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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Columbia, Maryland

Special needs teacher career and educational opportunities abound in Columbia, Maryland. There are currently 3,920 jobs for special needs teachers in Maryland and this is projected to grow 23% to 4,830 jobs by 2016. 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. 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 $23 per hour or $55,892 per year in Maryland, 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 Maryland and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. People working as special needs teachers can fill a number of jobs, such as: developmental therapist, assistant teacher, and emotional support teacher.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including eighteen within twenty-five miles of Columbia 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 Columbia 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

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has a master's degree and a post-master's certificate program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated two and zero students respectively in 2008.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has 3 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities, postbaccalaureate certificate and master's degree which graduated one and seventy-one students respectively in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 4 students in 2008.

Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has a master's degree program in Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Coppin State University - Baltimore, MD

Coppin State University, 2500 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216-3698. Coppin State University is a small university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,051 students and an admission rate of 36%. Coppin State University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Trinity Washington University - Washington, DC

Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20017-1094. Trinity Washington University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,734 students and an admission rate of 74%. Trinity Washington University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

Loyola College in Maryland - Baltimore, MD

Loyola College in Maryland, 4501 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21210-2699. Loyola College in Maryland is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,080 students and an admission rate of 69%. Loyola College in Maryland has 2 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, master's degree and post-master's certificate which graduated seventeen and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties, master's degree which graduated 8 students in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.

Prince George's Community College - Largo, MD

Prince George's Community College, 301 Largo Rd, Largo, MD 20774-2199. Prince George's Community College is a large college located in Largo, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,005 students. Prince George's Community College has a one to two year program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated ten students in 2008.

Bowie State University - Bowie, MD

Bowie State University, 14000 Jericho Park Rd, Bowie, MD 20715-9465. Bowie State University is a medium sized university located in Bowie, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,541 students and an admission rate of 85%. Bowie State University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-one and ten students respectively in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has 4 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, postbaccalaureate certificate, master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree which graduated one, forty-five, nine, and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs, master's degree which graduated 13 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties, master's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

McDaniel College - Westminster, MD

McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157. McDaniel College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,896 students and an admission rate of 77%. McDaniel College has 2 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, master's degree which graduated 8 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments, Including Deafness, master's degree which graduated 18 students in 2008.

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064. Catholic University of America is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,705 students and an admission rate of 81%. Catholic University of America has an associate's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated four and eight students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-one, forty-two, and five students respectively in 2008.

American University - Washington, DC

American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016-8001. American University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,684 students and an admission rate of 53%. American University has a master's degree program in Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities which graduated thirty-two students in 2008.

Gallaudet University - Washington, DC

Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has 5 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, master's degree.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments, Including Deafness, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated eight and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities, master's degree.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs, master's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree and doctor's degree which graduated one and three students respectively in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has a postbaccalaureate certificate and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated fifteen and 246 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: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.