Special education requires a certain type of highly trained person with an in-depth knowledge of how individual needs affect the way that certain children and adults learn. It is quite possibly one of the most challenging yet rewarding areas of education to work within. While working with children and adults with disabilities is demanding, it also allows those who work in the industry to grow and develop in their own character – something that not all career choices can offer. So if you have great communication skills, along with the ability to really listen and watch what’s going on in front of your eyes, then you just might make a great special education teacher. Once thing’s for sure, teaching special education is fascinating, and you won’t ever have the chance to get bored as no two working days will ever be the same.

What are special education degree courses all about?
A special education degree course is all about providing you with the knowledge and life skills you need to offer education to people with disabilities. This could mean physical, learning, mental or psychological disabilities – basically anyone who might have additional learning needs. You can expect to gain a thorough knowledge in child development, various disability issues, working with carers and families of special needs individuals, as well as multi-professional perspectives and the current legislative frameworks that govern practice in this emotive industry.

What will I learn on a special education degree course?
All special education degree courses have their own unique way of presenting their syllabus, but wherever you study you can expect to cover the following:

  • Child development from birth to teenage years
  • Pupil assessment
  • Communication – verbal, non-verbal, written and other forms of communication
  • Different type of disability awareness
  • Safeguarding children and vulnerable members of society
  • Assessment and education planning
  • Various resources available to support children and adults with special education needs
  • Disability and psychoeducational studies
  • Elective specialization that more fully explores specific disabilities

What methods will a special education degree course use to teach me?
By necessity you’ll undertake education both in a theoretical and practical manner. Lectures, seminars, self-led learning, project work, on-site work experience in schools and learning classes, examinations and possible thesis/dissertation production are all likely to be used to provide your special education degree program. It’s virtually a necessity for some of your course to take place “out in the field,” so to speak – actually gaining experience in real-life scenarios with students with special needs. Depending on where you study and the length of your degree course, you might end up with more than one works experience placement during your study.

After gaining my special education degree, what options are open to me for employment?
After gaining your special education degree there are different areas you might like to move into. If you’ve specialized into certain areas – such as early education or adult education – then you might like to look for teaching jobs in that range. Other options are to move sideways into supporting roles, such as administration, coaching or working in the care industry where education also plays a strong part.