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Finding Special Needs Teacher Jobs

written by: Deidra Alexander•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 5/5/2010

Special Education is a field always in need of individuals dedicated and sensitive to the needs of their students. Because of this need there are many employment opportunities in the area of special education. This article discusses several special needs teacher jobs.

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    If you are thinking of starting a career in education or finishing a degree in this area, you are definitely in luck when it comes to a wide range of possibilities and directions to take your career. This is a fast growing field with projected increase hires in all 50 states within the next several years. The influx of program expansions is a direct connection to the rise in need. With this fact, it should also be evident that special needs teacher jobs come in all shapes and forms set by degree concentration and degree level.

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    Bachelor's Degree in Special Education

    Adaptive Physical Education Teacher

    A bachelor’s in physical education along with training in special education is required to obtain employment. The nature of work associated with this job is just as the name states; physical education curriculum is adapted to allow for the inclusion of special needs students regardless of ability level.

    Reading Specialist

    Requires an undergraduate degree with courses completed on literacy and special areas of reading. Many schools desire a candidate with a reading specialist certification for the position with some requiring a master’s level of training. Careers in literacy

    Resource and Inclusion Teachers

    A generalized, special education bachelor’s degree in education can get you a job as an inclusion teacher (click here for a list of duties) or a resource teacher. Resource teachers work with students by pulling them out of their general education classroom for small group work or one-to-one activities for a prescribed amount of time as set in the student’s educational plan.

    Self-Contained Teacher

    Someone looking to teach in a self-contained classroom will need an endorsement such as Special Education Specialist or Teacher-Educationally Mentally Handicapped with a bachelor’s degree. Severely disabled students spend majority of their day within this type of classroom necessitating teachers that possess an intensive dedication to their job.

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    Master’s Degree in Special Education

    Autism Teacher Specialist

    If you are looking to work with kids on the spectrum then many schools want you to have at least 2 years of experience working one-on-one with a student in this population. A graduate level degree is usually preferred for this position as well since this is such a specialized area. Tips for Beginning Autism Teachers

    Speech-Language Pathologist

    This is an ever-growing field with more students added to the client lists of pathologists each year. A master’s degree certified by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology advances you toward licenser but additional training may be required to increase chances of employment due to the specialized needs of certain populations of students. Most states allow pathologists a provisional license if they only possess a bachelor’s degree but once again, a graduate level degree is necessary for full licenser. Earn a degree online in Speech-Language Pathology

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    Special Education Doctorate Degree

    University Faculty

    A special education, doctoral degree is needed to teach at the college level (online or ground) although some schools only require a master’s degree or proof of doctoral candidacy for faculty in part-time, temporary, or adjunct positions in their special education bachelor’s and master’s programs. Job candidates for this position must specialize in areas of their marked discipline with a completed dissertation prior to applying.

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    Alternate Routes Into Special Education

    Paraprofessional

    Teacher’s assistants in special education classrooms are the gears that keep the “special education train” in motion. Paraprofessionals typically need only a high school diploma, an associate’s degree or must pass a proficiency test covering basic skills to secure a job and licenser. Online teacher assistant classes

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    Aside from this article, the U.S. Labor Department and state departments of education also lists information on other jobs in special education and the education field in general. The U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Statistics details the job outlook for a queried career, so be sure to read their literature while career planning. Apply at the department of education in the state in which you plan to work for the best information on licensure and job listings.