How Can You Specialize an Education Degree in Special Education?

Special EducationMany students who want to pursue a career in the field of teaching want to know how to specialize an education degree in special education. They have a calling to teach special education students and want to direct their educational path toward achieving that goal. Check out how students can specialize their education degree in special education. Plus, find out some of the skills a student learns in the course of earning this degree.

How to Earn an Education Degree with a Focus on Special Education

An individual who wants to become a special education teacher must earn a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in special education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In many cases, a person must take an additional year of school in order to learn the specific skills necessary to serve students in special education classes. This fifth year of study may cover skills that help them teach non-verbal students, students with speech difficulties or students who have reading disabilities. Some schools hire teachers who have a bachelor’s in education to teach special education classes. But, there is usually an agreement that they’ll earn a master’s degree in that field within a certain period of time. A master’s degree in education allows teachers to specialize in teaching students with particular conditions. For instance, a teacher may study to work with students who are blind, deaf or who have development disabilities. This field needs well-trained, capable professionals with the knowledge to serve these students.

Other Requirements of Special Education Teachers

Like other types of teachers, special education teachers have to be licensed to teach in public schools. Each state has its own licensure requirements for new teachers. Plus, teachers who work in the schools have to update their skills and knowledge by taking courses on a regular basis in order to give students the best possible education.

The Unique Skills of a Special Education Teacher

One of the most valuable skills taught to a special education teacher is the ability to be flexible in the classroom. For instance, a special education teacher who is in charge of several autistic students will find that one method of teaching doesn’t work with all of the students. Consequently, the teacher must adapt a lesson so that each student understands it. This can be time-consuming and frustrating, but the training a special education teacher receives prepares him or her for this type of instruction. Another unique skill taught to a special education teacher is the ability to use non-traditional teaching aids. Some students who are non-verbal need pictures to help them learn. They may point to a picture instead of answering a question with words. Or, a special education teacher may use music in the classroom whereas a teacher in charge of mainstream students conveys a lesson via lecture. Sign language, tablets, visual aids and more are just a few of the teaching tools that special education teachers use to reach their students.

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Finally, along with educational requirements, a special education teacher needs to be dedicated to serving his or her students so they can be independent when they graduate. People who specialize an education degree in special education should feel an obligation to put forth their best efforts every day for their students.