For special education professionals, choosing a specialty can have personal and professional benefits. Focusing on one area allows you to tailor your training and professional development in a defined space. It enables you to develop your expertise into a valuable career advantage. From a personal standpoint, specialization provides the opportunity to concentrate on the role that is most fulfilling, and where you feel you can make the best contribution to the profession and society.
There are many paths within the realm of special education, so there are many options to help you find the role that best fits your individual needs and goals.
Here are just a few of the diverse avenues of specialization available in special education.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied behavior analysis involves the study of human behavior – or why people do the things they do. In an educational setting, it is used to understand why students act in particular ways. The results of this type of analysis are used to build an educational strategy that supports the student’s needs and gives them the best quality of life. If you are interested in this field, you might consider pursuing a Master’s in Special Education, Applied Behavior Analysis Emphasis, such as the one offered by George Mason University.
Language and Cultural Diversity
Some educational institutions serve culturally diverse communities where a variety of languages are spoken. Since students are more likely to thrive and succeed when supported by professionals with whom they can communicate effectively, there is a need for multilingual special education professionals.
For those who would enjoy honing and combining their teaching and linguistic skill sets, a Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners Graduate Program, such as the one George Washington University offers, would be a smart option to consider.
Young adults with educational challenges are often particularly in need of support when deciding which path to pursue after completing their secondary education. This is a time when professionals in the special education field can play a pivotal role, assisting with the transition into adulthood, and perhaps paving the way to a future career.
One way to obtain the qualifications needed to help special needs students navigate their postsecondary options is by completing a program such as theGraduate Certificate in Transition Special Education available through George Washington University.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 school-age children have been diagnosed with autism in the U.S. That creates a significant need for educational resources and professionals who can support young people with an autism spectrum disorder. These students have specific educational needs and challenges, and professionals with expertise in this area can help ensure programs are designed to best meet those needs while also accommodating the individual learning styles of the children.
Completion of a program focusing solely on this area such as the Master of Science in Special Education – Autism Spectrum Disorder offered by Saint Joseph’s University can provide an excellent foundation for this career path.
Support for Hearing-impaired Students
Without the proper support and resources, students who are deaf or have profound hearing loss may struggle academically, especially if they also have educational challenges. It’s a relatively rare combination for professionals with special education training to also be able to communicate with hearing-impaired students.
To achieve these qualifications, you could consider a program such as the Master of Science in Education – Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing PK-12 certification offered by Saint Joseph’s University.
Learn more about specializations offered in our favorite online degree and certification programs.