Special Education - Director of Special Education
Our program prepares educational professionals for leadership, organization, and administration of special education programs in Illinois. Completion of this post-Master's, non-degree certificate program enables qualified individuals to meet Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) standards leading to endorsement as a Director of Special Education. Candidates for the endorsement must also pass the State of Illinois DOSE Content Area Test.
This program is a fully online format with asynchronous work and synchronous classes occurring on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, up to 3 weekends/semester. This certificate is now a one-year, 12-15 hours program.
For more information regarding our graduation rates, cost of instruction, and the median loan debts of students who complete the program, please review the gainful employment disclosures.
Point of Pride
The Department of Special Education is one of the largest special education teacher preparation programs in the country. It has strong partnerships with school districts across the state, providing a wide range of clinical placements and collaborative opportunities.
Dr. Allison Kroesch
Degarmo Hall - DEG 522
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How to Apply
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a graduate certificate program must have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association or do so within one academic year.
Present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term.
If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to:
Illinois State University
Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall
Campus Box 4040
Normal, IL 61790-4040
Additional Program Admission Requirements
Applications will be reviewed by the Department of Special Education DOSE Program Coordinator who may ask you to submit additional information.
To be considered for this program, you must meet the following requirements.
Degree, Licensure, and Professional Experience
You must have a master's degree, a professional license, and a minimum of two years of full-time experience providing special education services as a:
- Special education teacher
- Speech-language pathologist
- School counselor
- School nurse
- School social worker; or
- School psychologist
You must have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale for all graduate level coursework.
Cover Letter and Resume
Upload a cover letter that outline your professional goals as related to special education administrative leadership.
Letter of Recommendation
Include one professional letter of recommendation. The letter should come from a person who has knowledge of your professional work, especially your work as a school or district leader.
The letter must address the following with examples or details:
- Leadership experiences
- Ability to make a difference in student performance.
- Ability to work with colleagues and staff as a team.
- Oral and written communication skills
- Potential to become a special education administrative leader who can motivate and support faculty and families and who can promote learning by students with disabilities.
In the online application system, you will upload:
- Unofficial copies of transcripts from all institutions in which you completed both undergraduate and graduate coursework.
- An official letter from a school or district employer documenting your teaching experience or related service experience working with students with disabilities.
When applying to the Director of Special Education program, be sure to select the Student Type as “Certificate/Specialist” as the level of study on the application for admission.
Global Access to Online Degree Programs
When applying, international students applying to a fully online program must agree to our international online and hybrid programs disclosure and disclaimer statements. Due to limited on-campus courses, immigration documentation cannot be issued for students seeking F-1 or J-1 status.
All application materials must be submitted by October 15, 2023, for consideration in participating in the Fall 2024-2025 academic year cohort.
Cohorts will run each academic year.
Post-Master's Graduate Certificate for Director of Special Education
Requirements for endorsement as a Director of Special Education may be met through a postmaster’s degree program (Doctorate in Special Education) or through a non-degree program. Students seeking Director of Special Education endorsement must be admitted to the department as a post-master’s graduate certificate student or as a doctoral student. Coursework will enable students to meet ISBE standards leading to the Director of Special Education endorsement.
This post-master’s graduate certificate requires 12-15 hours:
- 15 hours: EAF 434*, SED 502, SED 513, SED 517
- Depending on coursework completed at the master’s level, the student may need to complete SED 422 or an equivalent to meet Illinois State Board of Education professional license endorsement requirements.
*This course may be fulfilled by those who have a principal endorsement master’s degree. Substitute this with a foundational course.
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