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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Special needs teachers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area. Currently, 2,210 people work as special needs teachers in Oklahoma. This is expected to grow 22% to 2,710 people by 2016. This is better than 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 $18 per hour or $39,790 per year in Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: teacher, mentally impaired teacher, and primary special educator.

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of Oklahoma City where you can study to be a special needs teacher, among forty-four schools of higher education total in the Oklahoma City 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 Oklahoma City 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

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma - Chickasha, OK

University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 17th Street and Grand Avenue, Chickasha, OK 73018-5322. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma is a small university located in Chickasha, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,158 students and an admission rate of 93%. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma has a bachelor's degree program in Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments, Including Deafness which graduated twelve students in 2008.

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.

University of Central Oklahoma - Edmond, OK

University of Central Oklahoma, 100 N University Dr, Edmond, OK 73034. University of Central Oklahoma is a large university located in Edmond, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 13,724 students and an admission rate of 69%. University of Central Oklahoma has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated sixteen and eight students respectively 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma photo by CPacker

Oklahoma City is located in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. It has a population of over 551,789, which has grown by 9.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Oklahoma City, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Oklahoma City cost $142,600 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 1,474 new homes were built in Oklahoma City, down from 2,559 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Oklahoma City are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 21 minutes. More than 24.0% of Oklahoma City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.1%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Oklahoma City is 6.5%, which is less than Oklahoma's average of 7.1%.

The percentage of Oklahoma City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.7%, is more than both the national and state average. Grace Place Baptist Church, Grace Presbyterian Church and Grace United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Oklahoma City. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Oklahoma City is home to the Colonial Square and the 50 Penn Place as well as Rotary Park and River Park. Shopping malls in the area include 240 Plaza Shopping Center, 74 South Shopping Center and Council Crossings Shopping Center. Visitors to Oklahoma City can choose from Rodeway Inn Oklahoma City, Harvey Janitorial Sales and Market Source for temporary stays in the area.