Where Do You Start?
While special education may seem broad and overwhelming, there is an area of focus for everyone involved in the field. If you’re considering a career in special education, it might be beneficial to ask yourself the following questions: What are you passionate about? What drives you in the classroom? Are there any additional specializations or certifications you want to pursue? Thinking these through will help you as you examine the opportunities in special education.
What are you passionate about? What drives you in the classroom? Are there any specializations or certifications you want to pursue?
Teachers can find the best way to communicate with their students through innovative and creative teaching methods. It is important to remember that, although this field can be challenging, the rewards abound. Celebrating any amount of progress a student makes is essential in their educational development and enables a teacher to identify the impact they have in a student’s life.
What Special Education Jobs Are Out There?
Whether you are brand new to your job as a special education teacher or have been in the field for years, all career paths merit proper training. In the past, the demand for special education teachers exceeded the supply, and the gap between students in need and available teachers was large. For example, students with dyslexia may not have had the specialized education they needed; a teacher with no background in teaching dyslexic students would have to help them. This proved to be challenging for both the student and teacher. However, as school systems continue to recognize the growing need for special education teachers, the market has become more competitive.
As mentioned in a previous article, IDEA was designed for students with disabilities. The act works with governmental supporting agencies and states to help provide all types of assistance for children with disabilities. Part B, the main portion of IDEA, focuses on students from ages 3-21 and their educational progress. By bringing this issue and need to the forefront, IDEA has helped create educational opportunities for students and teachers alike. Jobs that cater directly to the needs of students with disabilities have increased, and the accompanying training programs have become easily accessible.
Setting Yourself Apart as a Special Education Teacher
Given the increased popularity of teaching special education, it is important to set yourself apart as an educator. A master’s degree allows you to build on prior knowledge and further your skill set. Choosing a specialization or accompanying degree can be beneficial in the job market. For instance, if you are interested in working with students who are on the autism spectrum you should find a master’s program, that focuses on working with the autistic community. If you enjoy music and see the benefits it offers in teaching special education, you may want to supplement your degree with a music certification. Specific certifications can work well with students of varying learning and developmental disabilities.
Choosing a specialization or an accompanying degree can be beneficial in the job market.
Furthermore, if you have experience as a special education teacher but want to positively impact the entire program in your school, consider an administrative position. An administrator is able to design the teaching curriculum, implement after-school activities, and generally shape the special education community. However, it may require additional schooling. Regardless of your direction, familiarize yourself with masters’ degrees or certifications that will enhance the education and training you already have. It will help secure the right position for you and, ultimately, aid in your students’ overall educational development.