Earning an online Doctorate in Special Education allows students to take an in-depth look at the country’s special education systems and make real change to improve special education. This degree can focus on special education aspects ranging from administration and management of policies to technical teaching and enacting and interpreting special education laws. A Doctorate is designed for students who want a career as faculty members or administrators in academia.
What is an Online Doctorate in Special Education?
An online Doctorate in Special Education is a great way for working professionals to complete their Ph.D. still. This format allows students to take their theoretical classes online and conduct the necessary research to complete a dissertation. The online Doctorate in Special Education often contains an in-person element that can take the form of volunteer hours or in-person interviews and conferences. This degree focuses heavily on the administration policy, procedure, and laws surrounding special education and less to do with actually teaching special education at a college level.
What Are the Benefits?
For students who are passionate about equal opportunity and education for all students, including those in special education, this is an excellent opportunity to examine and research policy trends in the real world. Acting as a mouthpiece for special education, students are tasked with studying and analyzing the current educational system and creating innovative change to the policy to make a better, safer, and more equitable learning environment. Students will learn about policy, law, grant writing, communication, and technology related to special education.
What is the Outlook and Salary?
The general job outlook for those with a Ph.D. in Special Education continues to grow exponentially year after year. Currently, job growth is expected to grow 38% in the coming years. Those with a Ph.D. in Special Education can expect to earn about $60,000 per year as a Special Education teacher and about $86,000 per year for an administrator or faculty member responsible for grant and policy change writing.
Choosing a school to attend to pursue your Ph.D. can be difficult, especially with so many options to choose between. The school you choose and the program you follow will significantly impact your future career. The decision can be overwhelming, especially when you think about how much depends on your decision. Luckily, we have made the process easier for you. We have put together a list of the top ten schools to earn an online Doctorate in Special Education so that you can sort through the available options faster. We hope to highlight the program’s benefits so that you can make the best choice for your current needs.
The Best 10 Online Doctorate in Special Education
1. Regent University — Virginia Beach, Virginia (17 Points)
The online Doctorate in Special Education offered from Regent University prepares students to enter academia as a professional. Students will learn how to examine research, practice, and policy about special education to understand current trends and implement changes moving forward. This degree is ideal for students who wish to become faculty members at a university or work in university administration.
The degree is completed entirely online, making it ideal for working professionals. The program consists of 67 credits, including a dissertation that must be researched, developed, and defended in front of peers and professors. This program typically takes five years to complete, with the final year dedicated to dissertation work.
- Tuition: $775 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Undergraduate Transcripts, Writing Sample, Completed Questionnaire
1. Slippery Rock University — Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania (17 Points)
This degree offered from Slippery Rock University aims to help students examine policy and procedure in higher education. This program aims to give students the tools necessary to conduct their research and analysis regarding ongoing policy and current policy trends. The program ranges from issues surrounding financing to the systemic problems which permeate the education system.
This degree is offered online as a part-time program. The classes for this program continue year-round and also include face-to-face interviews and conferencing. Along with coursework and theoretical study, students must complete and defend a dissertation.
- Tuition: $609 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Official Transcripts, Minimum 3.0 GPA, Resume, Personal Statement, Two Letters of Recommendation
3. Hampton University — Hampton, Virginia (13 Points)
Hampton University offers an online Doctorate in Special Education focusing on Counseling and Supervision. This degree is designed to help students understand the techniques and tools used to successfully manage and counsel college-level students. This degree also focuses on college students’ mental health aspect and provides doctoral students with a better understanding of policy and practice surrounding education’s relationship with mental health.
This degree is entirely online, making it convenient for students working full-time and managing a full schedule. Each course is 16 weeks long, and it takes 64 credits to complete the Doctorate program earning a Ph.D. This degree usually takes about 3.5 years for students to complete.
- Tuition: $1,167 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Graduate Degree and Official Transcripts, GRE Scores, Writing Sample, Personal Statement, Resume, Three Letters of Recommendation
4. Concordia University of Chicago — River Forest, Illinois (11 Points)
At the Concordia University of Chicago, students can enroll in an Ed.D./Ph.D. program and specialize in Special Education. This degree allows students to learn what it takes to be a leader in academia and focus on special education policies and procedures. The goal is to have students learn about current trends and enact real and practical policy change related to special education. Students will be able to take the knowledge gained through this program and work at either a private or a public educational institution.
Students enrolled in the Ed.D. program are required to take 61 credits to complete this degree, while students enrolled in the Ph.D. program are expected to take 67 credits to complete this degree. Both paths require a comprehensive exam and a dissertation that must be researched and defended in front of peers and professors.
- Tuition: $1,370 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Official Transcripts, GRE Test Scores, Objective Statement, Letters of Recommendation, Resume, Writing Sample
4. Northcentral University — San Diego, California (11 Points)
The Online Doctorate in Special Education degree offered from Northcentral University focuses more on the legalities surrounding the IDEIA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) law. This focus includes implementing, interpreting, and improving policy and ensuring that families and communities have their rights and privacy respected. Students will take a range of classes exploring classroom and education theory and will attend several law and policy classes.
This degree consists of 60 credits which usually takes students about 45 months to complete. The program is offered entirely online, making this an ideal program for full-time working professionals. The degree will give students the knowledge to understand educational systems and give students the ability to conduct qualitative and quantitative research and apply their findings to enact policy change to better special education around the country.
- Tuition: $1,045 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Master’s Degree from Accredited University, Official Transcripts
4. University of Northern Colorado — Greeley, Colorado (11 Points)
The online Doctorate in Special Education program offered by the University of Northern Colorado offers several special education facets. First, the university wants to teach students the practical and technical tools needed to offer special education programs at all levels of education. Further, the university wants to give students the tools needed to examine current laws and policies related to special education and suggest and implement changes to better educational facilities.
Students will learn a range of skills in the online Doctorate in Special Education, including research and analysis, grant writing, special education law, student supervision, and ongoing technology and communication to improve special education. This degree consists of 77 to 83 credits, and students are usually able to complete the program in about three to five years, depending on their chosen electives and dissertation research.
- Tuition: $926 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Master’s Degree, Official Transcripts, GRE Test Scores
4. University of Toledo — Toledo, Ohio (11 Points)
Students who complete the online Doctorate in Special Education offered by the University of Toledo are trained and experienced enough to enter academia in leadership roles. These students will understand the technical tools needed to help teach special education and be well-versed in special education policy. Students will understand how to research and analyze data and trends related to special education to create innovative solutions and policy change to make special education better.
The degree from the University of Toledo is offered entirely online. Students are required to participate in “virtual” internships to complete the degree. Further, students must also participate in face-to-face meetings with their professors twice per year. This degree requires 60 credits, and it usually takes students between four and five years to complete.
- Tuition: $833 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Master’s Degree, Official Transcripts, GRE Test Scores, Letters of Recommendation
8. Texas Tech University — Lubbock, Texas (9 Points)
Texas Tech University has a Doctorate program designed for students to learn the administrative side of special education. This program helps students learn about the ongoing policies for special education at all levels and helps develop students to become leaders in their community and academia. This degree aims to enable students to conduct their research and analyze trends in special education.
This degree is offered entirely online, making it attractive for working professionals. To complete the program, students must take 90 credits.
- Tuition: $802 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Master’s Degree, GRE Test Scores, Official Transcripts, Statement of Purpose, Letters of Recommendation
9. West Virginia University, Monongalia County, West Virginia (6 Points)
The online Doctorate in Special Education offered by West Virginia University is designed to help create leaders in special education fields. This degree focuses on all special education levels for children and adults in private and public institutions. The degree focuses on education, as well as special services to adolescents and adults.
The degree is in an online format; however, to be considered for Ph.D. candidacy, students must complete at least one year of residency in West Virginia. To remain in the Doctorate of Special Education program, students must maintain at least a 3.25 GPA.
- Tuition: $1,055 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, Official Transcripts, GRE Test Scores, Minimum GPA Requirement
10. Drexel University — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (4 Points)
Under the umbrella of Educational Leadership, Drexel University offers a special concentration in Special Education. This program aims to develop students to become leaders in academia, helping to transform policy and law to help make a better learning environment. Special Education advocates try to make an equitable and fair learning environment where children and adults both have an arena to thrive.
The program will take between three and five years to complete, and students are free to enroll part-time. Unlike other Doctorate programs, there is no need to have a residency requirement, truly making this an entirely online degree. Plus, you get to join a larger coalition and peer group that will allow you to share ideas and network for years to come.
- Tuition: $2,271 per credit
- Application Requirements: Application, Application Fee, GRE Test Scores, Official Transcripts,
To create our list of the best online Doctorate in Special Education degrees available, we have devised a point-based scoring system. Schools included on our list were awarded points based on two scoring metrics. The first metric used was the cost of tuition on a per-credit basis. Schools that listed their tuition as a yearly expense first had the price divided in half, assuming two semesters per year. Further, the cost was divided by 12, taking an average of 12 credits per semester. In all cases, the out-of-state tuition was used for our calculations. The school with the lowest cost per credit received the highest amount of points and a more favorable ranking.
The second metric we used to award points in our system was the school’s overall enrollment size. Universities that have a smaller enrollment class size received the highest amount of points. It was assumed that schools with a smaller enrollment size could offer more one-on-one instruction between professors and students, making the learning experience better. The school with the lowest enrollment received the most amount of points. The total points awarded for the tuition metric and the enrollment metric were added together, giving a final total score. The school with the most amount of points received the top ranking on our list.
If your school has been featured on our list, we would love to hear from you. We understand that your information and programs are continually changing, so we want to keep our website updated. If you notice our information is incorrect, just let us know, and we would be happy to revise the content. We understand that choosing a school for your Doctorate is a big decision, so we aim to give students the most up-to-date information available to make the best possible choice for their education.