Seeking a Career in Special Education

8th November 2019


To become a special education teacher calls for a deep layer of compassion and a great deal of patience. As a special education teacher, you will be required to work with children who are afflicted by physical and emotional disabilities or face problems with learning. Individuals interested in making a career out of special needs education are required to answer several questions to start with:

  • Do they have the desired skills to help them deal with the special children?
  • What are the necessary degrees for enrolling in SEN teacher training?
  • Will the work be based out of public or private schools?

What does a special education teacher basically do?

In the role of a special education teacher, you will be required to interact with teachers who work in the general classroom, administrators, and parents on a regular basis. You will be required to assess the student’s learning progress on a regular basis by making use of critical thinking skills and working with the students struggling with physical or mental handicaps, learning disabilities, ADHD, or dyslexia. Your job will involve preparing individualized learning plans based on what every student requires.

A special education teacher may be specialized in a specific area of training so as to help the students with specific disorders such as hearing impairment, communication problems, language issues or autism. The bulk of the teaching responsibility revolves around creation and implementation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Every special need teacher is required to earn their bachelor’s degree before being eligible to teach while some institutes even ask for a master’s degree or special education certification. In some instances, a license may be called for as well before you can teach in a public school while the same restrictions may not apply to private institutions.

Choosing the right educational path

Those who see themselves pursuing a career as a special education teacher can complete both campus-based and online programs for earning their bachelor’s or master’s degree in special education teacher training. Those looking to specialize in a particular area will require a master’s degree program before choosing an area of interest or taking up a certification course. Online programs provide some degree of flexibility for the students who may be working part-time and fulfilling their education requirements during the rest of the time.

A Bachelor’s in SEN teacher training

A special education bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum requirement for a career in special needs teaching. This four-year program can be completed in the classroom or online. The coursework typically deals with topics such as collaborating with the community and the family, instructional methods for those having mild disabilities, literacy and classroom behavior management.

The bachelor’s degree consists of four semesters of general education courses involving sociology, psychology, English, and mathematics. Over the remainder of the degree program, related electives, independent study, and other special education courses are largely the norm. Flexible online degree programs can also be found in some of the schools.

Here is a look at some of the courses that undergraduate students will typically encounter as part of the program, along with the knowledge and skills they get to gain at the time of completion.

Teaching principle that serve children having disabilities from birth up to the age of 8 or 9 years

  • Assessment of learning challenges
  • Working with parents
  • Program evaluation for preschoolers
  • Creating core curriculum for younger students

Fundamental literacy skills for students having special needs

  • Design of an effective reading curriculum
  • Instructional strategies that help students with special needs
  • Research-based assessments

Evidence based methods for teaching students with disabilities

  • Effective methods for the design and delivery of instructions for students with disabilities
  • Advanced knowledge in adapting teaching instruction for the different subjects


At the end of SEN teacher training, an individual need to develop strong communication and organizational skills. Teachers are required to develop interpersonal skills for communicating effectively with the special needs students, parents, social workers, as well as other members of the faculty. A special education teacher is required to be patient, empathetic, attentive, inventive, flexible, and compassionate. To teach the special needs kids requires a deep understanding of everyone’s learning style and individual needs. As the teacher, it is your responsibility to create the individualized education plan to address the school’s and student’s learning needs in an effective manner.