Why is Special Education Important?

Doctorate in Special Education

If you’re on our site researching PhD programs in special education, you know what special education is and why it’s so important. In fact, you’re so dedicated to the field you’re considering a PhD to take your education—and your career—to the next level.

But sometimes it’s important to remind yourself why you’ve chosen a career in special education, especially as you start to research doctoral programs. This page functions as a way to renew why one may believe special education to be so important and how to reinvigorate the interest in the profession before pursuing a PhD. We cover two key aspects of the field of special education:

Special education is an evolving profession, and given the current state of our country’s educational system, change is par for the course. Many states have cut special education funding due to budget shortfalls and tough economic conditions, which is incredibly unfortunate since these are often the students in the most need. By pursuing a PhD, individuals can work in higher level positions that can help to take back the funding these children need to get through school and lead the most productive lives possible.

The Need for Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers and administrators do a tremendous job, and their work is not to be understated. Special education is a necessary component of education. Schools need to serve all kids, which is why we rely on talented instructors, like you, to work with special needs students. There comes a point though when only so much work can be done in the classroom, which is why those with PhD’s are so crucial to developing innovative policies that drive education forward.

By earning a PhD in special education, you’ll be in a position to advocate for children with special needs and to support educators and administrators in your field. And that’s just one reason why special education is so important. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, special education is defined as “Specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.” The term “disability” encompasses a wide range of impairments, such as:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Deafness
  • Developmental delay
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Hearing impairment
  • Intellectual disability
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairment
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment, including blindness

We need special education instructors to help students with these disabilities as well as others that require a variety of accommodations. For example, a student with a traumatic brain injury requires unique support services in order to maximize their potential. Not all teachers are trained to provide such services and that’s why special education is essential. A general education teacher is not trained to work with students with special needs. A special education teacher is able to create a detailed and individualized education program for students who need them. These plans are meant to improve a student’s educational experience. Goals are set and modifications are made in order to facilitate success.

Current State of Special Education

Special education has changed over the years. New teaching methods, changing perspectives, and the emphasis on inclusion have shifted ideas and introduced new concepts. For special education teachers and administrators, it’s an exciting time. Technology has helped millions of students with special needs and inclusion has become a major focus among policymakers and educators. (Inclusion is the integration of all students regardless of their background and abilities.)

However, many schools are experiencing budget cuts. These cuts often include the elimination of support services for students. It’s up to leaders in the field to fight for special education services in our schools. And if you’re considering a PhD in education, you’ll be at the forefront of education reform, helping all children strive for success. Take some time to navigate our site to learn more about degree programs in special education. Many schools offer a variety of programs that prepare graduates to work as educators, administrators, researchers, scholars, and policymakers.

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:

SchoolPrograms
Northcentral University
Northcentral University

Accreditation
  • HLC
  • NCA
Walden University
Walden University

Accreditation
  • HLC
  • NCA
Saint John’s University
Saint John’s University

Accreditation
  • MSA
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University

Accreditation
  • HLC
Capella University
Capella University

Accreditation
  • HLC
Liberty University
Liberty University

Accreditation
  • SACSCOC
George Mason University
George Mason University

Accreditation
  • SACS
Purdue University
Purdue University

Accreditation
  • HLC
  • NCA

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