You've decided that you need a change in life. You feel the need to do something meaningful that will help others. You've investigated and gained information and you've concluded that you'd like to become a teacher, not only a teacher, but a special education teacher. Your aspiration is praiseworthy and now is the time to explore the profession and determine if it's REALLY something that you want. Teaching is one of the most significant careers that anyone can become involved with. You must be passionate, temperate, and dedicated and that's just the beginning. Do keep in mind that each student touched is a life that you'll imprint forever. That imprint can be the incentive for good or the impetus for harm. It all depends on how you the teacher will emboss your stamp on that student.
So what's the process? How can you become a teacher who specializes in special education? Well the first step is to do research and garner information. Begin by asking the question what is a special education teacher? She/he is a teacher that devotes their career to working with students that have diverse disabilities. As such you will encounter students with learning disabilities that range from mild to severe, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, and emotional issues. You'll need to be organized, methodical, and meticulous as your students will often be the opposite and will need you to help keep them on task. You'll encounter students with speech impediments, hearing impairment, autism, and much more so you will have to be resilient. During this phase learn all that you can about this profession and determine if this is truly what you want to do.
The second step is to establish the educational requirements and salary proportions. Firstly you must obtain a bachelors degree, preferably in special education. Although not required, but definitely preferential. Upon completion of your bachelors you may want to continue on and earn your masters. Take note, there are some states that require a master's degree prior to securing your teaching certification/license. You must be sure to check with the state where you plan to teach to determine what their requirements and qualifications are. You may also want to secure board certification from the American Academy of Special Education Professionals. Certification from this board will signify that you have achieved the maximum in professional proficiency in the field of special education. Once you have determined your educational prerequisites then investigate salaries. Depending on the degrees you've earned, where you've selected to teach, and the grade that you teach salaries vary greatly. You can expect a salary that ranges from $34,000 to $83,500 annually depending on the criteria just stated.
You are now ready to proceed to the third step and find an accredited school from which to obtain your degree. The good news is that you live in a global society and if time and place don't allow you to physically attend the college of your choice, you can still achieve your goal through virtual attendance. Many acclaimed universities and colleges offer online courses. Don't limit yourself; seek out the very best education possible, it will serve you well in the long run. Make a list with several schools that you would like to attend. Contact each school and obtain information on their courses and admission procedures. Once you've selected your school, enrolled, and selected your major commit to doing the best job possible. Can you say Dean's list!
Your fourth step will commence as you near the completion of your bachelor's degree. You will get your feet wet as you begin the process of student teaching. Here you'll get a real sense for what you have desired to do. You will interact with students and get authentic on the job training. You'll be able to put into action all that you have learned while in school.
The fifth step will occur as you are nearing graduation. You'll begin to seek employment. Start by finalizing what city and state that you want to teach in and then select the school or school district you desire. Once you've determined the where, then start applying. Be flexible and persistent about the process and keep going until you have secured a position.