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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Fairfield, California

There are many career and education opportunities for special needs teachers in the Fairfield, California area. There are currently 19,800 working special needs teachers in California; this should grow by 32% to 26,200 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 $33 per hour or $64,205 per year in California, and an average of $22 per hour or $49,620 per year nationwide. Incomes for special needs teachers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Special Education in California, and better than the overall Special Education category nationally. Jobs in this field include: second grade teacher, physically impaired teacher, and emotional support teacher.

The Fairfield area is home to sixteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Fairfield where you can get a degree as a special needs teacher. Given that the most common education level for special needs teachers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Fairfield include:

  • 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

Diablo Valley College - Pleasant Hill, CA

Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. Diablo Valley College is a large college located in Pleasant Hill, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,768 students. Diablo Valley College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Special Education and Teaching which graduated five, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Medanos College - Pittsburg, CA

Los Medanos College, 2700 East Leland Road, Pittsburg, CA 94565. Los Medanos College is a medium sized college located in Pittsburg, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,360 students. Los Medanos College has a two to four year program in Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs.

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.

LICENSES

Teacher Credentials

Licensing agency: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Address: 1900 Capitol Avenue, P.O. Box 944270, Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 445-7254
Website: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fairfield, California

Fairfield, California
Fairfield, California photo by Ryanloney

Fairfield is located in Solano County, California. It has a population of over 103,683, which has grown by 7.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Fairfield, 143, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Fairfield are valued at $197,000 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Fairfield, down from one hundred eighty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fairfield are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 20.4% of Fairfield residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fairfield is 13.1%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Fairfield residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Fairfield is home to the Fairfield City Hall and the Dickson Hill Water Treatment Plant as well as Tabor Park and Sunrise Park. Shopping malls in the area include Geri Towne Shopping Center, Mission Village Shopping Center and Solano Mall Shopping Center.