Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Norman, Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for special needs teachers. About 2,210 people are currently employed as special needs teachers in Oklahoma. By 2016, this is expected to grow 22% to 2,710 people employed. This is better than 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 $18 per hour or $39,790 per year in Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Special Education nationally. Jobs in this field include: non-categorical preschool teacher, physically impaired teacher, and speech-language pathologist.
There are thirty-seven schools of higher education in the Norman area, including two within twenty-five miles of Norman where you can get a degree to start your career as a special needs teacher. 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 Norman 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
Oklahoma Baptist University - Shawnee, OK
Oklahoma Baptist University, 500 W University, Shawnee, OK 74804. Oklahoma Baptist University is a small university located in Shawnee, Oklahoma. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,753 students and an admission rate of 63%. Oklahoma Baptist University has a bachelor's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated six students in 2008.
University of Oklahoma Norman Campus - Norman, OK
University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, 660 Parrington Oval, Norman, OK 73019-3072. University of Oklahoma Norman Campus is a large university located in Norman, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 26,201 students and an admission rate of 73%. University of Oklahoma Norman Campus has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Special Education and Teaching which graduated seventeen, three, and two students respectively in 2008.
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: Norman, Oklahoma
Norman is located in Cleveland County, Oklahoma. It has a population of over 106,957, which has grown by 11.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Norman, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Norman are priced at $184,600 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, five hundred sixteen new homes were built in Norman, up from four hundred nineteen the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Norman are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 39.8% of Norman residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.6%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Norman is 4.7%, which is less than Oklahoma's average of 7.1%.
The percentage of Norman residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Alameda Baptist Church, Alameda Church of Christ and All Welcome Victory Church are among the churches located in Norman. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.
Norman is home to the Cerebral Palsy Institute and the Park on Main as well as Owen Field and Rotary Park. Shopping malls in the area include Colonial Estates Shopping Center, Anatole Shopping Center and Carriage Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Norman can choose from Ramada Days Inn, Montford Inn and Guest Inn - Norman for temporary stays in the area.