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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Worcester, Massachusetts

There are many career and education opportunities for special needs teachers in the Worcester, Massachusetts area. There are currently 7,090 working special needs teachers in Massachusetts; this should grow by 16% to 8,250 working special needs teachers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $22 per hour or $54,082 per year in Massachusetts, 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 Massachusetts and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. People working as special needs teachers can fill a number of jobs, such as: exceptional student education teacher , special education resource teacher, and autistic teacher.

The Worcester area is home to thirty-nine schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Worcester 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 Worcester 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

Assumption College - Worcester, MA

Assumption College, 500 Salisbury St, Worcester, MA 01609-1296. Assumption College is a small college located in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,888 students and an admission rate of 71%. Assumption College has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

Fitchburg State College - Fitchburg, MA

Fitchburg State College, 160 Pearl St, Fitchburg, MA 01420-2697. Fitchburg State College is a medium sized college located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,400 students and an admission rate of 66%. Fitchburg State College has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated eighteen and sixty-four students respectively in 2008.

Framingham State College - Framingham, MA

Framingham State College, 100 State Street, Framingham, MA 01701-9101. Framingham State College is a medium sized college located in Framingham, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,603 students and an admission rate of 56%. Framingham State College has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated forty-one students in 2008.

Worcester State College - Worcester, MA

Worcester State College, 486 Chandler St, Worcester, MA 01602-2597. Worcester State College is a medium sized college located in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,378 students and an admission rate of 54%. Worcester State College has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties which graduated thirty-four 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.

LICENSES

TEACHER, SPECIAL NEEDS: PRE-KINDERGARTEN-9 AND 5-12

Licensing agency: State Department of Education
Address: Office of Teacher Certification, 350 Main Street, PO Box 9140, Malden, MA 02148-5023

Phone: (781) 388-3300
Website: State Department of Education Office of Teacher Certification

LOCATION INFORMATION: Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts photo by Yassie

Worcester is located in Worcester County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 175,011, which has grown by 1.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Worcester, 121, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Worcester cost $108,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, sixty-one new homes were constructed in Worcester, down from two hundred fourteen the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Worcester are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, construction, and health care. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 23.3% of Worcester residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Worcester is 9.9%, which is greater than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Worcester residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Burncoat Baptist Church, United Congregational Church and Unitarian Universalist Church are among the churches located in Worcester. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church.

Worcester is home to the Tatnuck Country Club and the Massachusetts Biotech Research Park as well as Ty Cobb Park and General Foley Stadium. Shopping malls in the area include Lincoln Plaza Shopping Center, Mid Town Mall and Norwich Place Shopping Center. Visitors to Worcester can choose from Days Inn, Hampton Inn and Maple Manor Hotel for temporary stays in the area.