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

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for special needs teachers in the Fresno, California area. There are currently 19,800 working special needs teachers in California; this should grow by 32% to about 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. Special needs teachers earn less than people working in the category of Special Education generally in California and more than people in the Special Education category nationally. People working as special needs teachers can fill a number of jobs, such as: hearing impaired teacher, adapted physical education teacher, and resource room special education teacher.

The Fresno area is home to twenty-four schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Fresno 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, 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 Fresno 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

Reedley College - Reedley, CA

Reedley College, 995 N Reed Ave, Reedley, CA 93654. Reedley College is a large college located in Reedley, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,174 students. Reedley College has a two to four year program in Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs.

West Hills College-Lemoore - Lemoore, CA

West Hills College-Lemoore, 555 College Avenue, Lemoore, CA 93245. West Hills College-Lemoore is a small college located in Lemoore, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,101 students. West Hills College-Lemoore has a two to four year program in Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs.

California State University-Fresno - Fresno, CA

California State University-Fresno, 5241 N Maple Ave, Fresno, CA 93740. California State University-Fresno is a large university located in Fresno, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 22,613 students and an admission rate of 69%. California State University-Fresno has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-eight students in 2008.

Fresno City College - Fresno, CA

Fresno City College, 1101 E. University Ave, Fresno, CA 93741. Fresno City College is a large college located in Fresno, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,063 students. Fresno City College has 2 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, less than one year and two to four year which graduated eight and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs, less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated five, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Fresno Pacific University - Fresno, CA

Fresno Pacific University, 1717 S Chestnut Ave, Fresno, CA 93702-4709. Fresno Pacific University is a small university located in Fresno, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,375 students and an admission rate of 76%. Fresno Pacific University has 3 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, master's degree.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Orthopedic and Other Physical Health Impairments, master's degree.
  • Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties, master's degree which graduated 3 students 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.

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: Fresno, California

Fresno, California
Fresno, California photo by Cadking3

Fresno is situated in Fresno County, California. It has a population of over 476,050, which has grown by 11.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Fresno, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Fresno are valued at $156,200 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,230 new homes were constructed in Fresno, down from 2,016 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Fresno are health care, educational services, and social assistance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 19.0% of Fresno 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 Fresno is 14.8%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Fresno residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.5%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Pearlygrove Baptist Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Golden Harvest Church of God in Christ are all churches located in Fresno. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Fresno is home to the Cribari Winery and the Aspen Hall as well as Beiden Field and Woodward Park. Shopping malls in the area include Figarden Shopping Center, First And Shaw Shopping Center and Fresno Fashion Fair Shopping Center. Visitors to Fresno can choose from Bedding & Fine Furniture, Best Budget Inn and Best Value Water Tree Inn for temporary stays in the area.