Special education teachers work with youths and children that may have a variety of disabilities. Such conditions often mean that the children require a unique method of instruction that a traditional teacher is not able to provide. Trained professionals like special education teachers can help students reach their potential. Many students can reach beyond what many may think was possible prior to the valuable instruction. Whether the student has an emotional, physical, or cognitive disability, an instructor who has the patience and understanding to work with special needs students can teach valuable life skills.
Studying as a special education teacher starts at the undergraduate level, where most students work through a bachelor’s program designed specifically for a special education career. Such schedules often include courses in disability identification and assessment, as well as classroom management. Some students focusing on special education may wish to focus on a particular subject – like math or writing – and courses are usually available to help meet such goals. After graduating and completing a student teaching internship, the special education teacher must acquire a teaching certificate from the state they plan to work in. Requirements will differ by state, and a comprehensive list of state requirements for special education teachers can be found here.
No disability is the same; a special education teacher must be able to develop the right curriculum that is balanced for an individual student’s abilities. Such planning is often referred to as an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is reviewed by the student’s parents and the school’s administrative board. Parents stay updated on student progress with counseling by the teacher on how they can help their child continue learning at home. The special education teacher’s involvement often goes beyond the classroom, helping the student develop crucial behavioral and social skills.
With improved diagnostic methods, the demand for special education teachers is expected to grow by 6% until 2024. The work environment for special education teachers is transitioning into more traditional settings, as more teach in their own classrooms or work in close collaboration with general education teachers. While not as common, some teachers work primarily outside of the classroom in work-at-home and hospital environments. Ardor Health assists special education teachers around the country find new career opportunities where they can develop their skills and help the community. View our special education teacher job listing today, or call 855-GO-ARDOR to speak with a representative.