Special education is one of the most rewarding careers out there, but you should go into it with the understanding that it is not easy. Educators focusing on special education have a whole host of issues beyond the traditional classroom teachers' daily trials of unruly students, demanding parents, and the politics of the teacher-administrator relationship. And while special education is not a monolith, there are as many avenues to pursue in it as there are in other aspects of teaching, some of the issues facing special education professionals run the gamut of specific areas of expertise.
This is due primarily to the nature of special education. Essentially, it consists of "educational programs designed to support students whose singular needs or disabilities require special teaching approaches, equipment or care within or outside a regular classroom" (wikipedia). And while the specific nature of those students who require a special education may vary, the rigors of the training and the supreme importance of the competence of its practitioners does not.
Special education teachers deal with students who, for a variety of reasons, require extra help and care in their educational endeavors. The majority of special education programs are geared to meet the academic needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities that require a specialized learning environment; other programs may help students with "severe cognitive, emotional, or physical disabilities" acquire more basic life skills (bls.gov). As such, special education teachers must not only be able to work with these students, but also identify issues facing them, as well as understand their unique needs; educational, psychological, and otherwise.
Studying In the Field
Because of those extra considerations, studying for a degree in special education is a rigorous process, and certification or licensing beyond earning your degree-whether bachelor's or graduate-is required. "For... [continues]
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