If you enjoy working with children and really want to make a difference, consider a career in special education. Special educators play a very important role; They provide support to help students with disabilities and other special needs access the curriculum.
Special education teachers have a rewarding but challenging job. I can definitely confirm this.
Taking care of paperwork and planning was never easy, but in the end it was worth it when I saw the gains and progress my students made while learning the curriculum.
If you think being a special education teacher is right for you, you probably have a lot of questions about what you should do to make that happen! I'm here to help you learn more about what makes a special education teacher and to tell you more about what you need to do to start your career as a special education teacher.
Read and I will share:
- How to become a special education teacher →
- What does a special education teacher do→
- The requirements to become a special education teacher→
- Steps to becoming a special education teacher→
Once you've completed your certification and are ready to be hired for a special education teaching position, there are a few things you can do.
By following these suggestions, you can ensure that you land a special education teaching position at a school you'll love.
1. Focus on your resume
Before talking to potential employers, you should first make sure your resume is in perfect condition. Be sure to highlight any relevant work experience and your teaching experience as a student.
2. Have a solid list of references to share
In addition to a strong resume, you'll also want a list of references to share with potential employers. Consider listing your mentor professors from your undergraduate teaching experience, professors from recent college classes, and past employers, even if they are not in education.
3. Schedule multiple interviews
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you've made plans to work at a particular school, it's still important to schedule additional interviews at other schools. There's no guarantee you'll get your first choice, and you'll want to have some backup options available.
4. Write a cover letter
Include a cover letter with your resume for each position you are interviewing for. You can write a simple cover letter, but be sure to customize it for the specific school you are applying to. This shows that you did your research before the interview and also helps you stand out from other candidates.
5. Practice for your interview
Find a friend to help you practice for your interview. Print out some common interview questions for yourself to ask and practice how you will answer them during the interview.
6. Showcase your achievements
Bring a digital or print portfolio that highlights your achievements during your teaching experience as a student. Add examples of lesson plans, student work, and other ways you've helped your students reach their IEP goals.
7. Show your passion
Don't be afraid to express your passion for the field of special education during the interview. This helps potential employers see that you are the best person for the job.
8. Consider substitute classes for the district or school where you want to work
If you are not hired after the first round of interviews, consider taking substitute classes for a year or more at the schools you want to work for. This will help administrators and other building professionals see your dedication and determination, and potentially increase the likelihood that you will be considered should a vacancy arise in the future.
The job of a special education teacher is complex and can vary by position. Some special education teachers support students in the general education classroom and help make curriculum and grade-level standards more accessible.
Other special education teachers may teach in an independent model. These teachers work with the same students in a classroom throughout the day and may teach a modified version of the program depending on their students' specific IEP goals.
The following list shows some of the many responsibilities a special education teacher may be responsible for. Again, you may or may not be responsible for everything on the list, depending on your specific learning.
- Work with students with intellectual or physical disabilities to help them access the curriculum. This could include working with them in their general education classroom and/or taking them in for additional support.
- You should adapt lessons to the specific needs of each student as needed. For example, you may need to provide scaffolding or additional support to solve a math problem, or use a document camera to make smaller objects appear larger to a visually impaired student.
- Write IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) for your students based on their needs. This includes setting goals for students and listing the strategies and support they receive from you and other teachers who work with them to help them achieve those goals.
- Monitor your students' progress toward IEP goals.
- Share resources and strategies with general education teachers that they can use to differentiate teaching for special education teachers in their class. For example, you can share tips on how to engage students in the classroom by using the interactive whiteboard in the classroom.
- Hold regular meetings with general education teachers to review each of your students' progress toward achieving the goals outlined in their IEP.
- Schedule year-long meetings with parents, administrators, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and other stakeholders to discuss each child's progress toward their goals and review, add, or delete goals in their IEP.
- Work with parents to provide resources and strategies they can use to help their child at home.
- Helping students succeed after high school.
What do you think? Does becoming a special education teacher sound like something you're interested in?
In the next few paragraphs, I will share with you what you need to do to make your dream of becoming a special education teacher a reality.
The requirements to become a special education teacher can vary slightly depending on the state in which you want to teach. Therefore, be sure to cross-check the information provided below with the specific information provided by the county or state in which you wish to work.
The following are some of the general requirements needed to become a special education teacher:
- Bachelor of Education
- Master's in Special Education (in various states)
- Pass all state-mandated exams
- Getting state recognition
- Complete continuing education courses throughout your career to maintain your certification
Since you are a special education teacher, some of your job requirements include:
- Type IEP (Individualized educational programs) for their students.
- Guide students toward achieving the goals set out in their IEP.
- Conducting educational tests to assess students and their level.
- Working with general education teachers to differentiate teaching to meet the needs of special education students.
- Prepare the necessary materials and tools to help students access the curriculum and succeed.
- Communication with parents about their child's development.
- Hold annual meetings with parents, administrators, and other stakeholders to review and amend each student's IEP as needed.
In addition, there are some general skills and personality types that usually translate to success as a special education teacher. These include:
- calming nature
- Strong communication skills
Are you ready to learn the steps on how to become a special education teacher? Remember, as I mentioned above, each state has its own set of regulations, so be sure to check those too.
Here are the general steps to follow to get hired as a special education teacher:
1. Complete coursework for your bachelor's degree
The first thing you need to do is earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Depending on what's offered at your chosen school, some bachelor's degree options include elementary school, special education, general education, or a specific subject you want to specialize in, like science or math. Many states and counties also require individuals to obtain a master's degree before working as a special education teacher. Check the requirements in your state to confirm if this is necessary before applying for a job.
2. Complete a teaching or educational internship for students
In many cases, a student teaching internship is one of the required courses before a bachelor's degree. However, in some cases it may be necessary to complete a separate educational internship if one is not included in your degree. During your internship, you will receive invaluable practice and support from real students. Be sure to record yourself at the beginning of your internship and at the end of your classes so you can see your growth.
3. Get government certification
Once you earn your bachelor's degree (and possibly your master's degree), you must meet all other requirements set by the state before receiving certification. In many cases, it is necessary to pass certain tests determined by the state.
4. Decide on the desired position
Evaluate the type of position you would like to be hired for. Would you like to teach your own class with all students with special needs or would you rather work for a school where you support students with special needs in a general education classroom?
5. Interview for pending recruitment positions
I'll get into this step in a little more detail below, but the next thing you need to do to become a special education teacher is to schedule a lot of interviews until the right job is found.
6. Be an eternal learner
To keep your special education teacher license current, you must attend continuing education courses. If you didn't need to complete a master's degree before starting your career as a special education teacher, now might be the right time to apply to a master's program.
Do you have a bachelor's degree? Interested in him, K-12. Becoming a Special Education Teacher in Las Cruces Public Schools 🏫! Become a licensed instructor through NMSU's THRIVE program!pic.twitter.com/Mrhrg8abbh
– Dr. McCarthy. Michael Angel Serrano (@MASerrano20)August 14, 2021
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Becoming a special education teacher takes a lot of work and dedication. In the end though, it will be worth it when you make such a huge impact in your students' lives.
Did I answer your questions about becoming a special education teacher? What grades do you think you would like to maintain after earning your certification as a special education teacher?
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Special education teachers typically do the following: Assess students' skills and determine their educational needs. Adapt general lessons to meet students' needs. Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student.What are the 3 most important roles of a special education teacher? ›
Special education teachers typically do the following: Assess students' skills and determine their educational needs. Adapt general lessons to meet students' needs. Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student.What hard skills do you need to be a special education teacher? ›
- Adaptability. Classrooms can be unpredictable. ...
- Collaboration. ...
- Communication skills. ...
- Compassion. ...
- Devotion to improvement. ...
- Assessment skills. ...
- Knowledge of theory and practice. ...
- Listening skills.
|Education/Experience Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Exam Requirements||EAS CST edTPA DASA|
|Certification Renewal Period||Five years (initial certificate)|
|Requirements for Renewal||Initial certificate cannot be renewed|
- Complete a Special Education College Program. ...
- Complete Practical Special Education Teacher Requirements. ...
- Complete the FTCE Tests. ...
- Step 4: Obtain Special Education Teacher Certification. ...
- Maintain and Renew Teaching License.
A good special education teacher needs to be patient and understand her students better to help them learn. Acceptance : Special education teachers work with disabled students with various problems. Irrespective of the issues, these professionals must accept all the children and interact with love and respect.What are the seven key roles for teachers? ›
- Providing mentorship. ...
- Inspiring learners. ...
- Nurturing healthy curiosity in learners. ...
- Creating meaningful learning experiences. ...
- Leveraging technology to support learning. ...
- Mediating and liaising. ...
- Researching learning strategies.
Working as a special education teacher still comes with a unique set of challenges. These educators often face stressful situations with students who live with emotional or behavioral disabilities. They may also work with various grade levels and standards, plus struggle to secure resources.What is the most difficult skill to teach? ›
With listening skills usually requiring a considerably long period of time to acquire, normally involving the student experiencing a variety of emotions ranging from depression and frustration through to exhilaration and pride, teaching listening skills is one of the most difficult tasks that a teacher faces.What makes a special education teacher unique? ›
An important quality a special education teacher must possess is creativity. All students have different learning styles. Some are audio learners, while others may be visual or kinesthetic learners. Teachers must have the ability to adapt their lessons in a way that it plays to each child's strengths.
|Years of experience||Per year|
|1 to 2 years||$63,328|
|3 to 5 years||-|
|6 to 9 years||$72,364|
|More than 10 years||$79,978|
To work as a teacher or substitute teacher in New York City, you will need to have a teaching certificate issued by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) or have a bachelor's degree and complete an alternative program that allows you to earn the certificate while you work, such as the New York City Teaching ...What qualifications do you need to substitute teach in NY? ›
Experience. No experience is necessary if you work fewer than 40 days per school year in any one New York school district. If you work a long-term position (more than 40 days per school year), you must have either student teaching experience or teaching experience under a New York teaching certificate.How much a special ed teacher makes in Florida? ›
The average salary for a special education teacher in Florida is $46,000 per year.Can you become a teacher without a teaching degree in Florida? ›
Florida Teaching Requirements
Florida lets workers with non-teaching bachelor's degrees enter the profession with temporary licenses. The state gives these teachers three years to complete a teacher-preparation program and apply for a professional license.
FTCE Passing Scores and Pass Rate
On the other hand, the two least difficult test subjects are the General Knowledge sub-level Reading Test, and Engineering and Technology Education 6-12 test, with passing raw scores of 75% or higher.
It may be because you have a child or other family member who has special needs. It may be because you love working with children and want to take on the challenges that come with ensuring special education students have their educational needs met.What are the 3 important components that make up special education? ›
That's three separate, distinct, and critical elements–special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services–and each is worthy of a book on its own. Don't worry!What is my goal as a special education teacher? ›
A special education teacher's goal should always be to advocate for individualized education for all students with disabilities. Teaching your students to advocate for themselves as they get older is critical as well.What are the six qualities of a teacher? ›
- Sense of Humor. ...
- Intrinsic Motivation. ...
- Flexibility. ...
- Gratitude. ...
- Persistent and Consistent. ...
- Belief in All Children.
- Plan lessons and instruct their students in the subject they teach.
- Assess students' abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Adapt lessons to changes in class size.
- Grade students' assignments and exams.
- Communicate with parents about students' progress.
- Knowledge. Effective teachers possess a well-grounded knowledge of the content areas that are central to their teaching. ...
- Learning Environment. ...
- Personalized Learning. ...
- Community. ...
- Critical Reflection. ...
Maryland has the highest special education teacher salary of $76,282. Mississippi has the lowest special education teacher salary of $38,081. The national average salary for special education teachers is $54,290.Is being a special ed teacher stressful? ›
Special education teachers have many responsibilities from providing special education services to advocating for students to adapting to changes that leave them prone to stress or exhaustion.What are disadvantages of special education? ›
Cons Special education students are sometimes separated from the rest of the class, which can be isolating. Pros Students receive a specialized approach to their education. Cons There's a potential for students to experience stigma. Pros Students receive access to resources they otherwise wouldn't have.What is the easiest class to teach? ›
- Physical Education. ...
- Art. ...
- Music. ...
- Science. ...
- Health. ...
- Spelling. ...
- History. There are several reasons why history is the easiest subject to teach to students. ...
- Cooking. Cooking is an easy subject to teach to students for a number of reasons.
- Moonwalk. MihranTV. ...
- Twirl A Pen. SAMTIME. ...
- Tell Great Stories. Some folks tell stories that captivate the entire room, regardless of the topic. ...
- Tie A Tie. ...
- Juggle. ...
- Play The Piano.
"Difficult" or "challenging" topics to teach include racism, violence, genocide, bullying, gangs, abuse (physical, emotional, and substance), slavery, suffering, hatred, terrorism, war, disease, loss, addiction, and more.What are the disadvantages of being a special education teacher? ›
Special education teachers frequently face exceptionally upsetting days. They often experience more than one issue or struggle a day. Since they work with students with physical and behavioral disabilities, special education teachers might confront students' outbursts, fits of rage, and any other wild way of behaving.What is another name for a special education teacher? ›
Special education teachers might also be called inclusive education teachers or learning support teachers.
The findings of the study showed that the most important skills that should be acquired in inclusive classes are self-acquaintance, communication, and empathy. Keywords: Inclusive education, empathic skill, students with special needs.What is the lowest salary for a special education teacher? ›
The base salary for Special Education Teacher ranges from $47,972 to $79,695 with the average base salary of $60,857. The total cash compensation, which includes base, and annual incentives, can vary anywhere from $47,972 to $79,695 with the average total cash compensation of $60,857.What is top pay for NYC teachers? ›
For 2021-22, starting salaries for teachers range from $61,070 (bachelor's degree, no prior teaching experience) to $83,972 (master's degree, eight years teaching experience, without additional coursework). New teachers with a master's degree but no prior teaching experience will earn $68,252.How much do elementary special education teachers get paid in New York? ›
The average Elementary Special Education Teacher salary in New York, NY is $41,429 as of May 01, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $35,529 and $49,358.Can I teach in NYS with a bachelor's degree? ›
To teach in New York, candidates must earn a bachelor's degree and/or complete a teacher preparation program and pass state certification exams. All teachers, administrators, and pupil personnel service providers at K-12 public schools in New York require certification through NYSED.Can I teach in NY without certification? ›
New York State requires that all teachers, school leaders (administrators), and pupil personnel service providers who are employed or wish to become employed in the State's public schools hold a New York State certificate.How much do substitute teachers make in NYC per day? ›
The daily rate of pay, effective May 14, 2021 is $199.27. Substitute Paraprofessionals: Effective May 14, 2021, the daily pay rate for a substitute paraprofessional is $166.67 based on a workday of (6) hours and fifty (50) minutes, inclusive of lunch. The student day ends after 6 hours and 20 minutes.How do substitute teachers get paid NYC? ›
Substitute teachers can be paid weekly or monthly depending on the school.Can you substitute teach in NY without a degree? ›
New York state does not have a minimum educational requirement for substitute teachers, but some schools, districts, and substitute teacher companies do. For example, Swing Education requires all of its New York substitute teachers to hold a bachelor's degree.
If you're working towards your teacher certification and work more than 40 days, you must alternatively provide proof of your teacher education courses, totaling at least 6 credits during the year or a maximum of 21 credits.
How much does an Entry Level Teacher make in Florida? The average Entry Level Teacher salary in Florida is $40,495 as of May 01, 2023, but the range typically falls between $33,818 and $49,386.What school district pays teachers the most in Florida? ›
- Boca Raton, FL. $60,960 per year. 68 salaries reported.
- West Palm Beach, FL. $56,422 per year. 108 salaries reported.
- Miami, FL. $55,974 per year. 163 salaries reported.
- Tampa, FL. $54,341 per year. ...
- Orlando, FL. $52,932 per year. ...
- Show more nearby cities.
While teachers with a bachelor's degree and minimal experience earn a base salary of $39,670, Florida teacher salary can increase to $59,050 for educators with a master's degree and 20+ years of experience.Is a Masters in Education the same as a Masters in Teaching? ›
The primary distinction is that the master's in teaching focuses more directly on teaching and classroom management. In contrast, the master's in education is a broader degree, applicable to a classroom career but also to jobs in administration, curriculum development, and education policy.Is a bachelor's degree required to teach in Florida? ›
Anyone applying for teaching certification in Florida must complete a bachelor's degree and an educator preparation program. First-time college students can select from a list of state-approved educator preparation programs throughout the state that offer both in-person and online learning options.Is the FTCE K 6 exam hard? ›
In addition to being challenging, the K-6 exam is long. The first time you take the K-6, you'll need to take all four subtests. This can take almost five hours. However, using our FTCE K-6 Study Guide and practice tests can help prepare you for this lengthy exam.What is the hardest certification exam? ›
- Civil Services Exam (CSE)
- Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.
- ICAI CA Exams.
- CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert)
- Mensa International.
In particular, the FTCE General Knowledge test is hard due to its multiple subtests. While other exams, like the FTCE Professional Education Test or any of the FTCE Subject Area Exam, likely consist of only one section, the General Knowledge exam requires candidates to prepare for four different content areas.What are the 3 functions of the teacher? ›
- Educator. The most widely acknowledged role played by the teacher is that of the educator - to teach knowledge, typically academic in nature. ...
- Role Model. A second important role played by teachers is that of a role model. ...
Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.
Special education teachers help students who have various disabilities to overcome the unique challenges associated with their disabilities. Here a just a few of the rewards and benefits that come from a career in special education.What are the 6 pillars of idea special education? ›
- Individualized Education Program (IEP). ...
- Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). ...
- Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). ...
- Appropriate Evaluation. ...
- Parent and Teacher Participation. ...
- Procedural Safeguards.
- Behavior (Keep scrolling)
- Limited English proficiency.
- Blindness or visual impairment.
- Communication needs/Deafness.
- Assistive technology.
Answer and Explanation: The behavior, limited English proficiency, blind or visually impaired, communication needs or deaf or hard of hearing, and assistive technology are the five factors that IEP team must determine to make special education effective for the students with disabilities.How will you manage a lazy student? ›
- Identify their “type” ...
- Stop effusive praise. ...
- Highlight the positive. ...
- Foster a threat-free classroom. ...
- Take the focus off extrinsic motivation. ...
- Embrace routine. ...
- Encourage friendly competition. ...
- Get out of the classroom.
Dedication. One of the most important parts of teaching is having dedication. Teachers not only listen, but also coach and mentor their students. They are able to help shape academic goals and are dedicated to getting their students to achieve them.What are the 5 qualities of a good teacher? ›
- Patient and approachable. They say that 'patience is a virtue', and this couldn't be more true for teachers. ...
- Enthusiastic. ...
- Strong communication skills. ...
- Strong knowledge and a solid education. ...
- Disciplined and professional.
- Adaptability. Adaptability is a must for teachers, who need to continuously evaluate what's working for their students — and even more importantly, what isn't working. ...
- Empathy. ...
- Patience. ...
- Engagement. ...
- Active Listening. ...
- Lifelong Learning. ...
- Free of Bias. ...
- Respectful Attitude.
It empowers you to be an advocate for social justice, inside and outside the classroom. Studying special education will stir you to look for ways to harness the positive power of diversity in classrooms, school districts, and communities.What is in an inclusive classroom? ›
An inclusive classroom is a general education classroom where students with and without learning differences learn together. Inclusive classrooms are welcoming and support the diverse academic, social, emotional, and communication needs of all students.