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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Waco, Texas

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for special needs teachers in the Waco, Texas area. About 13,750 people are currently employed as special needs teachers in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 50% to 20,560 people employed. 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. 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 $20 per hour or $45,255 per year in Texas, 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 Texas and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: early childhood special education certified teacher, early intervention specialist, and elementary school teacher.

There are seven schools of higher education in the Waco area, including two within twenty-five miles of Waco 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. 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 Waco include:

  • 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

Baylor University - Waco, TX

Baylor University, 500 Speight Ave., Waco, TX 76798. Baylor University is a large university located in Waco, Texas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,541 students and an admission rate of 51%. Baylor University has a bachelor's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated seven students in 2008.

Hill College - Hillsboro, TX

Hill College, 112 Lamar Dr, Hillsboro, TX 76645. Hill College is a small college located in Hillsboro, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,718 students. Hill College has an associate'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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Waco, Texas

Waco, Texas
Waco, Texas photo by Aboxorocks

Waco is situated in Mclennan County, Texas. It has a population of over 124,009, which has grown by 9.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Waco, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Waco are valued at $144,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-eight new homes were built in Waco, down from five hundred fifty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Waco are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 18.6% of Waco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Waco is 7.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Waco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.5%, is more than both the national and state average. El Calvario Presbyterian Church, Abundant New Life Assembly of God Church and Adams Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Waco. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Waco is home to the Helen Marie Taylor Museum and the Potts Interchange as well as Heart O Texas Coliseum and Kathy Ball Park. Shopping malls in the area include Lake Air Shopping Center and Richland Shopping Center. Visitors to Waco can choose from Budget Inn, America's Best Inns and Best Western Old Main Lodge for temporary stays in the area.