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Special Education Teachers in Texas

How to Become a Teacher in this High Need Area

Special Education Teachers are in High Demand

It’s no surprise that 49 states report a shortage of special education teachers, and 82% of special education teachers report that there are not enough professionals to meet the needs of students with disabilities. The Houston Chronicle reported a 21% growth for special education teachers at the preschool through elementary school levels and a 20% growth rate at the middle-school level. The projected growth in the employment of all special education teachers nationwide is 17% until 2020.

If you want to become a special education teacher in Texas, look no further than Texas Teachers. The Texas Teachers alternative certification program will get you fully certified to teach special education, either one-on-one with exceptional students, teaching in a classroom of developmentally delayed students, or teaching in a classroom with mostly average learners and being able to accommodate just a few learning disabled students.

Special Education Infographic

Special Education (SpEd) Teacher Salaries

Since there is a growing need for special education qualifications in Texas, special education teachers enjoy more benefits than other teachers who are certified in another subject area. Special Education teachers may be offered higher salaries and often times are given a stipend by their employing school district as an incentive for retention.

Special Education teachers also receive many less tangible rewards, as their exceptional students’ progress can be greatly inspiring. Most positions will offer full benefits such as medical, dental and vision insurance, along with paid summer, winter, and spring vacations, and a retirement plan. You may also receive additional pay for working with students for their extracurricular activities.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS), the salary for special education teachers is as high as $67,394. On top of that, many districts will pay special education teachers a $1,000-$3,000 stipend each year.

Steps to Becoming a SpEd Teacher This Year

The Texas Teachers program is approved by the state of Texas to certify teachers in special education in a number of ways. All you need is a bachelor’s degree in any major with a 2.5 GPA to get started. We will need a completed application and official transcripts to admit you into the program.

Step 1: Training
After being admitted to our program, you will complete innovative, engaging online training, and teacher observations to get you ready for the classroom. The Texas Teachers of Tomorrow program provides extensive training in pedagogy, allowing special education teachers to gain all of the skills and knowledge necessary to become an effective teacher before ever stepping foot in the classroom. Throughout the training you will observe the classrooms of veteran special education teachers and complete projects to expand upon that field experience.

Step 2: Testing
Special Education teachers who teach core content to a classroom of developmentally delayed students at the elementary or middle school levels will need to pass both the special education TExES exam and the Core Subjects Exam for their grade level (EC-6 or 4-8). Texas Teachers helps you prepare for these exams with comprehensive test preparation modules and an online study community. Additional test preparation materials are also provided on our Study Resources page.

Special Education teachers who teach one or more students who are included in a traditional classroom (also known as ‘inclusion’) will need to pass only the special education TExES exam.

Teachers of any subject at any grade level can add the special education certification by passing the special education TExES exam. Passing this exam allows teachers to accommodate just a few students with disabilities in their classrooms. The demand for this application of special education qualifications has steadily grown, as it allows hiring districts more flexibility when assigning students to a professional educator’s classroom.

Step 3: Teaching
During your first year of teaching, also known as the Internship Year, you will receive full pay and benefits. The Internship Year provides the opportunity to work directly with children and lead your own classroom while also having help from your assigned Field Supervisor, a veteran educator with more than 15 years of experience in education.

Upon successful completion of your internship year and program requirements, you will become a fully certified teacher. Special Education teachers are in very high demand in Texas. Make a difference in the lives of students in your community by becoming a certified teacher today.

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The Role of the Special Education Teacher

An early childhood special education teacher is responsible for helping infants and toddlers under the age of 5 build learning skills to prepare them for school. Parents, therapists, social workers, and medical professionals all work together to determine the best possible environment and strategies for each child.

Elementary and secondary special education teachers build lesson plans based on their assessment of each of their students’ needs. Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are central to this process. Each student has their own specific set of needs and circumstances, and the IEP serves as a road map to track the student’s progress, informing the strategy behind how supervising teacher assistants, group activity, one-on-one instruction, and parents come together to assist the student in accomplishing their goals toward progress in the classroom.

The special education teacher works in conjunction with general education teachers as well as counselors and administrators to further the goals set forth in a student’s IEP. As each student’s educational steward, the special education teacher updates the IEP throughout the year to reflect their progress and goals. The IEPs you create for students will collectively determine how you structure your classroom. The Texas Teachers training program will teach you how to create effective individualized education plans based on state standards. Once the IEPs have been established, the special education teacher works with students and parents to carry them out.

Responsibilities of the Special Education Teacher:

  • Assisting students as they acquire basic life skills
  • Behavioral and emotional development
  • Designing and implementing modified curricula to fit student abilities
  • Assessing students’ performance via modified testing procedures such as oral examinations, larger print materials, and extended test times
  • Collaborating with parents, counselors, physical therapists, medical professionals, administrators, and other teachers

Characteristics of a good Special Education teacher:

  • Organized and good at multitasking
  • Able to provide and cultivate structure for students’ routines
  • Optimistic and positive
  • Displays empathy and is accepting of their students
  • Calm and even-tempered, even in emergency situations
  • Creative problem solver
  • Seeks to truly understand and encourage students
  • Intuitive and able to anticipate students’ needs
  • Patient and kind
  • Team player

Are you ready to learn more about becoming a special education teacher in Texas? Apply for free and one of our expert program advisors will contact you to help you develop a personalized path to certification!

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Additional Resources

The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) provides additional support specifically for prospective special education teachers. Their website provides valuable resources such as their Classroom Management Series publication, video lectures, and much more.

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