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How to become a learning disability specialist in 2023

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How to become a learning disability specialist. A career as a learning disability specialist may be ideal for you if you want to help students with special needs. Before they start working, these specialists complete several years of postsecondary education, obtain relevant work experience, and obtain licenses. You can enter a fulfilling field by learning how to become a learning disability specialist. In this article, we cover how to become a learning disability specialist, what they do, how much they make, and their future employment prospects.

What Is a Learning Disability Specialist?

Learning Disability specialists guide people with impairments through the process of filling out the documentation necessary to collect the benefits for which they are entitled. They work in a range of fields, including business, education, and health care. Disability specialists may also decide whether any additional modifications, such as wheelchair accessibility or instruction for coworkers on how to be considerate of the requirements of their disabled colleagues, are necessary for a disabled employee. To make sure their client is receiving all the treatments they require, they monitor their client’s progress and may arrange follow-up appointments for medical or psychiatric evaluations. Depending on where the disability specialist works, they may also have other obligations.

What does a learning disability specialist do?

The following are some of the standard duties of a learning disability specialist:

  • Record the limitations of your students.

Others may not have documented disabilities when they enroll in a school system, even though some children may. It is the responsibility of a learning disability specialist to help with the cumbersome process of disability documentation. They might assist in obtaining the necessary records, such as transcripts from previous institutions and examinations like vision and hearing tests.

  • Collaborate with teachers of general education

Working together with teachers of general education is common for a learning disability expert. They take into account typical curricula and try to develop accommodation strategies so that students with disabilities can obtain a thorough education. This expert emphasizes the value of integrated learning and speaks for students with impairments. They also keep abreast of state and federal compliance requirements to guarantee that lesson plans adhere to the rules set forth.

  • Services for students with impairments should be coordinated.

Services for students with impairments are coordinated by a learning disability expert. They can assist parents in understanding the services that their children require as well as any extras that would be useful. This expert can make sure a student gets help, such as a note-taker in class or extra time on an exam.

How to become a learning disability specialist

1. Earn your bachelor’s degree

Getting your bachelor’s degree is the first step in becoming a specialist in learning disabilities. Even though majoring in special education is recommended, you can pick another area of study. Some students decide to pursue bachelor’s degrees in fields including social work, secondary education, or elementary education.

They may also select a degree like math or biology, or they could major in liberal arts. A student may decide to take a minor in special education if they do not complete their first bachelor’s degree in this field. They might decide to enroll in related elective courses to learn more about the industry. Topics including behavior management, language development, and consulting techniques might be covered in these elective courses.

2. Gain relevant work experience

While you are working toward your undergraduate degree, you could begin to get relevant work experience. To gain real-world experience, some students decide to seek student teaching internships. If you do an internship outside of your institution of higher learning, you might be able to receive credit toward your degree.

You might take a career after graduation that is related to your educational background. You can work as a teacher’s aide to get experience if you have a degree in elementary or secondary education. With a social work bachelor’s degree, you can work as a case manager or a rehabilitation specialist. You can gain useful experience from any of these jobs and use it to advance your career as a learning disability specialist.

3. Consider choosing a specialty

Not every expert in learning disabilities chooses to focus on a specific demographic of pupils. You may work with students who have a variety of disabilities, but certain professions favor a particular group of people. You could decide, for instance, to solely work with teenagers or young children under the age of three.

Some experts on learning disorders seek to help pupils who have specific disabilities. For instance, you might decide to focus on helping blind or deaf students. Working with these populations could necessitate additional education and abilities, such as the ability to read Braille or use sign language.

4. Obtain state licensing if necessary

Find out if getting a license is necessary for candidates in order to work as learning disability experts in your state. This requirement is present in certain states, but not all of them, so it’s critical to comprehend the laws in your neighborhood. If your state mandates a teaching license, one license may be sufficient to teach all age groups. In certain states, working with pupils of various ages and disabilities necessitates obtaining multiple qualifications.

5. Pursue postgraduate education

While some states do not mandate that applicants hold a master’s degree, others do. Even though your state does not mandate that learning disability experts hold master’s degrees, obtaining a postgraduate degree can still help you progress your career and make you more employable. You can complete internships and enroll in more challenging courses when you seek a master’s degree in special education. Social transitions, curriculum development, and classroom collaboration are a few potential themes that your program might cover.

Salary for a learning disability specialist

A learning disabilities specialist typically earns $58,920 annually. Depending on your educational background and level of job experience, this number may change. Additionally, the pay for learning disability specialists varies depending on the towns and areas.

10 Online Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities

  1. American University

The Academic Support and Access center provides a support system for all students who require extra assistance, especially those taking courses online. Peer tutoring, additional teaching, and access to assistive technologies like text-to-speech software are all used to provide support.

2. Arcadia University

Arcadia University provides a range of services for students with disabilities, including training in time management, organization, and other learning skills. These services are provided by disability specialists, advanced peer tutors, and graduate assistants.

3. Indiana University

Students enrolled in the many online courses and academic programs provided by Indiana University receive assistance from a network of peer mentors and coordinators of disability services. Additionally, administrators collaborate on course design with pertinent groups, such the Access Technology Higher Education Network, in order to enhance their online offerings for all types of students.

4. James Madison University

All students, even those finishing one of the ten credit online degree programs and certificates, receive individualized academic counseling through learning techniques training through the Office of Disability Services.

5. Marshall University

Every semester, students at Marshall University have access to more than 150 e-course options as well as the Higher Education for Learning Problems (H.E.L.P.) center, which offers academic accommodations and support services for those with specific learning disabilities and/or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

6. Mitchell University

The three class modes that Mitchell University offers—traditional, online, and hybrid—are designed to accommodate different learning preferences. By creating individualized support programs for kids with learning difficulties and attention deficit disorders, their learning resource center, known as the Bentsen Learning Center Program, expands on such efforts. Additionally, their staff assists students in gaining self-advocacy and career ready skills.

7. Rutgers University

The Quality Matters Program, a national standard for online course design, served as the foundation for the planning and implementation of best practices for accessibility by the Rutgers University Online Accessibility Committee. According to these, each course must offer comparable alternatives to the content that is presented orally and visually, be easier to read and less distracting, and allow for the use of assistive devices.

8. The University of Arizona Outreach College

The University of Arizona Outreach College, which provides online courses and degree programs, has it covered when it comes to providing alternate learning methodologies for students who are not best served by brick-and-mortar institutions: For children who struggle with learning and attention, their Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center (SALT) offers tutoring and strategic learning tools.

9. Washington State University Global Campus

The Global Campus’s purpose is to “extend education beyond geographical limits,” but they also want to cross learning divides by including services for students with disabilities. Assessments for learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder are given by WSU Testing Services, and they also offer advice on how to lessen test anxiety. Additionally, its Access Center offers time management counseling, text-to-speech software, and peer mentorship.

10. University College at The University of Denver

The Learning Effectiveness Program, a fee-for-service program that offers academic counseling, subject-specific tutoring, time and organizational management, and mentorship, is available to students with learning difficulties and attention issues at University College.


One of the first things to think about if you want to specialize in learning impairments is how much schooling you’ll need. We found that bachelor’s degrees are held by 58.9% of learning disabilities specialists. In terms of higher education, we discovered that master’s degrees are held by 30.5% of learning disabilities specialists. Even though most learning disabilities specialists hold a college degree, becoming one with just a high school diploma or GED is not an option.

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