Those who work with special needs children must have the right certifications needed to teach special education students. These teachers often work with students who have disabilities or medical conditions that make it difficult for them to work in a traditional classroom. You might spend some of your time going over coursework with ADD and ADHD students, or you might run a classroom that has 10 or more students with disabilities who need extra help. The type of certifications you need include a college degree.
While a college degree isn’t one of the certifications needed to teach special education kids, you will need a college degree to get your teaching license. Most states will not let you work in public schools without a license, though some private schools do hire those with a degree and no license. Earning your undergraduate degree requires that you observe teachers and do some supervised fieldwork during the last half of the program. You’ll also need to take specialized classes too. After finishing your coursework, you can apply for a teaching license. Some colleges now offer education degrees with a concentration in special education.
Some schools only hire teachers who are board certified. The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) offers board certification of this type. This program is a joint effort between the NASET and the American Academy of Special Education Professionals. You must take five courses that go over the needs of special education students and which students benefit most from these programs. You’ll also need to take an extensive examination at the end of each course and pass each test to receive your certification. Becoming a member of the organization lets you take each of those courses for less than what non-members pay.
You cannot take the NASET courses or get your certification unless you have a master’s degree first. Master’s degree programs relate specifically to the needs of those working with special ed students in classrooms across the country. You’ll learn how to handle those with deep fears, what to do with students who scream or act out in certain ways and even how to work with autistic children and those suffering from other specific conditions. A graduate program may require that you do some supervised fieldwork or that you write a thesis during your second year.
While you can work as a special education teacher with a college degree and board certification, you may want to take a first aid course too. The certifications needed to teach special education vary from school to school, and some schools look highly on applicants who have certification from the American Red Cross. A first aid program teaches you how to react and respond to different emergency situations. A CPR course will show you what to do when a child passes out, stops breathing or suffers from other problems in your school. Gaining one or more of these certifications can help you find a better paying teaching job.
Special education teachers work with students who might have problems paying attention, concentrating or even doing their assigned work. If this type of teaching interests you, you should look at the certifications needed to teach special education, which may include a college degree and board certification.