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Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers

Preschool and elementary school special education teachers, teach educationally and physically handicapped students and preschoolers. Their goal is to make sure students with disabilities reach their learning potential. The majority of special education teachers help children with mild to moderate disabilities.

Some preschool and elementary special-ed teachers specialize in working with visually and audibly handicapped students. Some teachers specialize in providing basic life processes and academic skills to those with mental impairments.

Special education teachers use teaching methods such as individualized instruction, small group work and problem solving assignments. They help create an individualized education program for every special education student. The programs establish personalized objectives for each student and are designed for an individual's needs and abilities.

Some of the sample job titles are preschool special education teacher, special education teacher, early interventionist, intervention specialist, early childhood special education teacher, EC special education teacher, teacher of developmentally delayed, severe emotional disorders elementary teacher, SED elementary teacher and mildly disabled student special education teacher.

Responsibilities

  • Utilize special education techniques and strategies
  • Teach academic subjects to students utilizing a variety of techniques
  • Modify the general education program for special needs students
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior
  • Discuss students' progress with parents and guardians
  • Collaborate with others to develop individual educational plans designed to advance students' educational, social and physical development
  • Establish goals for lessons and projects and communicate these goals to students
  • Maintain student records

Job Characteristics

Some special-ed teachers have their own classroom and only teach special education students, whereas others work as special education resource teachers and provide individualized assistance to students in general education classrooms. Some special education teachers work with general education teachers in classes that include general and special education students.

Their work can be very rewarding, however, at times, it can be physically and emotionally draining. The job may also involve a heavy workload and administrative tasks. Most special education teachers work 40 hours a week in a basic 10 month school year. Some special education teachers work all year.

Preschool and elementary school special education teachers need patience and compassion and they should enjoy helping people. They also need good organizational skills. Special education teachers should be able to motivate students.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 20 percent growth in employment from 2008 to 2018 for preschool, kindergarten and elementary school special education teachers. In 2008 the median annual earnings for special education teachers who work in preschools, kindergartens and elementary schools was $50,020.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs in special education are provided by a large number of colleges and universities. Some programs require specialization, however some colleges and universities provide generalized special education degrees.

In their last year of the program, students typically are involved in a student teaching role in a classroom setting under the supervision of a special education teacher. Special education teachers often partake in longer training periods than general education teachers.

All the states require special education teachers to acquire a license, which usually requires at least a bachelor's degree along with completing an approved special education teaching training program. Licensure varies by state. Many states provide general special education licenses in a variety of disability categories, whereas other states license several different specialties within special education. Most of the states provide alternative paths for entry for those that have a bachelor's degree but do not have training in education.

Resources

Major Employers

The top job providers are public schools, child day care services, individual and family services and educational support services.

Schools for Preschool And Elementary School Special Education Teachers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers

To find out more about building a career as Preschool And Elementary Special Ed Teachers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Education 211,840 93% $50,520
Social Service 9,420 4% $37,720
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  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education

Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history, an environment of intellectual curiosity and discovery, and a supportive, student-centered approach to learning. Founded in 1869 as a land-grant school, the University is known today for its prolific faculty as well as a record of distinguished research and achievement in aerospace, engineering, technology, science, and math. Our goal is to educate and develop men and women of personal integrity and scholarly excellence.

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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