The role of the educational diagnostician can vary between states and even between school districts. And even the title by which these professionals are known is often different. Depending on the state's certification, this education professional may be called a learning disabilities professional, consultant or a learning consultant. Regardless of their title, educational diagnosticians share an ability to assess and diagnose the learning problems of students. They are usually part of a multidisciplinary team, that is, professionals from several different backgrounds who utilize their particular skills and areas of expertise to make the best decisions for placing students with learning problems. Frequently, they are also key support personnel who counsel the children and consult with professionals, parents, and others on the child's progress.
Nature of Work:
- Member of a studentís interdisciplinary team, is often responsible for initial and ongoing psycho-educational assessment.
- Works collaboratively with other assessment personnel, such as speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, and school psychologists, counselors, and social workers to determine eligibility for special education services.
- Provides input to the IEP committee regarding studentís academic strengths and weaknesses based on psycho-educational testing.
- Interprets results of psycho-educational testing in relation to studentís educational placement and programming to parents, professionals, administrators, and students.
- Monitors studentís educational progress in relation to his IEP goals and objectives, recommending appropriate modifications and accommodations to curricular content and instruction, as needed.
- Provides ongoing consultative services to school, community, and parents regarding studentís educational needs.
- Masters Degree, including course work specific to the stateís certification requirements for educational diagnostician licensure (usually requires a few additional hours beyond the typical 36 hour Masters Degree).
- Three + years teaching experience.
- Good organizational skills, with an interest in statistical and numerical information.
- Ability to relate well to multiple groups- including parents, administrators, professionals, and students of all ages.
- Ability to resolve conflicts and defuse potentially adversarial relationships.
- Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
Job Outlook and Advancement
- Currently, there is a shortage of diagnosticians in many states, especially those who use them to perform the majority of assessments for special education referrals and three year reevaluations.
- Pay may be above that of Master-level professionals. Some states/districts pay diagnosticians at the school building administrative level (similar to school counselors).
- Good opportunities for advancement, since many relatively large districts have supervisors of educational diagnosticians or recruit from the diagnostician pool for Directors of Special Education
How to Prepare for a Career
- Visit your local school division offices and ask to interview an educational diagnostician about the kind of work they do, since job descriptions vary according to state and district.
- Volunteer with a social service agency, such as the local offices of your mental health/mental retardation services, to gain experience in dealing with families in need of special services .
- Work as a coach for Special Olympics, as a camp counselor for children w/disabilities, or with your local ARC organization to gain experience with the varying ability levels of students with disabilities and the issues that arise for their families.
- Call your state department of education division for licensure and inquire as to how your state certifies educational diagnosticians and what college preparation is necessary.