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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Omaha, Nebraska

If you want to be a special needs teacher, the Omaha, Nebraska area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 1,680 people work as special needs teachers in Nebraska. This is expected to grow by 16% to about 1,940 people 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 $14 per hour or $40,162 per year in Nebraska, and an average of $22 per hour or $49,620 per year nationwide. Compared with people working in the overall category of Special Education, people working as special needs teachers in Nebraska earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Special Education nationally. Jobs in this field include: emotional support teacher, teacher of the handicapped, and learning and behavioral disabilities teacher .

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of Omaha where you can study to be a special needs teacher, among thirty-one schools of higher education total in the Omaha area. The most common level of education for special needs teachers is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be 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 Omaha 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

Creighton University - Omaha, NE

Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE 68178. Creighton University is a medium sized university located in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,059 students and an admission rate of 79%. Creighton University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated one student in 2008.

Dana College - Blair, NE

Dana College, 2848 College Dr, Blair, NE 68008. Dana College is a small college located in Blair, Nebraska. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 565 students and an admission rate of 71%. Dana College has a bachelor's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated three students in 2008.

University of Nebraska at Omaha - Omaha, NE

University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge St, Omaha, NE 68182-0225. University of Nebraska at Omaha is a large university located in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,213 students and an admission rate of 84%. University of Nebraska at Omaha has 5 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated three and thirty-three students respectively in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Emotional Disturbances, master's degree.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation, master's degree.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities, master's degree.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Speech or Language Impairments, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated eleven and twelve students respectively in 2008.

Nebraska Wesleyan University - Lincoln, NE

Nebraska Wesleyan University, 5000 St Paul Ave, Lincoln, NE 68504-2794. Nebraska Wesleyan University is a small university located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,081 students and an admission rate of 80%. Nebraska Wesleyan University has a bachelor'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.

LICENSES

Special Education Teachers-Preschool/Elementary

Licensing agency: Nebraska Department of Education
Address: Teacher Certification Office, PO Box 94987, Lincoln, NE 68509-4987

Phone: (402) 471-0739
Website: Nebraska Department of Education Teacher Certification Office

LOCATION INFORMATION: Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska photo by Yassie

Omaha is located in Douglas County, Nebraska. It has a population of over 438,646, which has grown by 12.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Omaha, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Omaha are valued at $105,100 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,576 new homes were built in Omaha, down from 1,905 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Omaha are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 28.7% of Omaha residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Omaha is 4.7%, which is greater than Nebraska's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Omaha residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Calvary Baptist Church, Calvary Chapel of Omaha and Calvary Foursquare Gospel Church are all churches located in Omaha. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Omaha is home to the Gibson and the Cedar Hills Golf Course as well as Al Caniglia Field and Adams Park. Shopping malls in the area include Frederick Square Shopping Center, North Park Shopping Center and Oak View Mall. Visitors to Omaha can choose from Countryside Suites, Hampton Inn Omaha-Central and Townhouse Inn for temporary stays in the area.