Personnel Improvement Center
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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 teachers and staff who are implementing those programs.
  • Motivate teachers 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

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The National Center to Improve the Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Personnel for Children with Disabilities (Personnel Improvement Center). A Cooperative Agreement, H325C080001, between the US Department of Education and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. Project Officer: Maryann McDermott
NASDSE | 225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 420, Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone 703.519.3800 | Fax 703.519.3808