All Things Political

Special Education Teacher Training

All states require public special education teachers to have at least a bachelorís degree. Some of these teachers major in elementary education or a content area, such as math or chemistry, and minor in special education. Others get a degree specifically in special education.

In a program leading to a bachelor's degree in special training, prospective teachers learn about the different types of disabilities and how to present information so that special education students will understand. These programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. Some states require special education teachers to earn a masterís degree in special education after earning their teaching certification.

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Teachers in private schools do not need to meet state requirements. However, private schools typically seek teachers who have at least a bachelorís degree in special education.

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed. A license is frequently referred to as a certification. Those who teach in private schools are not required to be licensed.

Requirements for certification vary by state. However, all states require at least a bachelorís degree. They also require completing a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, which is typically gained through student teaching. Some states require a minimum grade point average.

Many states offer general special education licenses that allow teachers to work with students across a variety of disability categories. Others license different specialties within special education.

Teachers are often required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Most states require teachers to pass a background check. Some states require teachers to complete a masterís degree after receiving their certification.

Some states allow special education teachers to transfer their licenses from another state. However, some states require even an experienced teacher to pass their own licensing requirements.

All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelorís degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately, under the close supervision of an experienced teacher.

These alternative programs cover teaching methods and child development. When they finish the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can start to teach. Students may be awarded a masterís degree after completing either type of program. For more information about alternative certification programs, contact the National Center for Alternative Certification.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

Special Features:

Special Districts in the USA

School Districts in the USA

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