Special education is one of the fastest-growing areas within education, and those with an interest in this type of work are qualified to fill many types of jobs available with a special education degree. Since students in special education programs are largely expected to meet the same state standards as their counterparts in more traditional classroom settings, the role of a special education professional ranges from direct teaching to learning support, team teaching roles, and assistance during crucial classroom and state examinations. The jobs available in this field reflect this reality, giving educators unique ways to use their talents and work with classroom material.
Special Education Classroom Teacher
Perhaps the most common position filled by those with a special education degree is that of a standard classroom teacher. Many schools mainstream their special education students, but still fit at least one class into their yearly schedules that pairs them with a special education teacher. This gives the teacher time to answer any questions that students might have about their various assignments and classes, and allows the teacher to make up for any shortcomings that more traditional teachers might have when trying to reach out to those with special education needs. This crucially important class helps students with learning disabilities by reinforcing material and state standards, and teaching them unique ways of preparing for tests, studying, and functioning in a typical classroom.
Learning Support and Co-Teaching Positions
A special education degree is often the perfect qualification for learning support roles or co-teaching assignments. In this scenario, the special education teacher would be assigned to various classes or classrooms, where they would work specifically with the special education students in that class. Their job would be largely to help students work independently on homework or classwork assignments, or to help them with test-related questions during assessments.
A co-teaching position is somewhat similar, but it actually positions the special education teacher as a second instructor in the classroom to which they are assigned. They’ll often be responsible for teaching their fair share of lessons to the broader class, but with a unique skill set that reaches out more directly to those with learning disabilities. They can also help their co-teachers understand a bit more about special education needs and best practices, leading to a more successful and productive classroom overall.
Tutoring Services and Exam Help
Some schools replace the typical special education class with more targeted services designed to help those with learning disabilities. Most often, this requires the special education teacher to be a sort of tutor during study halls or in after-school settings. The teacher may also be asked to work in a testing lab, where special education students would go whenever they need to take a test in one of their classes. In this capacity, the special education teacher would administer, proctor, read, or assist with the test and any related questions. This fits into several learning styles and is a common part of today’s IEPs for those with learning disabilities.
Related Resource: Individual Education Plan
Special Education Teachers Can Utilize a Variety of Different Venues
The great thing about special education is that it fits so well into so many different venues and environments. According to US News and World Report, from traditional classrooms to shared teaching space and testing labs, the types of jobs available with a special education degree can be tailored to any teacher’s interests and skills.