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PhD Special Education Online

EdD special education online programs look at how to teach students of all learning abilities. Many topics include ways of teaching students with mild and moderate disabilities all the way to those with severe disabilities. Many programs look at theoretical models and how to apply theories to help students with special needs achieve their educational goals.

Did You Know?

Roughly 70 to 80% of children who are place in special education for learning disabilities suffer from dyslexia.

EdD Special Education Online: Basics

PhD in special education online programs strive to provide a complete understanding to oversee and advocate for the growing number of students who need special education services.  Usually, this helps provide you the skills and knowledge to support students of all learning abilities. This may include how different disabilities affect students and their families.

Online EdD Programs in Special Education: Admissions Requirements

The admissions requirements for EdD special education online programs vary from school to school. However, most schools require that you have earned a masters degree from an accredited university with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Other admissions requirements may include those listed here.

  • You are a licensed teacher.
  • You submit a personal goal statement and resume.
  • You have two letters of recommendation.
  • You submit your official transcripts.

Keep in mind that some schools have stricter requirements than others. To find a program that fits your goals, check out the specific admissions requirements for a few schools.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a PhD in Special Education?

Typically, it takes students three to five years to earn an online doctorate in special education. This includes all required courses, exams, and your dissertation. However, each school is different and exact lengths may vary depending on whether you are a full-time or a part-time student.

How to Earn a Doctorate in Special Education Online

Most programs, whether it is a PhD or EdD in special education include a number of courses that require research, writing, and critical analysis. This helps develop the skills and knowledge to contribute your own research and concepts to the special education field.

Upon completing all required coursework, many schools ask that you propose, write, present, and defend a dissertation to a board of faculty members. Many programs also ask that you pass a comprehensive exam as well.

EdD Special Education Online: What You’ll Learn

Many online EdD programs in special education focus on teaching how to evaluate and analyze research and concepts in special education. This is to help prepare to provide your own relevant additions to the field. Typically, this is by developing solutions that address current issues and leadership skills to support educational practices.

These theories and research are the basis for learning new methods and ways to teach students with special needs. To prepare for the future, many courses and topics include understanding best practices and methods from a historical context.

Common Online EdD Special Education Courses

While earning an EdD in special education online, courses focus on writing and analysis. Many courses are designed to develop a comprehensive understanding of current theories and best practices to help students with special needs reach their educational goals. This may include in a number of different settings, at a number of different ages, and with different disabilities.

Check out the list below for some of the common online special education courses.

  • Foundations of Special Education
  • Special Education Law
  • Supervision and Administration of Special Education
  • Fiscal Management in Special Education
  • Teacher Supervision and Evaluation
  • Special Education Law and Ethics for Leaders
  • Emerging Technology and Multimedia for Curriculum and Instruction
  • Characteristics of Students with Specific Learning Disabilities
  • Teaching in Special Education
  • Characteristics of Students with Emotional and/or Behavioral Disorders

While there are many similarities between a PhD and an EdD, the main difference is the type of student each program is designed to teach. For instance, many PhD in special education online programs are designed for students who wish to pursue a career as a postsecondary teacher. On the other hand, many online EdD programs in special education focus more on leadership positions.

Therefore, each school may have a unique make-up and offer different courses. Check with a few schools to find one that fits your goals.

Concentrations for Online PhD in Special Education Degrees

Some EdD special education online programs offer a number of concentrations for your doctorates degree. These concentrations may tailor your course of study to focus on a particular aspect of special education. This may help you become an expert in that part of special education.

Some concentrations available for your PhD special education online may include the following.

  • Early Childhood
  • High Incidence
  • Severe Disabilities
  • Early Intervention
  • Secondary / Transition Services

While some schools offer concentrations, others do not. On the other hand, some schools may have different concentrations available. Therefore, check with a few schools to find one that fits your goals.

What is IDEIA?

The Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act (IDEIA) is a federal law that provides federal funding to states to educate students receiving special education services. The document outlines safeguards and lays out discipline measures for students with disabilities.

The IDEIA also states that each student who qualifies for special education services must have a written individualized educational plan (IEP). This document is a course of action stating each students current progress, goals, and age of transition. IEPs are updated every three years.

Special Education: What is it All About?

Special education is the specially designed instruction to meet the unique challenges of students with special needs. This involves educators, administrators, and parents working together to create an IEP so that each student can reach their educational potential. It also includes involving students with disabilities in general education classes as much as possible.

Common Special Education Careers

After earning your EdD special education online degree, there are a number of careers that you may pursue. Usually, these jobs are in leadership positions or as postsecondary teachers.

Some of these jobs, and their 2015 median annual salary, are listed below.

  • Education Administrators, Postsecondary: $88,580[i]
  • Postsecondary Teachers: $72,470[ii]
  • Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School: $90,410[iii]

Typically, you only need a masters degree to become an education administrator.[iv] To become a postsecondary teacher, most schools require that you earn a PhD.[v]

The specific responsibilities for each of these jobs may vary. However, many create lesson plans and a course of study to impact the lives of students with special needs. It may also include creating a supportive and challenging environment so that all students can reach their goals.vi]

Take the Next Step!

Do you want to learn how to create curriculum to help students with special needs? Do you want to learn how to teach the next generation of special education teachers?

Then take the next step to earning your EdD special education online degree. Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page. There, you can read program descriptions and specific requirements. Best of all, you can even reach out to your favorite schools directly to request more information.


[i] bls.gov/oes/current/oes119033.htm [ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-5 [iii] bls.gov/oes/current/oes119032.htm [iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm#tab-4 [v] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4 [vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-2