Special Education Teacher

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The special education teacher education requirements are quite different from those of other teachers because they handle students with a variety of disabilities. The special education students that they teach have physical or mental disabilities that range from mild to moderate. Special education teacher required education may vary from state to state but generally special education teachers are required to complete a four-year special education teacher degree or a four-year baccalaureate course that includes general and special courses in special education.

In some cases, special education teachers need to enroll in special education teacher continuing education when they are required to obtain special education teacher certification and certificates. This will usually entail an additional year or so of training in the graduate level and another year of actual teaching training in a special education class. Typically, specialty training are in the field of learning disabilities or in behavior disorders.

Special Education Teacher Education Requirements

It generally takes more than four years to become a special education teacher because of the added training and other special education teacher requirements. A master’s degree in education or in special education will take two or more years of study and enrolling in a doctoral program, either in Ph. D. or Ed. D. programs will require two or more years of study.

A baccalaureate degree usually requires a cumulative 2.0 grade point average (GPA) but taking specialized courses in special education will require 2.0 or higher GPA.

What courses count towards Special Education Teacher education requirements

A student who is enrolled in a baccalaureate course in education or in a related degree that is geared towards meeting the special education teacher qualifications will have to take general education courses in the first two years of study. These general courses will include English, Mathematics, Psychology, History, Speech, and the basic Biological and Physical science subjects. The student will need to enroll in the last two years of study the major and minor courses leading to the requirements of special education teacher training. Subjects generally cover theories and principles of education, subjects on the different fields of special education that focus on learning disabilities, physical handicap, autism spectrum, emotional disturbances, and other courses that are geared towards meeting the licensure requirements. The student needs also to take up other areas as a means of diversifying and broadening his academic background. For this purpose, a student in the special education training course will benefit by enrolling in the different areas of Psychology as an added tool of handling a classroom of students with varying degrees of disability and handicap.

What are the financial requirements to become a Special Education Teacher

The cost of finishing a baccalaureate degree in special education may range from $5,000 to a high of $50,000 because of the added courses and training required before one may qualify to be a special education teacher. The cost will also be based on which school one will be enrolling in as expenses will definitely be higher in a big city than in a local college or university. Another factor to consider in determining the cost of special education training will be whether the student will be staying in-campus or off-campus. The cost of special education teaching degree will also go a lot higher when one takes a master’s degree and a doctoral degree.

While the cost of obtaining a degree in special education may be expensive compared to the cost of obtaining other degree programs, it is financially rewarding degree in addition to the fact that a special education teacher renders a very important service to a very special segment of the population – the handicap or disabled children. According to the 2008 report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a special education teacher in the elementary level earns an annual income of $50,020, the middle school special education teacher earns an $50,810, and those in the secondary level earn about $51,340 annually.

What are the continuing education requirements for Special Education Teacher

All of the fifty states require an individual to obtain a license before starting to teach in a special education classroom. An individual assessment is also required based on the state’s requirements. Also, a teacher training program which may take from one to two years and will include a hands-on teaching experience in actual classroom for special children is required.

Most states and most professional licensing organizations require applicants for teaching certification or credential to take the Praxis Series test. The Praxis Series tests measure the knowledge and skills of a teacher applicant and they include the following:

  • Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) – The series of tests measure basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills of the candidate for teacher certification.
  • Praxis II Subject Assessments – The tests measure knowledge of subject-specific content, general skills, and subject-specific skills that are required before one can begin teaching.

The Department of Education in each state generally requires candidates for special education teaching positions to obtain a science teacher certification and certificates in the field they want to teach. Each candidate for the special education teaching position needs to submit to the Board of Education of the state where he is planning to teach all educational requirements for the certification. The state Board of Education will issue the teaching certificate to the special education teacher once all the requirements have been met and approved.

What are the skills necessary to become a Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers must have the necessary skills to teach a special education population hence they must possess the following skills:

  • They must be skilled in the teaching methods for the special education setting that will always involve small-group learning, assignments on problem-solving, and individualized instruction based on the student’s disability.
  • The special education teachers must be organized, very patient, and understanding of the needs of the students who have special needs.
  • The special education teachers must be able to establish cooperation and communication in the classroom, taking into consideration the various and different needs of the students based on their different levels of disabilities.
  • The special education teachers must have a deep commitment to teach their students with their different forms and levels of disabilities.

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