Demand increasing for special ed. doctorates

By Dave Heaton

Although the recession is cutting jobs in some fields, an NIU professor said the demand for people with special education doctorates is on the rise.

“Everyone who has graduated from NIU’s special ed. doctoral program has received employment at locations of their choice,” said Alan Repp, an NIU professor of educational psychology, counseling and special education.

Repp said the graduates work as professors, administrators or specialists of structural design. The design specialists come up with programs for teaching disabled students, he added.

The increase in positions for special education doctoral candidates is due to a greater demand for special education instructors, Repp said.

“People called mentally retarded are able to live longer lives today because of medical advances,” Repp said. “The retarded and autistic used to be in institutions, but now are being educated in the regular school system.”

Although there are more positions available in the doctoral program, Repp said the amount of applicants has decreased. “This could be due to a general decrease of people going into special education. Currently, more people are going toward the business sector.”

Repp said this situation is not exclusive to NIU, it is occurring all around the country.

The requirements for acceptance into the NIU doctoral program for special education are an 1100 score on the Graduate Record Exam and at least two years experience in special education as a teacher, researcher or administrator.

Repp said the doctoral program takes about five years, and most students have received financial aid.

From 1986-89, the financial aid came from doctoral grants from the federal government. Repp said there are currently two kinds of grants available to help doctoral students: training grants and a program called Aid for Doctoral Students. In the next few months, NIU will find out if they will receive grants for the fall of 1992.