If you’re looking for a career in education where you’ll make a difference in the lives of both teachers and students with special needs, then you may be the perfect fit for becoming an educational diagnostician. Also commonly referred to as learning consultants, educational diagnosticians work as part of a multi-disciplinary special education team to assess, diagnose, and treat children who are struggling with learning delays. Educational diagnosticians play an important role in evaluating students’ academic abilities, helping to create an appropriate teaching plan, and monitoring the child’s progress in the program. Since educational diagnosticians must be aware of teaching strategies and the intricacies of academic testing, this career comes with plenty of post-secondary schooling. Below we’ve created a step-by-step guide on the general requirements needed to successfully become an educational diagnostician.
- Online MSEd in Special Education (Ranked #11 Best Online Master’s in Special Education Program by U.S. News & World Report 2021)
- M.Ed. in Elementary Education and Special Education (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Moderate to Severe (ITL); M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross Categorical (Leads to initial teacher licensure)
- BA Special Education (Mild to Moerate) - Leads to single licensure in K - 12 special education; MA Teaching, Special Education (K-12)
1. Earn a Relevant Bachelor’s Degree
Before jumping into the education field, you’ll need to go beyond your high school diploma to receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year university. Although a specific undergraduate major isn’t mandated, it’s best to start creating a foundation of knowledge in your chosen field by focusing in elementary education, secondary education, or special education. Find a teacher preparation program approved by the TEAC or CAEP to make certain you are fulfilling the requirements needed to receive your initial teaching licensure in your state. You’ll likely need to complete a student teaching semester in your final year for hands-on learning, too.
2. Build Teaching Experience
Once you’ve graduated with your teaching license, it’s time to begin crafting an impressive resume with full-time teaching experience in the classroom. Most school districts will only hire educational diagnosticians who’ve spent at least three years teaching children in their chosen grade level. During this time, you should seek to gain experience with students with learning disabilities to ensure you’re well-prepared for providing psycho-educational assessment later on for special education referrals. You may also want to interview a diagnostician, volunteer at a social service agency, or work as a counselor with children with disabilities.
3. Acquire a Master’s Degree in Education
Next, you’ll need to head back to graduate school for at least two to three years to receive your master’s degree in education. Accredited schools across the United States offer Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs with specializations in educational assessment or evaluation. For the fast track towards licensing, you should look for a concentration that includes courses related to positive reinforcement, psycho-educational assessment, evaluation of students with disabilities, applied behavior analysis, intelligence testing, special education, and human development.
4. Pursue Professional Licensure
Requirements tend to vary from state to state, but it’s required that practicing educational diagnosticians in the United States become professionally licensed. Most states will require that candidates for licensure have at least a master’s degree, a minimum of 30 credit hours in an educational assessment or school psychology program, three years of teaching experience, and a valid state teaching license. Many educational diagnosticians also become certified through the NCED to prove their high standards of practice.
Overall, educational diagnosticians work to find indicators that align with certain cognitive or behavioral deficits to help teachers address learning concerns in their students. If you follow the above steps and receive the degree needed to become an educational diagnostician, you’ll find favorable job prospects for evaluating the growing number of youth with learning problems.