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Master'sEducation, Intervention Specialist

Master of Arts in Education (Intervention Specialist – Initial License)

The Master of Arts in Education (Intervention Specialist — Initial License) allows ambitious adults to prepare to earn their initial Ohio state license as an Intervention Specialist for Mild/Moderate (ISM) Disabilities — the first teaching license in special education. While ISM students complete the coursework completely online, the hands-on curriculum emphasizes fieldwork, and during their first year, students will be placed in the classroom to utilize their knowledge and work toward the number of classroom hours required to apply for their license.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University bases the curriculum around the core courses for the M.A.Ed degree — named the Best Online Master’s in Education in 2018 by Affordable Colleges Online. Yet, the ISM master’s degree is specifically geared toward working adults who have already earned a bachelor’s but have not yet earned their teaching license and have an interest in working with students with mild-to-moderate disabilities.

Program Details

In preparing students to work as intervention specialists, the ISM program is based on MVNU’s cohort model. Students learn in a Christ-centered environment that prioritizes relationship building, and courses are taught by seasoned professional faculty members with years of experience not only as educators or administrators but also working with this unique student population.

By the program’s completion, ISM students are eligible for Ohio licensure and should have gained the pedagogical skills and methods to develop course content, curriculum, and teaching strategies and to implement and evaluate Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for students grades K-12.

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Fill out the form below and an enrollment counselor will contact you.


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Online M.A.Ed (Intervention Specialist — Initial License) Curriculum

All ISM students must complete


credit hours, which begin with the standard M.A.Ed curriculum. Most students complete the ISM program in 27 months or 2.5 years, although based on Ohio licensing requirements, all coursework must be completed within six (6) years from the first day of enrollment.

ISM Curriculum Credit Hours
Introduction to Graduate Studies 1
History & Philosophy (Chalk & Wire Fee) 2
Educational Psychology (CAEP Fee) 3
Instructional Design & Effective Teaching 3
Inclusion & Inclusive Practice 3
Inclusive Practices Field Experience* 2
Classroom Management & Behavior Analysis 3
Content Area Reading (CAEP Fee) 3
Diagnostic Assessment & Progress Monitoring 2
Multiculturalism in Education 2
Urban/Diverse Field Experience 2
Technology for Educators 2
Leadership & Ethical Practice 2
Action Research 2
Individualized Instructional Strategies: Reading & Language 3
Individualized Instructional Strategies: Mathematics 3
Professional Practices in Intervention Services 3
Exceptional Learners Field Experience* 2
Instructional Design II 1
Student Teaching Seminar 1
Student Teaching* 9
Total Program Hours 54

**Class involves a Clinical Course fee, which is applied to stipends provided to P-12 Cooperating Teachers, University Supervisors, and Portfolio Assessors.

Through the ISM program, M.A.Ed students complete 15 credit hours of field and clinical experience, which fulfills the classroom requirement to become a licensed intervention specialist. Hours are scheduled individually during the day, around students’ and schools’ schedules.

All coursework, field experience, and student teaching must be completed with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. To fully complete the ISM program, students must also pass Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) Special Education — 043, Foundations of Reading – 090, and Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Multi-Age — 004; complete their field experience in multiple education settings, where they work with a range of ages, abilities, disability types, and student populations; and pass a BCII background check.

As a note, the ISM master’s program prepares students to earn the state’s first teaching license in special education, but students may need to take additional courses for licensure, including in reading or certain undergraduate subjects. After finishing the program, students must earn their initial Intervention Specialist for Mild/Moderate (ISM) Disabilities license within three (3) years.

Through a combination of online courses and field experience, the ISM program covers universal learning design, decision making based on data or behavioral assessments, effective instructional practices, and writing IEPs. Program content is based around students with special academic or social adjustment needs. ISM students will learn to:

  • Diagnose students’ skills and competencies in relation to their academic and social needs
  • Design instructional content for these students
  • Manage and assess students’ behavior and interactions relative to their learning environment


If you do not already have a teaching license and want to work in intervention, this is the degree for you. Click the pre-recorded webinar link below to hear directly from the program coordinator about program structure, length to complete and cost. You will also learn more about next steps and how to connect with our enrollment team.

Careers in Special Education

  • Based on figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for special education teachers is predicted to remain steady between now and 2028. Within the state of Ohio, 615 school districts and over 1,000 private schools require instructors to assist with creating, implementing, and following students’ IEP plans. 15.7% of all Ohio students require IEPs — higher than the national average.

  • MVNU students pursuing an education career in Ohio must pass two OAE exams — one pedagogy related and the Content Assessment: Special Education test — before applying for their initial teacher license, called a Resident Educator License. This license lasts for four years, and during that time, teachers receive mentorship and professional development through the Resident Educator Program. Upon completing the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA), teachers have the opportunity to submit an application for a Professional Educator License (PEL), which is then in effect for five years.

Financial Aid & Program Costs

Online M.A.Ed (Intervention Specialist — Initial License) Tuition

Cost Per Credit Credit Hours Required Total Tuition
$498 54 $29,107

Students interested in the ISM program need to be aware of additional costs related to coursework and licensing and budget accordingly:

  • Textbooks and supplies
  • Any additional reading or undergraduate courses required for licensure
  • BCII/FBI background checks ($50-$60)
  • Ohio Educator Assessments ($115-$139 per exam)
  • Membership in a professional education organization ($25-$100)
  • Ohio teaching license application ($160 for 4-year, Resident Educator License)

Tuition Guarantee

MVNU bases the online M.A.Ed (Intervention Specialist — Initial License) degree around the aspirations and schedules of working adults. Beyond the online format and affordable overall cost, we reinforce this notion with our tuition guarantee. All Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) courses are based on a per-credit, course-by-course rate, allowing you to pay as you progress. During your time here, MVNU won’t increase the per-credit cost, provided you make satisfactory academic progress and remain enrolled without interruption.

Financial Aid

All adult students applying to MVNU have a range of financial aid options available. As a starting spot, students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form with their application to access the full scope of solutions. As well, students may want to inquire about tuition reimbursement programs through their employer. Explore all financing options available to graduate students.


Online education puts personal and professional goals within reach, and online learners find the flexibility needed to complete or continue their education with financial aid support to make degrees more affordable. Learn how online degree programs can take your career to the next level with The Ultimate Online College Guide.


Learn More About the Online M.A.Ed (Intervention Specialist — Initial License) Degree!

If you’ve thought about a career working with special education students, start working toward your goal with MVNU’s Online M.A.Ed (Intervention Specialist — Initial License) degree. To learn more about the program, fill out a request for information form, or if you’ve reviewed all admission requirements, start working on your online application.