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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Port St. Lucie, Florida

Special needs teachers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Port St. Lucie, Florida area. There are currently 10,320 jobs for special needs teachers in Florida and this is projected to grow 30% to 13,450 jobs 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 $24 per hour or $50,077 per year in Florida, and an average of $22 per hour or $49,620 per year nationwide. Incomes for special needs teachers are better than in the overall category of Special Education in Florida, and better than the overall Special Education category nationally. Jobs in this field include: mildly disabled student special education teacher, special education teacher, and assistant teacher.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Port St. Lucie where you can study to be a special needs teacher, among five schools of higher education total in the Port St. Lucie area. 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 Port St. Lucie 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.
  • 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

Indian River State College - Fort Pierce, FL

Indian River State College, 3209 Virginia Ave, Fort Pierce, FL 34981-5596. Indian River State College is a large college located in Fort Pierce, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 15,366 students. Indian River State College has a bachelor's degree program in Special Education and Teaching.

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: Port St. Lucie, Florida

Port St. Lucie, Florida
Port St. Lucie, Florida photo by Bgag

Port St. Lucie is located in St. Lucie County, Florida. It has a population of over 154,353, which has grown by 73.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Port St. Lucie, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Port St. Lucie are valued at $113,200 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five hundred thirteen new homes were built in Port St. Lucie, down from 1,281 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Port St. Lucie are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 15.0% of Port St. Lucie residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Port St. Lucie is 13.0%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Port St. Lucie residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 38.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Port Saint Lucie Methodist Church, Saint Lucie Catholic Church and Unitarian Universalist Church Indian River are among the churches located in Port St. Lucie. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.