All kids – no matter their race, background or ability level – deserve a quality education. Educational diagnosticians help kids with special needs or learning disabilities get the services and resources they need to be successful in a school setting. Also called educational assessors and learning consultants, a diagnostician’s job duties vary from state to state and even from school district to school district. The diagnostician salary depends mainly on previous years of experience, educational level and the area of the country.
Acting as an advocate for students with learning disabilities and other special needs, the educational diagnostician assures all students have the tools they need. They act as a liaison between the parents, students and teachers, helping all parties make educational decisions that benefit the student and fit his specific situation. A school diagnostician assesses students through testing and evaluations, and diagnoses various learning problems. Once a plan is in place for the student, the diagnostician helps track each student’s progress, making adjustments as needed. When a student receives a recommendation for an Individual Education Program, the diagnostician goes before the IEP committee to get it approved for the student and provides followup once the IEP is in place.
Just as the exact job description of a school diagnostician varies from state to state, the education requirements also differ depending on the employer. Typically, the diagnostician needs a master’s degree in education – some colleges and universities offer an educational diagnostician certificate as part of the degree. The University of Houston, for example, has an educational diagnostician certificate as part of its master’s degree program or as a stand-alone certificate for current teachers. Depending on the state, you may also need a state license for educational diagnosticians or licensure in a similar field, such as counseling or reading assessment. The Texas Educational Diagnostician Association has its own certification program for that state, and many other states have similar organizations. Some schools also require previous teaching experience or involvement with special needs children.
Educational diagnosticians work in a school setting, assisting in preschools, high schools and every level in between. The job involves a lot of collaboration, not just with students, teachers and parents, but also with other specialists like speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, and school counselors. Diagnosticians generally follow the school calendar, getting breaks for summer, winter and spring – similar to a teacher’s schedule.
Years of Experience and Salary
The median wage for special education teachers, which diagnosticians fall under, is $58,980, as of 2017. This means that half of workers in this field made less, while half made more. The lowest 10 percent make $38,660, while the top 10 percent makes $95,320. Years of experience count toward obtaining employment, but don’t make much of a difference in a diagnostician's salary. In larger school districts that employ more than one diagnostician, there is opportunity for advancement to the role of head diagnostician or manager of a diagnostician team.
Job Growth Trend
According to the Personal Improvement Center, there is a shortage of educational diagnosticians in many school districts, and the need for diagnosticians will continue to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field of special education teachers to grow 8 percent between 2016 and 2026, a bit higher than the 7 percent average across all occupations.