To work in special education can mean several things. For example, it can mean teaching students who are learning disabled or developmentally challenged, to help them acquire education and life skills. Or it can mean teaching students who are gifted and talented. It can also mean working as a special education leader to advocate and change systems, or as a superintendent to lead an institution. Or it can mean working as an academic or a researcher in special education. Special education doctoral programs provide an excellent means to obtain the requisite knowledge and skills, and to qualify for any aspect of this rewarding area.
Many students who take this specialization are already licensed teachers and are seeking to move into special education teaching or administration. These programs are also popular with special education teachers who wish to specialize in a particular aspect of special education. Special education programs can be taken at bachelors and masters levels, as well as at doctoral level. The fact that these programs are available online makes them accessible without leaving employment.
This page is about special education doctoral programs and how they can prepare you for various career choices. It provides more detail about the field, the prospects after graduation and where you can take the programs.
What do special education doctoral programs contain?
Doctoral level programs present an opportunity for in-depth study of a topic of interest or useful for your chosen path in special education.
A special education program for someone interested in teaching would typically include course work on some of the following: educational psychology; child development; adapting the curriculum; management of disruptive behavior; use of technology in the classroom; dealing disabilities; discipline; behavioral management; counseling.
Students who choose to specialize in educational administration or perhaps pursue a PhD in special education leadership (such as that offered by Capella University) would take course work in instructional strategies, administration, law, and finance.
What jobs do special education programs prepare you for?
The minimum qualification for a special education teaching job is a bachelor’s degree in special education, but a masters is preferred. In order to teach in a college of a university, you need to have a masters degree or more preferably a PhD.
As well as teaching in the government education sector, graduates of a doctorate special education also find employment in: training; teaching in the private sector; community services; and, in administration. Online education programs also provide a base for further training in counseling and careers work. Graduates also find work in development jobs and other non-profit organizations.
List of schools and programs
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- Doctor of Education - Special Education
- Doctor of Education - Early Childhood Education
- Doctor of Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (K-12)
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University. We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.
- Special Education - PhD in Education
- Special Education - Doctor of Education
- Special Education - EdS
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- Earn your Master's or Doctorate degree online
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- Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association
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- Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
- Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Distance Learning
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- Doctor of Management Higher Education Teaching and Learning