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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Westminster, Colorado

Special needs teachers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Westminster, Colorado area. There are currently 2,740 working special needs teachers in Colorado; this should grow 33% to about 3,640 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 $46,747 per year in Colorado, and an average of $22 per hour or $49,620 per year nationwide. Earnings for special needs teachers are better than earnings in the general category of Special Education in Colorado and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. Special needs teachers work in a variety of jobs, including: autistic teacher, remedial reading, math, or other subject teacher, and special education teacher.

The Westminster area is home to sixty-four schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Westminster where you can get a degree as a special needs teacher. Special needs teachers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Westminster 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 Colorado Denver - Denver, CO

University of Colorado Denver, , Denver, CO 80217-3364. University of Colorado Denver is a large university located in Denver, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 17,510 students and an admission rate of 68%. University of Colorado Denver has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

Metropolitan State College of Denver - Denver, CO

Metropolitan State College of Denver, Speer Blvd and Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80217-3362. Metropolitan State College of Denver is a large college located in Denver, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,715 students and an admission rate of 78%. Metropolitan State College of Denver has a bachelor's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated eighteen 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Westminster, Colorado

Westminster, Colorado
Westminster, Colorado photo by Nyttend

Westminster is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 107,056, which has grown by 6.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Westminster, 96, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Westminster are valued at $376,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, sixty-two new homes were built in Westminster, down from one hundred forty-six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Westminster are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 27 minutes. More than 31.3% of Westminster residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Westminster is 6.2%, which is less than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Westminster residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.

Westminster is home to the The Golf Courses at Hyland Hills and the The Plaza at Westminster. Visitors to Westminster can choose from Comfort Suites, LA Quinta - Inns- Westminster Mall and Doubletree Hotel Denver Boulder for temporary stays in the area.