Are you a patient, understanding, and accepting person of others' differences? If you think you maintain organization while motivating students, you should consider a teaching career in Special Education. These teachers work closely with special needs students, establish meaningful and long-lasting relationships, and exhibit a deep heart and warmth vital to their development. Special education teachers must use creativity and apply different teaching methods to reach students displaying learning difficulties. Communication and cooperation are also essential skills for teachers as they spend a lot of time interacting with students, parents, and school faculty and administrators.
Federal and state laws require every student with a disability, regardless of its nature, receive an adequate or more education. Therefore, whether due to physical, mental, or psychological disabilities, these students must be taught by specifically trained professionals. These laws also dictate all students should receive their education in the least restrictive manner possible. In some cases, that means placing a special needs child into a regular school classroom in order to educate them alongside other students that are not disabled. However, the level of need for some special education students makes classroom integration impossible. Due to these factors, students enrolled in special education degree programs learn how to teach in a range of different environments.
Aspiring special education teachers must complete a degree program that will prepare them to work with special-needs children. Since special education can encompass any academic subject or life skill, graduates must be knowledgeable in a variety of subjects. Every student is different and the settings in which a special educator serves constantly changes. Therefore, most degree programs include general coursework on institutional education as well as specialized courses relating to various disabling conditions and training in a diverse curriculum.
Bachelor degree programs covers general education courses in addition to special education coursework. They take classes in general studies, education, psychology, child growth and development, and others specializing in the knowledge and skills needed for educating students with disabilities. They also participate in supervised experiences, classroom visits, and student teaching.
In addition to holding a least a bachelor's degree in special education, special education teachers must obtain necessary certification and licensure from their state. Although some private schools may hire unlicensed specialists, public schools only hire licensed teachers. In order to apply for a license, graduates first pass a set of standardized tests that vary from state to state. However, many states in urgent need of specialists do offer alternative licensure programs to attract college graduates who do not have formal training in education. Alternative licenses offer less stringent requirements and in turn bring qualified college graduates wanting to change careers into teaching at an accelerated rate. These individuals can begin teaching immediately, while earning their regular license or by taking additional coursework and teaching under the supervision of licensed teachers.
Special education teachers are an essential part of any school system and thus always in demand. Excellent job prospects exist due to rising enrollments of special education students and reported shortages of qualified teachers. Most work for public or private school systems. Some are even employed by correctional facilities to educate delinquent juveniles with learning disabilities, behavioral issues, or physical handicaps. Special education graduates can also fill some important roles within shelters, residential facilities, mental health institutions, and homebound or hospital environments. Private learning centers employ special education teachers to help special needs students with subject-specific coursework. Legislation encouraging early intervention and special education for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers also creates a need for early childhood special education teachers.