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Welcome to PhDinSpecialEducation.com – your complete guide to online PhD in special education programs. We offer information about how to earn your degree online, what schools offer the program you seek, and what to expect once enrolled. To help you find answers to commonly asked questions, we’ve created a helpful introduction below.
- What should I look for in a special education graduate program?
- What specializations are available in this field?
- How do I become certified in special education?
- What are the benefits of getting a PhD in special education?
- What other special education resources are there online?
What should I look for in a special education graduate program?
A graduate program in special education is designed to prepare students for leadership and administrative positions. Many schools offer a PhD in special education, but each school is unique in its approach to teaching and learning. The degree program you choose should be accreddited, should prepare you for licensure and to pass all required exams, and ought to provide opportunities for specialization in areas that interest you.
The following schools and programs are some of those which meet these requirements:
Grand Canyon University
University of Southern California
What specializations are available in this field?
Different schools offer varying areas of specialization, so researching what programs are available at each school is important before enrolling. With the vast number of special needs, these specialty areas allow for more research and study into a particular area. Some specialties that may be offered include:
|Curriculum and Instruction||Prepares graduates to manage and lead processes related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment in special education.|
|Special Education Leadership||Provides a strong foundation in educational administration, along with focused course work in special education administration, instructional strategies, curriculum development, law, and finance.|
|Gifted Education||Designed to equip teachers and administrators with an understanding of the unique needs of gifted students and how to develop appropriate curriculum and assessment activities.|
|Exceptional Student||Prepares teachers to work in programs serving Pre-K-12 students with disabilities that cover a wide range of issues from autism spectrum disorders, developmental, and/or cognitive delay.|
|Visual Impairments||Prepares teachers to acquire the necessary assessment, instructional, and consultation skills for working with students with visual impairments as well as with their families.|
|High-Incidence Disabilities (M.S.E.)||Provides training in working with students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and mild intellectual disabilities.|
|Autism Spectrum Disorders||Trains educators on the characteristics and etiology of autism, assessment and instructional programming for communication, social skills, family, and community collaboration.|
|General Special Education||Prepares graduates to work with students with a variety of disabilities ranging from mild to severe as well as how to instruct and support children with special needs.|
How do I become certified in special education?
In order to work in special education, you must be licensed through the state in which you work. These requirements for certification vary by state, and many require teachers to complete annual courses in order to keep their license current. If you are interested in working with multiple disabilities, many states offer a special education license that allows this. The chart below illustrates the different paths one can take to become certified in special education:
|Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education||State-issued certification or license in special education|
|Master’s Degree in Special Education||State-issued certification or license in special education (if student entered program without a bachelor’s degree in special education and/or a non-education field)|
|Master’s Degree in Special Education with Endorsement||State-issued certification or license in special education (if student entered program without a bachelor’s degree in special education and/or a non-education field) with endorsement in area of specialty|
|MA/Education – Special Education (non-licensure)||A generic master of education degree for special education teachers, which does not lead to licensure in any area|
|MEd in Special Education (No IR, No Cert)||Not Eligible for Institutional Recommendation/Non-Credential is designed for those interested in special education, but who must postpone student teaching, or who does not choose to seek a teaching certificate.|
|PhD in Special Education||Certification or license can be obtained at the PhD level, depending on the program and its requirements|
What are the benefits of getting a PhD in special education?
A PhD in special education prepares students to hold leadership positions in research-based settings or work as an educator in schools, colleges, or universities. Some may even fill positions within local, state, or national agencies. In additional to the career perks, other benefits of earning your PhD include:
You’ll become an expert in your field with advanced training and specialized experience to help individuals with a variety of disabilities and needs.
- You may qualify for research positions at a college or university that can lead to a tenured position.
- You’re more likely to find a career developing new techniques and new ideas for curricula that cover a wide range of topics related to special education and early intervention.
- You can become a consultant that focuses on helping other educators and agencies improve their instruction and ultimately, the achievement and motivation of their students.
- You can start your own practice that helps individuals with special needs and their families navigate the emotionally and sometimes physically demanding process of a disability.
What other special education resources are there online?
If you’re interested in learning more about special education degree programs as well as developments in the field, we’ve listed a few helpful resources that cover a wide variety of topics. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and news.
- Our Online Handbook for Special Needs Parenting: This handbook offers resources for parents at every stage of the journey of caring for their special needs children.
- A PhD in Special Education – An Overview and Resource Guide: This article answers any lingering questions about PhD programs in special education as well as how to navigate the admissions process and explore financial aid choices.
- Top Special Needs Resources on the Web: The sites listed in this article offer new perspectives and insights on what education should be like for those with special needs.
- Noteworthy Sites on Asperger’s and the Autism Spectrum: Here you’ll find a list of resources to help better understand autism spectrum disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, and other relevant disorders.
- How to Support Special Needs Students: Our guide offers a list of tips and resources to help special education teachers be effective as possible with their students.