Becoming a special education teacher in California – or, more accurately, a California particular education specialist – can be a very satisfying vocation.
It will help you to pursue your interests in lifelong learning and civil rights advocacy while also allowing you to contribute to the greater good.
Students with impairments from a variety of backgrounds receive special education programs.
Many kids will come from low-income families and learn English as a second language.
If you want to be one of the many new teachers passionate about teaching these varied pupils, then special education is the path for you.
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How to become a Special Education Teacher in California
The primary stages of becoming a special education teacher in California are outlined here.
Step 1: Begin Gaining Experience as Soon as Possible
Look for possibilities in a particular day class, a resource room, or any other location where you can engage people with disabilities.
Also, locations with responsibilities that require you to work with them.
Volunteer or apply to work as a para-educator (also known as a teacher’s assistant, paraprofessional, dedicated student aide, 1 on 1 aide, etc.).
Step 2: Focus on a Certain Handicapped Population
Concentrate on the disability population with which you’d like to work. There are five critical areas in which you can get credentials in California:
- Special Education for Children in Early Childhood
- Mild to moderate disabilities
- Moderate to severe impairments
- Vision impairment, and deafness are all examples of disabilities.
Step 3: Get a Bachelor’s Degree
The degree can be in any topic you like, but the following majors will help you prepare for graduate school:
- Child development
- Ethnic studies
- Math/English education.
Step 4: Take the CBEST
Take the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) and the CSET Multiple Subjects tests (California Subject Examination for Teachers) (if you want to teach in high school, you might take a CSET Single Subjects test).
Both tests must be passed to apply to certification programs.
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Step 5: Make an Appointment with a Counselor to Discuss Your Program Options
You’ll be able to skip a few of the classes and tests required for the Special Education credential if you already hold a general education credential, either multiple or single topics.
Keep in mind that a unique education credential allows you to teach special education in all grade levels, K-12, except Early Childhood.
This limits you from birth to five years old, and Moderate – Severe, which allows you to teach students up to the age of 22 in addition to the K-12 grade range.
Step 6: Determine Whether or Not You Want to Do an Internship
Don’t be tricked into thinking this is just a “regular” internship. Internship in Special Education as a teacher entails working full-time at a conventional teaching position and attending full-time classes at your university.
An internship is an excellent method to get into a district, get your first two years of teaching out of the way (considered the most challenging), and earn a good wage.
Step 7: Submit an Application for Your Certificate
You’ll receive two levels of certification: Level I and Level II. After completing your Level I certification, which comprises most of your studies. You’ll have five years to complete your Level II (a two-year program that can be completed at your leisure).
This is done through the university and the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment – BTSA procedure, similar to what general education teachers go through.
It can be combined with a master’s degree in Special Education, which requires only one to three additional semesters, and a master’s project, thesis, or seminar.
It’s well worth adding one more semester of work after three and a half years, and most districts will pay you a little stipend for having an MA.
If you want to change or try a different college, you can apply to any university to achieve your Level II.
You are not required to continue at the same institution where you started. Your school district will organize the BTSA.
Step 8: Job Applications Are Welcome
Due to a substantial increase in the number of students getting special education and a high teacher turnover rate, special education is a profession with many more job openings than applicants.
For those who are interested, the field of special education offers various job prospects. Anywhere in California, you’ll almost certainly find work, and the job security is unrivaled.
If you’ve ever considered working with special needs people, you’ll likely be thrilled in this sector.
Outlined above are all the details of becoming a special education teacher in California; if followed judiciously would lead to a positive outcome.