Why get a Bachelor Degree in Special Education?

Working with special-needs children can be one of the most rewarding experiences for teachers, which is why so many prospective teachers earn their bachelor degree in special education.

Special education teachers provide an education to students who have learning disabilities that may be mental, emotional or physical in nature. Working with these children requires a specialized approach to learning, using special teaching strategies to develop lessons and tests that fit the student. Special education teachers also are in demand because many states are implementing core-standards policies that include special education.

Education Requirements

Bachelor degree programs usually require students to have a high school diploma or GED. Depending on where you enroll, you may have to take the SAT or ACT and provide high school transcripts.

Those who hope to become special education teachers need to earn a bachelor degree to qualify for state certification and licensing. Some private and public schools may require a master’s degree, but most require only a bachelor’s. Leadership opportunities exist for teachers with a master’s degree in special education, but those often require tenure and experience.

Special education teacher often must go through an internship as part of their education. The requirements for the internship vary by state.

Career Options: What You Can Do with a Bachelor Degree in Special Education

Careers in special education are primarily in public or private schools. Special education teachers work at all levels from kindergarten to high school and in programs designed for students with special needs. Private schools, such as the Waldorf Education, do not always require teacher credentials because their methods of teaching are different from those of public schools. Private schools generally develop their own special requirements for teaching special-needs students.

There are also opportunities in state and federal government, helping develop special education policies and working on research in the field. Interpretation of test scores and other data is used to create teaching strategies to be applied across special education programs within a district, region or state. Government programs such as the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is one such agency that works with data from special education research from national studies.

What to Consider if you Pursue a Bachelor Degree in Special Education

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, special education teachers have a median annual salary of $52,220. Jobs for special education teachers are forecast to expand by 17 percent through 2020, which is about average for most U.S. careers.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in special education is the critical first step toward a career spent working with special-needs children. If you enjoy the challenge, you’ll find the degree is worth the effort.

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