A Special Education Science Teacher is a skilled professional, dedicated to the education of students with special needs. Special Education Science Teachers are expected to have a working knowledge of subject-specific content that includes all aspects of the scientific method - including data collection, hypothesis development, and testing, sequencing, memory recall, lab safety procedures, and critical thinking.
Where can you work?
Special Education Science Teachers work in a variety of settings. Public schools, private schools, residential treatment centers for children with developmental disabilities and mental health issues, and correctional institutions are just some of the places where you might find Special Education Science Teachers working.
Working conditions for the special education science teacher
Most special education science teachers work during regular school hours but those who tutor after-school may work different hours depending on their program's requirements. Additionally, some schools offer opportunities for additional educational activities such as joining a science olympiad team outside of regular school hours which could require teaching both during and after school hours.
What are the responsibilities and requirements?
Special Education Science Teachers are unique members of the teaching staff, so your job responsibilities will vary depending on where you work. However, some of the most common expectations for Special Education Science Teachers include:
- Maintaining clearly defined learning objectives - Special Education Science Teachers are expected to meet the needs of students with disabilities or mental health issues. This means they must understand how their students learn, what teaching techniques appeal to them most, and how to accommodate for individual differences in every classroom situation.
- Using assessment tools - Special Education Science Teachers are also expected to use assessment tools to determine whether or not their students have achieved the learning objectives they established at the beginning of a school year. Some teachers choose to use standardized tests while others may assess student work samples and report cards.
- Developing curriculum - Curriculum design is an important part of teaching any subject. However, special education science teachers must take care when designing lessons and activities because their students typically need hands-on activities that can be adapted to meet individual needs.
- Helping students with special needs - Special education science teachers are responsible for helping their students to understand the biology, chemistry, or physics concepts they are studying. This may require some creative teaching techniques, so be sure to check with your school district about what resources they provide before planning new lessons.
- Coordinating field trips and extracurricular activities - Some special education science teachers work for small schools where teacher assistants handle most of the day-to-day tasks that take place outside the classroom. However, it is also common for Special Education Science Teachers to coordinate field trips or extra credit opportunities (such as science olympiad teams).
- Providing one-on-one assistance where needed - Special education science teachers are expected to provide tutoring and extra help in the classroom. This includes helping students with homework, after-school activities, or concepts they do not understand in class.
- Planning field trips that are fun but also educational - Special education science teachers must be able to plan outdoor activities that are both fun and educational for their students.
- Teaching lab safety procedures - In order to teach safe practices when conducting experiments, special education science teachers should also have a strong understanding of lab procedures.
- What skills do you need for this position?
The skills and qualities that are important for special education science teachers typically include:
- In-depth knowledge of the material you will be teaching. In order to understand how to meet your student's needs, you must have a strong understanding of not just science topics but special education techniques as well.
- Ability to work with students from all backgrounds and cultures. Although most special education science teachers work with students who have learning or developmental disabilities, they may also tutor elementary school kids after hours if their school offers this opportunity. Therefore, it is important that a special education science teacher can establish a comfortable rapport with many different types of people.
- Creativity. In order to adapt lessons to meet individual needs, a special education science teacher must be able to think outside the box and come up with new ways of presenting the material. Although it can be difficult at times, success leaves clues so use this opportunity to gain inspiration through your students.
- Patience. Even under the best circumstances, teaching can be difficult because you are constantly surrounded by questions and ideas that may at times overwhelm you. However, patience is an important quality for all teachers so stay calm during challenging moments and do not give up on your students no matter how frustrated you may feel in the moment. As long as every child feels comfortable asking questions or approaching their teacher, they will learn without fear no matter what their disability is.
- Ability to work independently as well as with a team. Working both independently and with a team can be difficult, but it is a necessary skill for a special education science teacher since you may need to attend meetings about your students' progress or help plan lessons by yourself. This type of flexibility will make you a valuable member of the team while allowing you to meet your individual goals as an educator.
Qualities that are not very important for this position include:
- Working knowledge of computers - Although some special education science teachers use technology in their lessons, many do not because they feel its distracting effects outweigh any advantages it might provide. Therefore, if you are considering pursuing this career path it is more important that you have experience working with technology than knowledge of computer programs.
- Understanding of concepts taught in special education - Although understanding the challenges your students face will help you be a more supportive teacher, there is no need to have formal training in special education or counseling to work with these students. If you are passionate about science and working with children this career can be very rewarding and fulfilling because it allows you to combine your interests into one role.
What's great about this job?
Teaching is rewarding in itself; however, working as a special education science teacher allows you to make an even bigger impact on your students' lives by helping them develop skills that will help them succeed throughout school and after graduation.
Most people are unaware of the fact that special needs students have an even harder time finding employment once they graduate from college. If you can help your students adjust to social life after high school, they will feel more comfortable in their adult lives and less likely to become discouraged by difficult job search processes.
What's not so great about this job?
Working with students who have learning disabilities or other special needs is rewarding but also exhausting since you may be required to adapt lessons or help students overcome severe emotional reactions during challenging moments. Therefore, it is important that if this line of work sounds like it would be too draining for you then you should reconsider pursuing a career as a special education science teacher.
What education and training are required?
Although a bachelor's degree in special education is not required, most states will only allow you to teach students with disabilities if you have obtained a teaching license or certification. You can find out what requirements your state has for special education teachers through CareerOneStop online.
Do you need any special experience to apply for this position?
No experience is required to apply for this position, but it is highly recommended that you have some type of education in science or education. If you are pursuing a degree or certification in special education, then you should already have the necessary experience to apply for this role.
What is the salary range for a special education science teacher?
The average salary for a special education science teacher is $45,000. The salary range will depend on your state and how much experience you have in the field of teaching. The higher the level of education you have earned, the higher your annual income will be since many teachers who work with students who have disabilities earn between $57,000 and $76,500 per year.
How to apply for this position?
Most jobs for special education science teachers are available on Indeed.com which is very beneficial for those who need immediate results since you can apply to multiple positions all at once. Networking with friends and family members is also helpful because many schools recruit new graduates from colleges and universities around the region where they offer classes as well as other schools in your area.
All teachers who would like to work as special education science teachers with students who have learning disabilities should submit their resumes to prospective employers. Resumes with the most experience and those from applicants with teaching degrees will be considered first so it is important that you highlight any relevant experience or training on your resume when applying for this role.
During the interview process, you should highlight your experience working with technology because many special education science teachers will use this tool to create lesson plans. Also, make sure that you are prepared to discuss any past experiences you have had with students who have faced challenges or hardships throughout their academic careers.
What resources are available if you want more information about becoming a special education science teacher?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is one resource that can give you insight into how much money each state pays its special education science teachers and average salaries for all teaching professions in your area. You can also find information on how to become a special education teacher and what types of requirements you will need to meet.
Does a special education science teacher position have an internship?
Yes, a special education science teacher position does provide internship opportunities for those who are preparing to enter the teaching profession. Internship programs are typically available during your final year of school and will require you to spend between six months and one year working at least three days per week in order to gain on-the-job training that is required by many schools.
What kind of schedule does benefit for this role?
Special education science teachers work more than standard full-time hours since they are often required to work after school or during weekends when students have academic challenges or emotional problems that need immediate attention. Therefore, it is important that if you decide to pursue this line of work then you should be prepared to give up any social activities you may have on the weekend.
Can you do part-time work?
Yes, if you are unable to take on a full-time position then it is possible to search for part-time teaching opportunities with students who have disabilities. Part-time positions typically allow professionals to teach half of one day or two days per week but they often require more hours at home due to the need of grading papers and create lesson plans for your student's academic needs.
Who will be your employers?
The majority of special education science teachers work with the public school system or within a private school so this means that you will be employed by an elementary, middle, high school, college, or university. Most positions are filled by new graduates who want to gain experience in the classroom while others are provided by experienced professionals who have achieved tenure status and are expected to advance their careers through continuing education courses.
Career paths for this position
Once you have obtained your teaching certificate and become a special education science instructor, your career path may lead to senior-level positions such as curriculum development or school management. Other options are available if you choose to advance in your education profession by earning a master's degree in counseling psychology.
With additional experience working with students who experience psychological problems due to their disabilities, you can become the school psychologist or director of guidance services.
Competition rate for this career
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there were 139,400 elementary and secondary teachers working in the public schools throughout the country during last year with about 96 percent of those professionals teaching special education courses such as art, music, and physical education. This statistic does not include those educators who worked in private schools or those who taught at colleges and universities.