Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Athens, Georgia

For those living in the Athens, Georgia area, there are many career and education opportunities for special needs teachers. About 6,650 people are currently employed as special needs teachers in Georgia. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 36% to about 9,030 people employed. This is better than the national trend for special needs teachers, which sees this job pool growing by about 19.6% over the next eight years. In general, special needs teachers 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 $46,877 per year in Georgia, and an average of $22 per hour or $49,620 per year nationwide. Compared with people working in the overall category of Special Education, people working as special needs teachers in Georgia earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Special Education nationally. Jobs in this field include: resource program teacher, learning disabilities teacher , and special education administrator.

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

Brenau University - Gainesville, GA

Brenau University, 500 Washington Street SE, Gainesville, GA 30501-3668. Brenau University is a small university located in Gainesville, Georgia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,551 students and an admission rate of 42%. Brenau University has 4 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Emotional Disturbances, master's degree.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities, master's degree.
  • Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties, master's degree which graduated 17 students in 2008.

University of Georgia - Athens, GA

University of Georgia, , Athens, GA 30602. University of Georgia is a large university located in Athens, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 34,116 students and an admission rate of 55%. University of Georgia has bachelor's degree, master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree programs in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-four, twenty-two, one, and 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: Athens, Georgia

Athens, Georgia
Athens, Georgia photo by Richard Chambers

Athens is situated in Brantley County, Georgia. It has a population of over 113,398, which has grown by 13.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Athens, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Athens cost $146,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred four new homes were constructed in Athens, down from four hundred seventy-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Athens are educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 40.0% of Athens residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.0%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Athens residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.6%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God (Cleveland and the The Wesleyan Church.