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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Phoenix, Arizona

If you want to be a special needs teacher, the Phoenix, Arizona area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 2,420 working special needs teachers in Arizona; this should grow by 35% to 3,260 working special needs teachers in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for special needs teachers are expected to grow by about 19.6%. Special needs teachers generally teach elementary and preschool school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students.

The average wage in the general category of Special Education jobs is $18 per hour or $39,875 per year in Arizona, and an average of $22 per hour or $49,620 per year nationwide. Special needs teachers earn less than people working in the category of Special Education generally in Arizona and more than people in the Special Education category nationally. Jobs in this field include: exceptional student education teacher , emotional support teacher, and developmental therapist.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Phoenix where you can study to be a special needs teacher, among seventy-six schools of higher education total in the Phoenix area. Special needs teachers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be a special needs teacher if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Special Needs Teacher

In general, special needs teachers teach elementary and preschool school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. They also includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.

Special needs teachers attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required. They also maintain accurate and complete student records and ready reports on children and activities, as required by laws and administrative regulations. Equally important, special needs teachers have to attend professional meetings and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence. They are often called upon to teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification and positive reinforcement. They are expected to talk with other staff members to develop and schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula. Finally, special needs teachers modify the general education curriculum for special-needs students based upon a variety of instructional techniques and technologies.

Every day, special needs teachers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for special needs teachers to teach students personal development skills such as goal setting and self-advocacy. They are often called upon to perform administrative duties such as assisting in school libraries, hall and cafeteria monitoring, and bus loading and unloading. They also guide and counsel students with adjustment or academic problems, or special academic interests. They are sometimes expected to collaborate with other teachers and administrators in the development and revision of preschool or elementary school programs. Somewhat less frequently, special needs teachers are also expected to administer standardized ability and achievement tests and interpret results to establish students' strengths and areas of need.

Special needs teachers sometimes are asked to supervise and plan assignments for teacher assistants and volunteers. They also have to be able to visit schools to tutor students with sensory impairments and to confer with teachers regarding students' special needs and modify the general education curriculum for special-needs students based upon a variety of instructional techniques and technologies. And finally, they sometimes have to decide on, order, issue, and inventory classroom equipment and supplies.

Like many other jobs, special needs teachers must have exceptional integrity and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Phoenix include:

  • Adult Education Teacher. Teach or instruct out-of-school youths and adults in remedial education classes, preparatory classes for the General Educational Development test, literacy, or English as a Second Language. Teaching may or may not take place in a traditional educational institution.
  • High School Special Education Teacher. Teach secondary school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.
  • Kindergarten Teacher. Teach elemental natural and social science, personal hygiene, and literature to children from 4 to 6 years old. Promote physical, mental, and social development. May be required to hold State certification.
  • Special Education Teacher. Teach middle school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Special Needs Teacher Training

University of Phoenix-Online Campus - Phoenix, AZ

University of Phoenix-Online Campus, 3157 E. Elwood Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034-7209. University of Phoenix-Online Campus is a large university located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 181,146 students. University of Phoenix-Online Campus has 2 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities, master's degree which graduated 376 students in 2008.

Ottawa University-Phoenix - Phoenix, AZ

Ottawa University-Phoenix, 10020 North 25th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021. Ottawa University-Phoenix is a small university located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,329 students. Ottawa University-Phoenix has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated four students in 2008.

University of Phoenix-Phoenix-Hohokam Campus - Phoenix, AZ

University of Phoenix-Phoenix-Hohokam Campus, 4635 East Elwood Street, Phoenix, AZ 85040-1958. University of Phoenix-Phoenix-Hohokam Campus is a medium sized university located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,768 students. University of Phoenix-Phoenix-Hohokam Campus has 2 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation, master's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities, master's degree which graduated 24 students in 2008.

Grand Canyon University - Phoenix, AZ

Grand Canyon University, 3300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85017. Grand Canyon University is a large university located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 22,087 students and an admission rate of 100%. Grand Canyon University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated eight and 544 students respectively in 2008.

Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University, , Tempe, AZ 85287. Arizona State University is a large university located in Tempe, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 67,082 students and an admission rate of 82%. Arizona State University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated 124 and thirty-five students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Adapted Physical Educator: Persons who are eligible to become a CAPE fall into three categories; Recently graduated, qualified Physical Education Teachers; Professional Physical Educators (> 10 years full time experience); and Academics.

For more information, see the National Consortium on Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona photo by Urban

Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 1,567,924, which has grown by 18.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Phoenix, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Phoenix cost $218,200 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 2,176 new homes were built in Phoenix, down from 6,560 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Phoenix are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 22.7% of Phoenix residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Phoenix is 10.0%, which is greater than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Phoenix residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. San Francisco Xavier and Good Shepherd Convent are among the churches located in Phoenix. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Phoenix is home to the Arizona Highway Patrol Headquarters and the Gila Valley Lookout as well as Indian Bend Park and Stephen Park. Shopping centers in the area include Alta Vista Shopping Center, Arcadia Plaza Shopping Center and Arcadia Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Phoenix can choose from Four Seasons Limousine LLC, Maricopa Manor B&B Inn and Motel 6 for temporary stays in the area.