Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and succeed. If you want to help others realize their full potential in life, one of the most rewarding career paths you can take is to become a special education teacher. However, there are many steps that you need to take before becoming a special education teacher, including earning a college degree and passing the state licensing exam.
The first step you need to take is earning your bachelor’s degree in special education or a similar field, such as elementary education or special education general curriculum. A bachelor’s degree will give you the necessary foundation of knowledge and skills to prepare you for teaching students with disabilities, including methods for working with students who have developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder and physical disabilities. Throughout your studies, you’ll take classes related to the field of education and complete an internship that will provide hands-on experience teaching students with disabilities.
Pursuing a career in special education means you are ready to work with students who have specific learning needs. This job is not for the faint of heart, but if you have the love, patience and drive to help those who need it most, then this might be the path for you.
Special education teachers are employed by school districts and private institutions to help provide students with a variety of specialized care. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 students will need some form of special education services during their school years.
These students may have learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, cognitive disabilities, emotional disturbances or behavioral problems. They may even have physical impairments that limit their ability to learn in a traditional environment.
for these students, the goal of special education is to help them improve the skills they need to function in life and develop independence. Special educators use different methods depending on the student’s needs and abilities and often collaborate with parents and other professionals in order to create plans for each student.
There are a number of steps involved in becoming a special education teacher, including earning a bachelor’s degree, obtaining a teaching license, and passing the tests required by your state. Many states also require prospective teachers to complete additional coursework or training in order to become certified in this field.
In addition to the educational requirements, many states also require that prospective teachers pass a criminal background check. Prospective special education teachers should also demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively and compassionately with students who have various challenges.
Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities. Special education teachers work with general education teachers to present the information in a way that their students can understand.
They often meet with parents, teachers, counselors and administrators to develop an individualized education plan for each student. This plan will be designed to promote students’ educational, physical and social development.
In order to become a special education teacher, you must complete a bachelor’s degree in special education or a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an endorsement in special education. Usually, it is recommended to obtain a master’s degree at the same time that you get your certification.
Start by earning your bachelor’s degree in special education from a four-year college or university. You can check out the Council for Exceptional Children for more information about programs and which schools are accredited.
Next, you’ll need to complete your teacher preparation program. This will include fieldwork and student teaching experiences as well as coursework requirements. Some states require that you complete both programs for your license.
After completing your teacher preparation program, take the Praxis II Special Education test. This exam is offered through Educational Testing Service (ETS). The Praxis tests are designed to check the abilities of aspiring teachers to practice their craft effectively and efficiently. Upon passing this test, you will be granted a license/certification in special education by the state board of education where you will be teaching.