A Special Education teaching certificate is a great investment in your future, providing a path for you to make a difference in the lives of children while choosing a field that is experiencing a shortage of qualified applicants.
Special Education programs cover a wide variety of impediments to learning, but are in general designed for students who are mentally, physically, socially and/or emotionally delayed.
This aspect of “delay,” or more broadly referred to as a developmental delay, represents an aspect of the child’s overall development (physical, cognitive, scholastic skills) that places him or her behind peers.
Because of these special requirements, students’ needs often cannot be met inside a traditional classroom exclusively. Special Education programs and services adapt content, teaching methodology and delivery instruction to meet the needs of a child.
Though all teachers make a difference in the lives of students, as a Special Education teacher, you have the unique opportunity to work with individual students who may need more specialized attention.
Working with Special Education students who have special needs can be rewarding for both you and the student, and give you an opportunity to truly get to know your students.
That’s because Special Education classrooms are typically smaller than a traditional classroom, giving you a better opportunity to work one-on-one with students to address their specific needs without taking away from the group as a whole.
This, in turn, will create a different level of personal investment and relationship bonding between you and the student that is meaningful.
As a classroom teacher, you’ll also have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those surrounding the students as well, since Special Education is typically a team effort. While Individual Education Plans (IEPs) incorporate the expertise of several professionals who will assist the child, family members also can work cooperatively with you to provide support at home.
Special Ed Positions Need Filled
If you’re interested in becoming a special education teacher, the state of Texas is likely looking for you.
That’s because in Texas, about 1 of every 8 Texas public school students needs special education services, according to theTexas Education Agency.
However, the state employs only 20,000 special education teachers to serve its school districts. In fact, Texas is one of 48 states that has reported a shortage of qualified Special Education teachers.
This makes Special Education one of the most in-demand teaching areas in Texas. And, while not exclusive to Texas, it is a growing need that may help you land a Special Education teacher job faster since districts may be looking to fill positions more quickly to meet immediate needs.
They Offer Great Pay And Benefits
Pay and benefits always vary by district, but in general, Special Education teachers typically receive great pay and benefits.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a Special Education teacher was $59,780 in May 2018. This means half of workers in this occupation earned more than this amount, and half earned less.
Alternative certification programs offer a nontraditional route for students to earn their teaching licenses in Texas while completing their requirements. Special Education is one of the areas in which students may earn certification through an alternative program.
Because of the shortage in Special Education teaching applicants, many school districts, administrators and alternative certification programs are actively looking for you if you have an interest in this area.
If you’re considering earning your teacher certification through an alternative program, you’re not alone. In fact, nearly half of all teachers are prepared through this type of program. That’s because the best alternative certification programs offer:
Flexibility and convenience
Better course availability
An extensive network
A combination of training methods
Test preparation help
Before enrolling, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with any requirements you must meet. Our article, Online Teacher Certification Texas Rules, will provide you with an overview of degree and training requirements, as well as what you should know if you’ve engaged in coursework or other training in another state.
Special Education teachers are in high demand and offer a great way to make a difference in students’ lives.
These types of positions provide a host of benefits, from great pay to smaller classrooms. And, though challenging, the personal and professional rewards are meaningful.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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