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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in St. Louis, Missouri

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for special needs teachers in the St. Louis, Missouri area. There are currently 6,340 jobs for special needs teachers in Missouri and this is projected to grow by 16% to about 7,340 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $21 per hour or $42,612 per year in Missouri, and an average of $22 per hour or $49,620 per year nationwide. Special needs teachers earn less than people working in the category of Special Education generally in Missouri and more than people in the Special Education category nationally. Special needs teachers work in a variety of jobs, including: assistant teacher, early childhood special education teacher , and non-categorical preschool teacher.

There are seventy-one schools of higher education in the St. Louis area, including six within twenty-five miles of St. Louis where you can get a degree to start your career 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 St. Louis 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

Fontbonne University - Saint Louis, MO

Fontbonne University, 6800 Wydown Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63105-3098. Fontbonne University is a small university located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,967 students and an admission rate of 82%. Fontbonne University has 2 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, bachelor's degree which graduated 37 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments, Including Deafness, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated three and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Maryville University of Saint Louis - Saint Louis, MO

Maryville University of Saint Louis, 650 Maryville University Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63141-7299. Maryville University of Saint Louis is a small university located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,522 students and an admission rate of 54%. Maryville University of Saint Louis has a master's degree program in Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented which graduated three students in 2008.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville - Edwardsville, IL

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Il State Rte 157, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1001. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a large university located in Edwardsville, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 13,602 students and an admission rate of 89%. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated forty-three and twenty students respectively in 2008.

Lindenwood University - Saint Charles, MO

Lindenwood University, 209 S Kingshighway, Saint Charles, MO 63301-1695. Lindenwood University is a large university located in Saint Charles, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,253 students and an admission rate of 40%. Lindenwood University has 3 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, bachelor's degree.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs, bachelor's degree.
  • Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

University of Missouri-St Louis - Saint Louis, MO

University of Missouri-St Louis, One University Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63121-4400. University of Missouri-St Louis is a large university located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,591 students and an admission rate of 46%. University of Missouri-St Louis has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated eighteen and fifty students respectively in 2008.

Webster University - Saint Louis, MO

Webster University, 470 E Lockwood Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63119-3194. Webster University is a large university located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 18,237 students and an admission rate of 57%. Webster University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated twenty-nine 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

Teachers and Instructors, All Other

Phone: (573) 751-0051
Website: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Division of Teacher Quality & Urban Education

LOCATION INFORMATION: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.