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Career and Education Opportunities for Special Needs Teachers in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for special needs teachers. Currently, 3,510 people work as special needs teachers in Washington. This is expected to grow by 16% to about 4,090 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $20 per hour or $49,857 per year in Washington, 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 Washington earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Special Education nationally. Special needs teachers work in a variety of jobs, including: special education resource teacher, assistant teacher, and intervention specialist.

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

Seattle Pacific University - Seattle, WA

Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119-1997. Seattle Pacific University is a small university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,891 students and an admission rate of 84%. Seattle Pacific University has a bachelor's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated two students in 2008.

City University of Seattle - Bellevue, WA

City University of Seattle, 11900 NE First Street, Bellevue, WA 98005. City University of Seattle is a small university located in Bellevue, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,489 students. City University of Seattle has 2 areas of study related to Special Needs Teacher. They are:

  • Special Education and Teaching, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated forty-eight and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Special Education and Teaching, Other Specialties, master's degree which graduated 13 students in 2008.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated thirty-four and two students respectively in 2008.

Seattle University - Seattle, WA

Seattle University, 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4340. Seattle University is a medium sized university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,560 students and an admission rate of 65%. Seattle University has a master's degree program in Special Education and Teaching which graduated two 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.