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How to Become a Special Education Teacher

Kundan Pandey
Choosing to become a special education teacher is a decision that must come after deep introspection.
Teaching has always been one of the most reputed and recognized professions in the world. Being a teacher is something that demands patience and compassion for children. There is not much difference in the process of becoming a special education teacher than any other type of teacher. However, the job requires you to be even more understanding and patient towards your pupils.

Is It Your Calling?

Know yourself well before you even think of entering this profession. Single out the motivation for you to join this profession. Do you wish to make a significant difference in the lives of children requiring special education?
Do you have the patience and understanding to accept these children as they are, and work towards teaching them? Are you willing to take the required education for this profession? These are some vital parameters to think about before you dream to take the plunge.
Since each day in this job comes with lots of challenges, you've got to be willing to work hard and be creative in handling children. Don't just have a dream of 'making a difference' because something moved your heart. Separate your emotions from your talent, aptitude, and personality.
Hundreds of people leave their high-paying jobs just to become a teacher. So if you're someone who feels you have finally found your calling, then move ahead and illuminate the lives of challenged children. It's an accomplishment that is beyond any material pursuits.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in special education, quite popular nowadays in several colleges and educational institutions, is generally accepted as a good degree for aspirants. It is not necessary to have a bachelor's degree in education, but it is more important that you have a few certifications related to the education of children with special needs.
More information about the same can be achieved by joining reputed organizations, like the National Association of Special Education Teachers. Similarly, Learning Disabilities Association of America is also a great source to find out more about several certifications.
Almost all colleges that provide bachelor's degree in special education also provide certifications to students.
To quote from the National Association of Special Education Teachers website, "Through an agreement with The American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP), NASET members now have the opportunity to achieve AASEP Board Certification in Special Education (B.C.S.E.) at a substantially reduced fee."
Moreover, information about licenses for special education teachers in all the 50 state in US and several Professional Development Courses are also posted on the official website of NASET.
Prospective teachers are expected to take courses in several subjects related to laws and legal issues of teaching children with special needs.
Different states have different standards for the educational requirements, however, the need for a bachelor's degree and good specialization courses in special education or related subjects is vital.
Even during the education, many colleges have programs wherein prospective special education teachers are required to teach students requiring special education. In most states, prospective teachers teach students with special needs when their courses are coming to an end.
This gives them a feel of the job, which is very important. As per course requirements, aspirants also learn about physical therapy, speech therapy activities, and exercises for kids. After the bachelor's degree, many states requires advanced degrees like associate degree, post graduation degree.
After having completed studies and having garnered some experience, aspiring teachers need to take assessment tests in competency exams, and a few certifications as per the prevalent State laws.
Licensing from your respective state as per the laws is regarded to be one of the most crucial documents for you to enter this profession officially. Some states even offer people of different backgrounds to share their experiences of teaching special children by certain alternative programs and trainings.
Prospective teachers in this field can earn anywhere between 70,000 USD to 135,000 USD, depending on several factors.
In this sense, this profession is one of the most difficult in the field of teaching. Since children with learning disabilities and physical problems face low self-esteem issues, a special education teacher who can skillfully convert their physical and emotional problems into their strengths, is a great requirement.
You'll hold such a great position in the hearts of special children and their parents that no power or position of this world will ever give you. It is your call to make whether you really want to be the guide of many special lives.