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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Provo, Utah

If you want to be a special needs teacher, the Provo, Utah area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,580 jobs for special needs teachers in Utah and this is projected to grow by 42% to about 2,250 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for special needs teachers are expected to grow by about 19.6%. 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 $20 per hour or $41,647 per year in Utah, 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 Utah and better than general Special Education category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: cross-categorical special education teacher, life skills teacher, and resource teacher.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Provo where you can study to be a special needs teacher, among thirty-five schools of higher education total in the Provo area. Given that the most common education level for special needs teachers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Provo 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

Utah Valley University - Orem, UT

Utah Valley University, 800 W University Parkway, Orem, UT 84058-5999. Utah Valley University is a large university located in Orem, Utah. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 26,696 students. Utah Valley University has a bachelor's degree program in Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments, Including Deafness.

Salt Lake Community College - Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake Community College, 4600 S Redwood Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84123. Salt Lake Community College is a large college located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 29,539 students. Salt Lake Community College has an associate's degree program in Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs which graduated one student in 2008.

Western Governors University - Salt Lake City, UT

Western Governors University, 4001 East 700 South, Suite 701, Salt Lake City, UT 84107. Western Governors University is a large university located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,751 students and an admission rate of 37%. Western Governors University has a bachelor's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Brigham Young University - Provo, UT

Brigham Young University, Main Campus, Provo, UT 84602. Brigham Young University is a large university located in Provo, Utah. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 34,227 students and an admission rate of 69%. Brigham Young University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated fifty-six and four students respectively in 2008.

University of Phoenix-Utah Campus - Salt Lake City, UT

University of Phoenix-Utah Campus, 5373 S. Green Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84123-4617. University of Phoenix-Utah Campus is a small university located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,867 students. University of Phoenix-Utah Campus has a master's degree program in Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities which graduated ten students 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: Provo, Utah

Provo, Utah
Provo, Utah photo by Emes

Provo is situated in Utah County, Utah. It has a population of over 118,581, which has grown by 12.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Provo, 92, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Provo cost $296,100 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in Provo, down from one hundred eighty-one the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Provo are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 35.7% of Provo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Provo is 6.4%, which is greater than Utah's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Provo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 89.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are all churches located in Provo. The most prominent religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the Assemblies of God.

Provo is home to the Provo Temple and the Lakeside Campground as well as Utah Lake State Park and Cougar Stadium. Visitors to Provo can choose from Amenity Motor Inn, Hines Mansion Bed & Breakfast and Travelodge for temporary stays in the area.