Special Education Administrator

Nature of Work:

  • Determine educational standards and goals for special education programs.
  • Ensure that those programs comply with federal, state, and local laws.
  • Set policies and procedures for special education professionals and staff who are implementing those programs.
  • Motivate professionals and staff.
  • Provide parents with regular reports on their child's progress.
  • Review and evaluate all programs - pilot programs, long-term programs, future programs.
  • Write grants, prepare budgets.
  • Respond to legislative questions and concerns.
  • Mediate disputes between parents and schools.
  • Attend community meetings when critical special education issues are discussed.

Education Required

  • Master's degree in most cases, sometimes a doctorate degree.
  • All states require a license to practice. Licensing requirements vary by state.

Personal Qualities

  • Confident
  • Articulate
  • Innovative leaders
  • Inspire trust
  • Strong motivator
  • Excellent managers

Job Outlook and Advancement

  • Employment of education administrators is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2010. (BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook 2002-03).

How to Prepare for a Career

  • High school students can gain leadership skills by being active and assuming officer positions in school clubs and organizations.
  • Maintain a strong competitive high school grade point average.
  • Volunteer to work in children's programs, summer recreation camps, or Special Olympics.
  • Ask about volunteer tutoring opportunities with children who receive special education services.
  • Attend your community's school board meetings and special hearings, especially those related to school curriculum and special education services will be discussed.

Resource Information

  • American Association of School Administrators
    1801 North Moore Street
    Arlington, Virginia 22209
  • The Council of Administrators of Special Education
    615 16th Street, NW
    Albuquerque, MN 87104
  • The Council for Exceptional Children
    1110 North Glebe Road, Suite 300
    Arlington, VA 22201-5704
    866-915-5000 TTY