to eligible employees, as well as their immediate family members under the age of 24, for undergraduate or graduate study. Other partners include Lawrence Township Public Schools, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District and Ewing Public Schools. 


Frequently asked questions

For more information, please see the special education handbook (PDF).

Accelerate your master's degree

Our undergraduate accelerated option makes it possible to earn both your bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree in less time. Rider students pursuing the accelerated option work closely with an academic advisor to develop a personal education plan for completing their degrees. Contact your faculty advisor to learn more about this accelerated learning opportunity.


Diane Casale-Giannola


Department of Teacher Education

Bierenbaum Fisher Hall

dgiannola [at]


Academic Focus: Undergraduate Teacher Education

Education building with flowers in front of it.