PHD Doctor of Philosophy in Education Special Education Leadership specialization
Expand Your Opportunities with Licensure
Make the most of your PhD in Special Education Leadership degree from Capella University by earning an additional license, certificate, or endorsement. In most U.S. states and Canadian provinces, a professional license may be necessary for:
- Access to employment: Allows administrators to work in P-12 public schools and some private school settings. Licensure is generally not required for administrators and instructors at colleges and universities, although some counseling positions in post-secondary settings may require a counseling license. Also some states license adult educators teaching through a school district program.
- Student achievement: Licensing laws guarantee that educators have met a minimum standard of education and training. In other words, professional licensing ensures professional competency and preparedness.
- Safety and professional integrity: Licensing also serves a gatekeeping function. It prevents some people from working in schools and provides a means of accountability for ethical violations. If you step out of bounds, you can lose your license and the ability to teach or work in schools.
- Salary advancement: Most states have varying levels of licenses for teachers and administrators or leaders. Generally, completing education beyond a bachelor's degree and gaining experience in the field will allow you to move up to the next level of license. In many states, the level of license is directly tied to salary.
Do I Need a License?
Knowing your career goals and your state's requirements is key to understanding which additional license, certificate, or endorsement — if any — you need. Capella offers degree programs that help prepare you to meet state licensing prerequisites.
Your enrollment counselor can help you decide how this program aligns with your professional goals and help you understand your state's unique requirements. However, we cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement.
Capella does not currently offer any programs to help prepare for first-time or initial classroom teacher licensure/certification.
Capella Licensure Support
Capella's licensure team is up-to-date on the licensing requirements in all 50 states and we have established relationships with state educator licensing offices.
Capella's licensure team supports all graduates through the license application process. This type of specialized support is available during your program, after graduation, and throughout your career.
An enrollment counselor who specializes in your program will provide specific information about educational requirements for licensure, certification, or endorsement in your state. Email or call 1.866.933.5981 for more information.
The Licensing Process
Each state licensing board, agency, or office creates rules or regulations that provide the specific details governing the profession, including licensing requirements. This process is defined by your state but typically involves some or all of the following:
- Documenting how you have met specific educational components
- Proving your fitness to practice
- Demonstrating completion of any required clinical fieldwork experience
- Successful examination(s) completion
- Licensure application and fees
It is crucial to understand the licensing process in your state. Your enrollment counselor is a valuable resource as you research your state’s requirements. Email or call 1.866.933.5981 for more information.
Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement. State regulations vary regarding professional licensure and salary benefits. It is each student’s responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for their state.
State Licensure Requirements
Requirements vary by state and the level of license. The requirements listed below are common across most states:
- Completion of degree — and in some instances additional academic credits beyond a master's degree
- Specific coursework
- Background check and fingerprints
- Field experience, such as student teaching, internships, or practicum
- Successful exam completion
Each state has different licensing requirements that are governed by a specific group or agency such as the state department of education. To understand your state's requirements, start by contacting an enrollment counselor.
Additionally, you may want to research your state's requirements — the following resources may be helpful:
- Educator licensure terms.(81.73KB)
- Understanding statues, regulations, and rules.(73.6KB)
- State resources
Because Capella University has students in all 50 states and numerous countries, we have designed our program to meet national standards or accreditations recognized by many states and have also sought approval specific to Minnesota.
For most students, earning a degree from Capella is similar earning a degree at a university outside of their state and moving back to their home state to pursue professional license. Capella's enrollment counselors can provide specific information about unique educational requirements in your state.
Email an enrollment counselor or call 1.866.933.5981 to learn more.
Reciprocity and Transferring of Licenses
Generally, states will accept another state's approved program or license, but there may be some additional requirements. This process is sometimes known as reciprocity. Reciprocity doesn't mean you can simply exchange your license in one state for a license in another. Reciprocity means that states are willing to accept graduates of another state's approved program, but still expect them to meet the same requirements as educators prepared in state.
Capella's enrollment counselors can provide specific information about unique education requirements in your state.
Alternative Licensure Routes
Some states offer a less traditional option for earning an administrator license. Generally, you must meet the same requirements as someone completing a degree program that is designed for administrator preparation — you just meet the requirements in a different way. For example, a licensure candidate may begin serving as a special education director while still completing required course work or training.
These alternative pathways require more than simply passing exams. You will also be required to complete specific course work and training. If you're thinking of obtaining a license through an alternative route, carefully research the requirements and approved coursework providers for your state. Capella does not offer degree programs that will help you earn a license through one of these alternative pathways.
Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement. State regulations vary regarding professional licensure and salary benefits. It is each student’s responsibility to understand and comply with state requirements.