Now you can earn a Special Education Certification or Master's Degree via Online Study
special Education is a difficult but rewarding field that will provide great opportunities for the right student. Special needs teachers educate and assist the developmental processes of students with a wide range of emotional, mental, physical and behavioral challenges. They work with parents, administrators and local community and healthcare workers to ensure that these students receive the best possible education in the least restrictive environment.
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A recent study by the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) suggests that over 6.5 million students from between preschool and age 21 are in some kind of special needs classroom. Teachers in this field often work within a team consisting of student, general education teachers, school superintendents and parents to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) specific to each student’s needs.
Because of the unique challenges these teachers manage daily, it is a career path that not many teachers choose. This makes these teachers incredibly valuable, and in constant demand in schools and learning facilities around the U.S. In addition, the flexibility of gaining an online certification provides many students the opportunity to compete for the most prestigious positions without leaving their current job, and by completing courses on their own schedule.
What are the working conditions of a Special Education Teacher?
Special needs teachers’ duties vary by the type of setting they work in, student disabilities, and teacher specialty. Some special education teachers work in classrooms or resource centers that only include students with disabilities. While most special education teachers work in public or private schools, some work in child care centers, hospitals or residential facilities. Some even travel to students’ homes or teach over the internet.
Helping students with disabilities can be highly rewarding. It also can be quite stressful because of the high emotional and physical demands. These teachers often work long hours, even after their contracted work hours have ended, in order to complete paperwork and prepare the next day’s lessons. Often, they are required to meet with parents, students and wraparound support team members from the school system, legal system and larger community. In rare cases, special education teachers may need to be able to physically hold, move or restrain students, which can require physical stamina and strength. Many work the traditional 10-month school year, with a 2-month break during the summer. Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 8 weeks in a row, are on break for 1 week and have a 5-week midwinter break. .
What kind of education or licensure do I need?
Since the job market for special education teachers is likely to become increasingly competitive, it is vital for students to distinguish themselves through education and additional certification. While all states require teachers in public schools to be licensed and to have completed a state-approved preparation program, not all states require additional licensure or certification. This can provide access to top-level jobs and give students a competitive advantage in this career field.
As with all teaching career paths, education is the key to opportunity. In order to qualify for an entry-level position, it is necessary to have completed a bachelor’s degree in Special Education. However, this is only the first step. In order to be truly competitive in this field, many students consider an on-campus or online masters in special education. Some states even offer an alternative route to certification, through a hands-on master’s degree program for people who already have a bachelor’s degree. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately, under the close supervision of an experienced teacher.
Why should I choose an online degree?
Although the reasons for doing an online degree are as varied as there are students and schools, there is no denying that in this difficult need-to-schedule-everything world. Online degrees offer: Balance. Online degrees are designed to keep up with you, making it easier for “anytime, anywhere studying.
Online special education degree programs take advantage of the internet’s inherent ability for self-paced instruction, flexible adjunct faculty and student mentorship which helps adult learners save on tuition, instruction or other costs. Many students are choosing online professional certificate programs or masters in special education online because it allows them to continue working while they gain the education to land higher-paying positions. In addition, the explosive growth of accredited online degree programs means that it’s easier than ever to earn a flexible degree that is valuable to current and potential employers.