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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Overland Park, Kansas

There are many career and education opportunities for special needs teachers in the Overland Park, Kansas area. The national trend for special needs teachers sees this job pool growing by about 19.6% over the next eight years. 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 $16 per hour or $41,277 per year in Kansas, 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 Kansas and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: teacher of the handicapped, elementary school teacher, and resource program teacher.

The Overland Park area is home to sixty-one schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Overland Park 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 Overland Park 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

MidAmerica Nazarene University - Olathe, KS

MidAmerica Nazarene University, 2030 E College Way, Olathe, KS 66062-1899. MidAmerica Nazarene University is a small university located in Olathe, Kansas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,762 students and an admission rate of 73%. MidAmerica Nazarene University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Avila University - Kansas City, MO

Avila University, 11901 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64145-1698. Avila University is a small university located in Kansas City, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,939 students and an admission rate of 50%. Avila University has a bachelor's degree program in Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities.

University of Missouri-Kansas City - Kansas City, MO

University of Missouri-Kansas City, 5100 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO 64110. University of Missouri-Kansas City is a large university located in Kansas City, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,481 students and an admission rate of 73%. University of Missouri-Kansas City has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.

University of Saint Mary - Leavenworth, KS

University of Saint Mary, 4100 S 4th St Trafficway, Leavenworth, KS 66048-5082. University of Saint Mary is a small university located in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 955 students and an admission rate of 69%. University of Saint Mary has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated two students in 2008.

Park University - Parkville, MO

Park University, 8700 NW River Park Dr, Parkville, MO 64152-3795. Park University is a large university located in Parkville, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,457 students and an admission rate of 78%. Park University has a master'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: Overland Park, Kansas

Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park, Kansas photo by Americasroof

Overland Park is located in Johnson County, Kansas. It has a population of over 171,231, which has grown by 14.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Overland Park, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Overland Park are valued at $408,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-four new homes were constructed in Overland Park, down from three hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Overland Park are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and broadcasting and telecommunications. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 52.1% of Overland Park residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Overland Park is 6.7%, which is greater than Kansas's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Overland Park residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Christ Church, Adventist Church and Atonement Church are among the churches located in Overland Park. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Overland Park is home to the Windmill Square and the Westbrook Country Club. Shopping centers in the area include Cherokee Hills Shopping Center, Cherokee South Shopping Center and Trail West Shopping Center. Visitors to Overland Park can choose from Hampton Inn Overland Park- KS, Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites and Pear Tree Inn by Drury for temporary stays in the area.