Online PhD in Special Education Leadership Requirements
A special education leadership doctorate from a top online college requires motivation and dedication, plus excellent writing skills. Strong reading comprehension skills are required, as students must read high level product quickly and efficiently. Time may be needed away from current careers or family responsibilities to pursue an internship as well, although some internship opportunities can be scheduled during weekend or evening hours.
Most students applying to an accredited online PhD program in special education leadership hold a masters degree in a related area. Few online doctoral programs allow a student to earn a masters simultaneously with a doctorate, although students interested in this option should check with the online college of their choice. Common masters degrees held by applicants to an online PhD program include:
- Master of Arts, Education
- Master of Arts, Education Leadership
- Master of Arts, Special Education
- Master of Arts, Organizational Leadership
- Master of Arts, Special Education Policy
- Master of Arts, Special Education Leadership
- Master of Business Administration, Public Policy
- Master of Science, Instruction Technology
- Master of Education (EdM), Special Education
Applicants to a graduate doctoral program in special education often hold significant work experience prior to the PhD studies. These careers can include general education teachers, special education teachers, public policy employees, principals or other education administrators, and organizational leaders.
During an online PhD degree program in special education leadership, students will build an extensive number of skills in a variety of areas through lecture and general coursework. These areas include special education teaching courses, public policy, finance and public relations. The final year will be spent on an extensive dissertation in a specialized area, which is subsequently defended.
Specialization is required during an online doctoral program in special education leadership, although concentration studies are normally undertaken during the thesis portion of the program. Core classes are required to be completed by all students, which range in topic and discipline. Common required courses for a PhD in special education leadership from the best online colleges include:
- Leadership in Special Education: This course examines leadership issues and applies them to the administration of special education programs. Students will explore current challenges in the delivery of services for exceptional children through case studies and projects.
- Current Issues in Special Education: This course helps students develop an understanding of the role of convergent research evidence in addressing current issues in special education practice and policy. In addition, students are familiarized with current issues in special education.
- The Inclusive Classroom: This course introduces participants to instructional procedures for facilitating inclusive instruction for students with disabilities in general education settings. Topics include research-based strategies for adapting curriculum materials, designing instructional procedures, and evaluating students with disabilities.
- Legal Issues for Special Populations: Legal Issues for Special Populations offers a study of the impact of legislation and litigation on the education of special populations emphasizing IDEA and Section 504.
- Managing Resources for Special Education Resources: This course examines development and delivery of specialized programs for exceptional learners. Topics include financial and human resource allocation and management, effective supervision and evaluation, and student outcome documentation.
Specializations and Concentrations
During the thesis portion of study for an online doctorate in special education leadership, a student will specialize their area of work into one concentration. As special education leadership covers many topics and disciplines, these specializations vary widely. Some concentrations for an online doctoral program in special education leadership include:
- Special Education Public Policy
- Special Education Teaching Research and Strategies
- Special Education Teacher Training
- Special Education Resources Management
- Special Education Strategy
An PhD in special education leadership from an accredited online college provides graduates with extensive career opportunities within the field. As students develop specialized areas of study during their thesis programs, leadership positions in special education are in high demand. Some careers for doctoral graduates in special education leadership include:
- Professor: Professors teach in secondary level and universities. A professor earns an average of $68,500 per year. Job growth is expected at a faster than average rate.
- School Social Worker: School social workers provide a link between home, school, and community, enabling students and their families to overcome financial and personal problems which impede learning. School social workers provide individual and group counseling, consultation to teachers, and other services which help students cope with their disabilities. These employees earn an average of $59,000 per year. Job growth is expected at a faster than average rate.
- Special Education Administration: Special education administrators oversee school district special education programs. They assist with program administration, ensure the quality of special education services, and work with teachers and parents in the education process. Special education administrators earn an average of $97,660 per year. Job growth is expected at a faster than average rate.
- Education Diagnostician: Educational diagnosticians share an ability to assess and diagnose the learning problems of students. Education diagnosticians earn an average of $87,500 per year. Job growth is expected at a faster than average rate.
- Autism Intervention Specialist: Autism intervention specialists work with teachers and families to model appropriate strategies for working with students with autism. Intervention specialists earn an average of $77,200 per year. Job growth is expected at a faster than average rate.
A PhD in special education leadership from a top online school is a solid investment for the future for those interested in pursuing a career within the educational system. Special education is a field with exciting potential for growth and advancement.