Special education courses

Empower students who have diverse learning needs

Help me choose a course

Introduction to Special education

Are you ready for a meaningful career in inclusive education? 

With the online special education courses on this page, you can gain the skills required to work as a special education teacher or aide. You will also find postgraduate courses designed to upskill you as a current educator.  

Browse special education teaching courses that will prepare you for work in primary, secondary and adult education settings. You can even specialise in an area such as autism studies or mental health support if you have your heart set on a particular role. 

All courses are flexible, online and delivered by leading universities, which means you will learn from the best in the field. This is your chance to make an impact; to ensure that all students have access to the education they deserve.  

Explore special education courses
Open Universities Australia student, Louise, standing in front of a whiteboard.
Louise studied education with Curtin University through Open Universities Australia

Discover special education courses

Online special education subjects and short courses

University of New England


Technology for Inclusion

100% online

No ATAR required. Start with a subject.

University of New England


The Twice Exceptional Student

100% online

No ATAR required. Start with a subject.

View all subjects

Online special education degrees

University of Tasmania

Drive students to succeed in the classroom

100% online

6 months full time or part time equivalent

No ATAR required. Start with a subject.

Griffith University


Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies

Bring a whole-of-life approach to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

100% online

6 months full time or part time equivalent

University of Southern Queensland

Advance your career and make a real impact in education

100% online

Approx. 1.5 years full time or part time equivalent

Torrens University Australia

Delve into contemporary learning practices for unique learners

100% online

2 years full time or part time equivalent

View all bachelor degrees

Discover 38 ways to study special education with leading Australian universities.

Explore special education courses

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Our student advisors are here to guide you with expert advice on:

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  • Understanding your funding options

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Special education study FAQs

What is special education?

Special education is a style of teaching that caters to students living with disability, learning difficulties or behavioural challenges. It also caters to gifted students with advanced academic abilities. Special education teachers understand how to tailor learning programs to meet students’ individual challenges and needs. 

You may also see this specialisation referred to as inclusive education or special needs education.  

Why should I study special education?

You should study special education if you’re passionate about helping students reach their full potential, no matter their circumstances. This is a career where you can make a real difference in someone’s education, whether you work in a classroom environment or beyond. Your involvement could give a student the autonomy they need to flourish academically. You will also empower families to navigate school life and advocate for their child’s unique learning needs, which can be its own reward.   

Why should I study special education online?

There are advantages to earning your special education qualification online, especially if you are already a teacher.

You can focus on expanding your professional expertise in your spare time, without interrupting your career. Most of the courses available on this page are theoretical, which means it isn’t necessary to be in a classroom to learn the material. You’re free to watch video lectures and complete classwork when it suits you, provided you meet the regular deadlines.

If your course does involve a professional placement, this can be organised in your local area at a date that suits you.

Why should I study online through Open Universities Australia?

There are a lot of reasons to study your course online through us.

  • You have total control over how you study
    Upskill without committing to a whole degree upfront. Or enrol in a full degree, but take it a subject at a time. We help you access flexible study options you didn’t even know about, so you can fit uni around what matters to you.
  • You’ll graduate with the same qualification as an on-campus student
    While you enrol through us, you will study online with the university that provides your degree. So you can rest assured that you’ll graduate with the same qualification as an on-campus student. In fact, your certificate won't even mention our name. We're just here to make all that tricky uni administration easier.
  • We’ll help you navigate the university world
    Our friendly student advisors will be your guide every step of the enrolment journey. They'll help you compare universities, choose a course, provide documentation and understand your finance options.
Which special education course is right for me?

It depends where you are in your career now, and where you hope to be. We recommend taking our 2-minute quiz to get matched with inclusive teaching courses that are most suitable for your goals, education history and work history.

But here’s a quick guide that should help.  

If you would like to work as an education aide, then a short undergraduate qualification may make the most sense, because you will gain the core skills you need to support classroom teachers with non-teaching duties. Consider an undergraduate certificate or associate degree in education support

Want to qualify as a special education teacher? Consider a Bachelor of Special and Inclusive Education, which is the only special needs degree that can lead to teacher registration. 

And if you’re already a teacher who wants to gain experience in special education, browse a postgraduate option. Graduate certificates allow you to upskill within six months, while a masters degree is your chance to research an area of personal interest. 

What careers can you pursue in special education?

With a qualification in special and inclusive education, you can pursue several different career opportunities. 

Pathways include: 

  • Special and inclusive education teaching
  • Developmental education
  • Teaching support
  • Early childhood intervention work
  • Policy and administration
  • Educational leadership
  • Community or disability support 

Please note that special education courses alone rarely lead to teacher registration. Most of the courses listed here are designed to get you into non-teaching roles, or to enhance an existing teaching qualification. If you would like to become a teacher, you should explore a Bachelor of Education first.  

How do I know if I’m eligible to apply for a course?

Before starting an enrolment, it’s important to read the entry requirements for your chosen course to ensure that you’re eligible to apply. If you don’t quite meet the requirements, we may be able to help you gain entry through prior study or work experience. Chat with us to find out more.

How do I enrol?

Here at Open Universities Australia, we make enrolling online as straightforward as possible. To get started, find the course for you by browsing the options on this page. You can also compare different qualifications using our handy comparison tool, or request help from one of our student advisors.

When you’ve made your choice, click ‘Apply now’ on the relevant course page and follow the prompts to begin your enrolment. We’ll ask you to supply some supporting documentation, including proof of your identity, your tax file number, and a unique student identifier (USI) during this process.

Your university will get in touch with you via email to confirm whether or not your application has been successful.

Please note that enquiries and applications for some courses are handled directly by the university. If this is the case, it will be indicated on the course listing page.  

For more information about enrolment, read our online self-service enrolling instructions. If you get stuck at any time, reach out to us and we’ll talk you through it.

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