Ph.D. in Special Education Leadership: Degree Program Information

Doctoral degree programs in special education leadership are designed for those individuals who already have an undergraduate or master's degree in education, special education or a similar field. Some specializations for the program include funding, law and superintendency.

Essential Information

Students in the special education leadership program can learn a range of concepts, including how to apply research in various school settings, advocate for disabled students, and understand the oversight of special education programs. Graduates go on to work in several roles as faculty, consultants or administrators at district and national levels. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most college and university professors are required to have doctoral degrees, while post-secondary administrators are required to have either master's or doctoral degrees.

The requirements for this degree include a master's degree, graduate degree in special education or related may be required, proof of teaching experience and licensing verification. Program Specializations include funding, law and superintendency. Some programs are available online.

Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education Leadership

Graduates of a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Special Education Leadership program should be trained in law, policy, finance and instructional issues as related to the education of disabled learners. Students can tailor their program by selecting from topics such as literacy and language to meet their career goals. Students are trained to understand complex issues in special education and apply their research skills to policy making, staff management and child development. Programs typically offer the ability to tailor a program and specialize in areas such as funding, law, or superintendency. Programs may include the following coursework:

  • Special education finance and instructional strategies
  • Theories of intelligence
  • Educators as facilitators
  • Education and social change

Popular Career Options

Graduates of programs in special education leadership enjoy multiple career options in the development of special education curricula, human resources administration, or research. Graduates are able to find career opportunities with government agencies, school boards or with consulting firms. Some popular career options include the following:

  • Faculty member
  • PK-12 teacher
  • Special education consultant
  • Administrator

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, in May 2014, special education teachers earned a mean annual income of $62,180. It also reported a projected 6% job growth from 2014 to 2024, as fast as the national average (

Professional who are interested in earning a Ph.D. in special education have the opportunity to learn more about courses such as policy and disability and theories of intelligence. Students may be required to show their teaching license and previous teaching experience in order to be accepted into the program.

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