Special Education Teacher Qualifications

Special education teachers need advanced skills in assessment, planning, instruction, communication and classroom management. In addition to working with children who have disabilities or developmental delays, they work with children’s families and coordinate work with other educators.

States require all public school teachers to be licensed or certified by the state in which they work. Requirements for certification vary from state to state. However, all states require prospective teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher preparation program with student teaching experience. Some states offer alternative routes for potential special education teachers who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another subject area and want to switch career paths.

Many schools offer joint bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that allow students to earn both degrees at the same time. These programs typically require five years of study rather than six, though they are sometimes offered on a part-time basis that can extend the timeline even further. For example, some programs may be completed in four years by students attending full-time and six years by students attending part-time.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and an application to your state’s department of education. You’ll also need to pass the Praxis II exam, which is one of the exams required to become a certified teacher in your state. Finally, you’ll need to complete supervised teaching hours known as student teaching, which usually happens during your final semester of college.

Special education teacher qualifications are usually defined at the state level. A quick online search of your state department of education’s website will bring up the requirements for certification and licensure in your area.

In order to be certified by a particular state, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree in special education. There are different areas of specialization within this field—such as early childhood or specific learning disabilities—and the requirements vary by state, so it is important to do your research and make sure that you know what exactly is required for certification in your desired area and location.

Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you can then apply to a program for a master’s degree or doctorate in special education. Many states require you to have completed a master’s degree before applying for certification and licensure as a special education teacher.

A bachelor’s degree in education is required to become a special education teacher. Some states require an additional major or coursework in special education. For example, the state of Illinois requires applicants for licensure to show that they have taken at least one course in each of the following areas: reading instruction for learners with disabilities, mathematics instruction for learners with disabilities, behavioral intervention strategies, instructional methods for learners with disabilities, curriculum development for learners with disabilities, and educational assessment and evaluation of learners with disabilities.

Graduate degrees are also available in the field of special education. The Council for Exceptional Children recommends that individuals who want to become special education teachers pursue graduate programs in order to be able to keep up with current research findings and teaching methodologies in this field.

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