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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Burlington, Vermont

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for special needs teachers in the Burlington, Vermont area. There are currently 700 working special needs teachers in Vermont; this should grow 11% to 770 working special needs teachers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $17 per hour or $45,935 per year in Vermont, 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 Vermont earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Special Education nationally. Jobs in this field include: preschool special education teacher, learning support teacher, and learning disabled teacher.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Burlington area, including three within twenty-five miles of Burlington 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, 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 Burlington 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

Johnson State College - Johnson, VT

Johnson State College, 337 College Hill, Johnson, VT 05656-9464. Johnson State College is a small college located in Johnson, Vermont. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,850 students and an admission rate of 82%. Johnson State College has 3 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, master's degree which graduated 14 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of the Gifted and Talented, master's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Emotional Disturbances, master's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

University of Vermont - Burlington, VT

University of Vermont, 85 S Prospect St, Burlington, VT 05405-0160. University of Vermont is a large university located in Burlington, Vermont. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,800 students and an admission rate of 65%. University of Vermont has 2 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, master's degree which graduated 20 students in 2008.
  • Education/Teaching of Individuals in Early Childhood Special Education Programs, bachelor's degree which graduated 6 students in 2008.

SUNY College at Plattsburgh - Plattsburgh, NY

SUNY College at Plattsburgh, 101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2681. SUNY College at Plattsburgh is a medium sized college located in Plattsburgh, New York. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,358 students and an admission rate of 49%. SUNY College at Plattsburgh has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated thirty-seven and nineteen 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.

LICENSES

Educator

Licensing agency: Teacher Licensing Office
Address: Vermont Department of Education, 120 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

Phone: (802) 828-2445
Website: Teacher Licensing Office Vermont Department of Education

LOCATION INFORMATION: Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont photo by Avala

Burlington is situated in Chittenden County, Vermont. It has a population of over 38,897. The cost of living index in Burlington, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Burlington cost $152,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five new homes were constructed in Burlington, down from eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Burlington are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 17 minutes. More than 42.0% of Burlington residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Burlington is 5.2%, which is less than Vermont's average of 5.9%. About 20.0% of Burlington's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Burlington residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Saint Mark Church, Champlain Valley Baptist Church and Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Burlington. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Burlington is home to the South Breakwater Light and the Vermont State Craft Center Shelburne Farms as well as Ethan Allen Park and Head of Church Street Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Church Street Marketplace Shopping Center, North Avenue Shopping Center and Burlington Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Burlington can choose from Holiday Inn, Radisson Hotel Burlington and Champlain Inn for temporary stays in the area.