Old Main
School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Director of Special Education

Director of Special Education 

Special Education is a high needs area in the state of Illinois, including the need for qualified special education program directors.  The Illinois State Board of Education policy allows for the addition of the Director of Special Education endorsement to a Professional Educator's License (PEL) with an existing administrative endorsement following the completion of 3 specified courses:

  • Special Education Law
  • Special Education Finance
  • Supervision of Programs for Children with Disabilities


Launch May 2023

North Central College will offer these courses online and asynchronously, starting in the summer 2023 semester.


Special Education Director Eligibility

  • Hold a professional educator license endorsed in an administrative field (or be currently enrolled in a program leading to an administrative endorsement).
  • Complete a minimum of 21 graduate and/or undergraduate semester hours in special education including completion of a cross-categorical special education methods course.

The remainder of the semester hours may be in any of the following areas:  curricular adaptation and modification and assistive technology, facilitation of least restrictive environment for all students, characteristics of students with disabilities, collaboration with parents and school personnel, transition services for students with disabilities, and educational and psychological diagnosis and remedial techniques.

  • Provide evidence of 2 year's full-time experience providing special education services as a:
    • Special education teacher
    • Speech-language pathologist
    • School counselor
    • School nurse
    • School social worker
    • School psychologist

Education Alliance Partnership

A 20% tuition discount may be available if your school district is part of North Central's Education Alliance Partnership program. Click here to see if you qualify. 


Courses are delivered 100% online in an asynchronous format.  This gives you the flexibility to study from anywhere.

Three course sequence

  • MEDU 635 - Disability Law, Policy, and Historical Foundations in Special Education - offered Spring term, pending sufficient enrollment
  • MEDU 636 - Supervision of Programs for Children with Exceptionalities - offered Summer term, pending sufficient enrollment
  • MEDU 637 - Finance for Special Education Directors - offered Fall term, pending sufficient enrollment

How to Apply

The Director of Special Education endorsement is entitled by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  Candidates apply for the endorsement through ISBE.  Following completion of the 3 additional courses as well as clearing other deficiencies determined by ISBE, candidates submit evidence to ISBE who will then entitle the endorsement.

Application Process

  1. Download and complete the Director of Special Education Application
  2. Submit official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions.
    • Transcripts must show an earned bachelor's degree (if currently enrolled in a Master's degree program) or a Master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a minimum grade point average of 3.00 during the last 60 hours of a bachelor's degree or 3.00 for a Master's degree program.
  1. Request a transcript evaluation for the Director of Special Education endorsement from the ISBE.* Apply for the Director of Special Education (DSE) endorsement and request a transcript evaluation from the Illinois State Board of Education via the process outlined under "Application Process"  Visit ISBE Educator Licensure Application (https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Educator-Licensure-Application.aspx).   ISBE will issue a "deficiency letter" indicating the need for 3 additional courses (as well as other deficiencies to be resolved to qualify for the DSE endorsement).

*The ISBE deficiency letter must be submitted to the program coordinator prior to the start of the first course.

Submit all application materials to grad@noctrl.edu or by mail to the North Central College, School of Graduate and Professional Studies, 30 N. Brainard Street, Naperville IL 60540