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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck, North Dakota provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for special needs teachers. There are currently 890 jobs for special needs teachers in North Dakota and this is projected to grow 17% to about 1,040 jobs 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 $19 per hour or $43,870 per year in North Dakota, 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 North Dakota and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: learning and behavioral disabilities teacher , special education administrator, and reading specialist.

There are six schools of higher education in the Bismarck area, including one within twenty-five miles of Bismarck 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 Bismarck include:

  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Special Needs Teacher Training

University of Mary - Bismarck, ND

University of Mary, 7500 University Dr, Bismarck, ND 58504. University of Mary is a small university located in Bismarck, North Dakota. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,851 students and an admission rate of 81%. University of Mary has 4 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Emotional Disturbances, master's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated four and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities, master's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties, master's degree.


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.



Phone: (701) 328-9641
Website: Educational Standards and Practices Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck, North Dakota
Bismarck, North Dakota photo by Bobak

Bismarck is situated in Burleigh County, North Dakota. It has a population of over 60,389, which has grown by 8.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Bismarck, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Bismarck are valued at $168,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred fifty-nine new homes were built in Bismarck, down from two hundred seventy the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Bismarck are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and health care. The average commute to work is about 14 minutes. More than 29.4% of Bismarck residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Bismarck is 2.7%, which is less than North Dakota's average of 3.2%. About 8.4% of Bismarck's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Bismarck residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 77.8%, is more than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Bismarck is home to Pioneer Park and Riverside Park. Shopping malls in the area include Kirkwood Plaza Shopping Center, Northbrook Shopping Center and Gateway Mall. Visitors to Bismarck can choose from Americinn Lodge & Suites, Super 8 of Bismarck and Ramada Inn for temporary stays in the area.