What is a Special Education Coordinator?

Special Education CoordinatorAs an integral part of a school’s instructional leadership team, the special education coordinator is responsible for overseeing programs that provide educational assistance to children with mental, psychological, learning, behavioral, or physical disabilities. With the goal of facilitating the special education processes that are needed to maximize the growth potential of students with exceptional learning needs, special education coordinators are highly trained and experienced educators with specialized certification. As the demand for special educators is projected to grow at the rapid rate of around 35% over the next decade, the need for special education coordinators to provide competent leadership will also rise, according to the College Foundation of North Carolina. If you are interested in opening professional doors in coordinating services for students with disabilities, read on to learn more about special education coordinators.

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Special Education Coordinator Job Description

With specialized expertise in the instruction of students with special learning needs within or outside of the mainstream classroom, special education coordinators advise school principals about special education programs to ensure that the needs of all students are being met. Special education coordinators focus their career on helping children with disabilities to maximize their learning in an inclusive setting and starting innovative new school programs aimed towards special education. While special education coordinators usually are employed by public or private school districts, some may find employment at elementary schools, secondary schools, universities, preschool programs, daycare centers, and private educational institutions. The majority of special education coordinators are employed on a full-time basis, though many must work longer hours beyond the school day as a liaison for school board meetings.

Daily Duties for Special Education Coordinators

Using their strong decision-making, public relations, interpersonal, and communication skills, special education coordinators are responsible for collaborating with staff members and teachers from various departments to plan short or long-term special services for children with exceptional needs. As a wearer of many hats, special education coordinators often face different conundrums on a daily basis that make no two days the same. That being said, most special education coordinators will be involved in coordinating curricular resources, developing budget proposals, evaluating special education programs, implementing state curriculum guidelines, hiring new staff members, enhancing productivity of existing personnel, presenting information in district meetings, training teaching staff, developing individualized education programs (IEPs), and serving as the District representative in hearings.

How to Become a Special Education Coordinator

In order to become a special education coordinator, you will need to start by earning a bachelor’s degree in education or special education to receive the qualifications needed to work within the classroom. Most aspiring coordinators then pursue a Master of Education degree specialized in special education, but some employers may prefer individuals with a doctoral degree. It is strongly recommended that you take courses that combine education with psychology, child development, leadership, and administration. After receiving advanced certification in special education, you will need to obtain at least three to five years of experience working in a special education classroom with children with disabilities.

Related Resource: Become a Developmental Specialist

Overall, special education coordinators are vital members of school districts who balance time in the classroom with meetings to support individual students with disabilities and develop new special education programs for more effective teaching services. Now that you have a good idea on the typical day in the life of a special education coordinator, you can determine whether this educational leadership position is the right fit for meeting your career goals.