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

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for special needs teachers in the Atlanta, Georgia area. There are currently 6,650 jobs for special needs teachers in Georgia and this is projected to grow 36% to 9,030 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%. 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. Earnings for special needs teachers are better than earnings in the general category of Special Education in Georgia and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: cross-categorical special education teacher, exceptional student education teacher , and reading specialist.

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

Kennesaw State University - Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw State University, 1000 Chastain Rd, Kennesaw, GA 30144-5591. Kennesaw State University is a large university located in Kennesaw, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,340 students and an admission rate of 59%. Kennesaw State University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Clark Atlanta University - Atlanta, GA

Clark Atlanta University, 223 James P Brawley Drive, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30314-4391. Clark Atlanta University is a small university located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,067 students and an admission rate of 57%. Clark Atlanta University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated six students in 2008.

Georgia State University - Atlanta, GA

Georgia State University, 33 gilmer st, Atlanta, GA 30303-3083. Georgia State University is a large university located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 28,182 students and an admission rate of 53%. Georgia State University has 4 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, doctor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities, master's degree which graduated 35 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Orthopedic and Other Physical Health Impairments, master's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Speech or Language Impairments, master's degree which graduated 12 students in 2008.

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.

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: Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia photo by Evilarry

Atlanta is located in Fulton County, Georgia. It has a population of over 537,958, which has grown by 29.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Atlanta, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Atlanta cost $173,200 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, five hundred two new homes were constructed in Atlanta, down from 1,247 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Atlanta are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 34.6% of Atlanta residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Atlanta is 11.1%, which is greater than Georgia's average of 10.1%.

The percentage of Atlanta residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.7%, is more than both the national and state average. Aarons Tabernacle Church, Welcome Home Baptist Church and Adair Park Church are some of the churches located in Atlanta. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Atlanta is home to the Martin Luther King Junior Community Center and the Diuid Hills Golf Club as well as Alexander Park and Wesley Avenue Park. Shopping malls in the area include Rio Mall Shopping Center, Collier Heights Plaza Shopping Center and Northside Parkway Shopping Center. Visitors to Atlanta can choose from Country Inn-Stes Atl Dwntwn S, Comfort Inn and Comfort Inn Buckhead North for temporary stays in the area.