Careers In Special Education

Careers in Special Education

A career in special education promises a profession that is both challenging and rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that you will be making a difference in someone’s life, assisting them in coping in the real world, making the children as well as their families happy and challenging because as a special education teacher, you will be playing a special role in teaching children with autism the intellectual and emotional skills they need to cope with everyday life.

So where and how do you start on your journey in acquiring the certification to be able to help children with special needs? The answer lies within the colleges and universities that offer a degree in special education. There is a massive selection both here in America and overseas you can choose from, but here’s a list of some of the schools that specializes in special education.

Vanderbilt Peabody College

Vanderbilt College is located in Nashville, Tennessee. It is ranked as a top-tier special education program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for more than a decade. The department ranks first in scholarly production among other departments at research universities in the United States, according to a new report by Academic Analytics.

Here, you can complete a degree in special education whether it is a BS, Med or a PhD. They also offer early childhood and elementary education for a dual certification program. Their four-year degree program is intended to equip and prepare you with skills necessary to assess, plan and interact with people with different levels of disabilities. Their program can also lead to licensure for pre-kindergarten to third grade or kindergarten to twelfth grade.

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas offers more options if you are seeking to complete programs in the master’s and doctorate levels, but they do offer undergraduate programs too. Students can get hands-on experience through Graduate Practicums, which are highly specialized field placements. There are also different organizations such as KU Professionals for Disabilities students can get involved in. The University of Kansas department of education is particularly highly ranked for its special education program and is home to the renowned Beach Center on Disability.

The University if Kansas also offers online courses, print courses and print courses with optional email assignment submission. This is ideal for those overseas who would like to study in an international college.

University of Oregon

According to U.S. NEWS & World Report’s annual survey of top graduate schools, the Special Education Program at the University of Oregon is #3 in the nation for 11 consecutive years. They have an undergraduate program that can prepare you for a licensure in special education of any form of advance degrees. They have a Master’s only program, which caters more to those who are seeking to further their knowledge, eventually bringing them to a brighter work future that does not require a teaching license.The College of Education in the University if Oregon has paved the way for academic programming used in schools across the nation, including the Positive Behavior Support system, which has reached more than 10,000 schools, and the Youth Transition Program, used in more than three-quarters of Oregon high schools.

University of Florida

In the University if Florida’s Special Education Department each of the programs consists of a total of 5 years of study and include courses in the Department of Special Education and the School of Teaching and Learning. Students complete their programs in a fifth year of study as post-baccalaureate or master’s degree students. Here they have courses for undergraduates, graduates and those seeing doctorate courses, but one program that stands out from the rest of the colleges that offer special education courses is their Specialist Program.

The specialist program allows students to pursue specific academic and research interests while continuing their professional development. Each specialist student develops their program of study to reflect their professional interests, wherein each program has to be approved by the student’s supervisory committee.

University of Texas Austin

The University of Texas in Austin offers a complete special education certification program that intends to cater to every need a graduate needs in order to prepare for the profession of teaching. Their special education department ranks consistently among the top 10 departments nationally offering graduate programs in Special Education according to the annual U.S. News & World Report. Their undergraduate program requires a student to complete a 133-hour Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Learning and Development with a 24-hour academic specialization in Special Education in order to obtain a certification, while their teacher certification program standards align with the standards for certification and licensure in Texas.

Those are just 5 of the finest colleges and universities you can apply to to get you started on your goal to be a teacher and an advocate of people with disabilities. There is a right school for each student, whether you plan on going to the physical college or just attending an online course to complete a program. The choice will always be dependent on where you are most comfortable.

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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