how hard is a special education degree?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by willphillips00, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. willphillips00

    willphillips00 Rookie

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    Mar 1, 2017

    hi everyone! i've recently decided to major in special education. i truly am passionate about helping this kids, and the job of a spED teacher really interests and excites me!

    however, i am really worried about the difficulty of a special ed degree & how hard it would be to pass the exams to get licensed.

    can any special education teachers/education majors spread some light onto this subject for me? thanks everyone
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Mar 2, 2017

    Not sure where you are, but in NJ, it is more common for teachers to acquire their Teacher of Students with Disabilities as either the certificate or MEd in grad school. I believe the advantage of that trend is that you will have encountered and worked with SPED students before the course work, making everything more relevant.
     
  4. SPH_Teacher

    SPH_Teacher Rookie

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    Mar 5, 2017

    In California you go through similar classes as regular ed, but then you have your sped courses and credentialing to go through.
     
  5. thewife

    thewife Rookie

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    Mar 5, 2017

    My certification is Elementary Ed. and after working as a para for three years I decided to take the Mega Exam for Special Ed. in Missouri. I passed the Early Childhood Special Ed. and the K-12 Special Ed. tests the first time and I am now certified in both. I think that if you are taking college courses and doing observations in Special Ed. you should do fine on any testing. The more experience you have the more comfortable you will be.
     
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  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Mar 6, 2017

    If you are a decent test taker, I don't think you really need to worry about the certification exams. I did find the SPED exam to be more challenging than the elementary ed one because it was more things that you actually had to memorize (laws, etc.) while the elementary ed one was more common sense/common knowledge. I think the more important thing to keep in mind is that there is an extremely high burnout rate in SPED (I've heard the average teacher lasts 2 years), and there are good reasons for that. I had a student teacher this year that entered the year very gung-ho about being a SPED teacher. Her program required her to do dual certification, so she's been doing both all year and about halfway through the year she decided she was much more interested in gen ed. I'm sure she's wishing how that she had just done the regular elementary ed program so she could have gotten more time in her preferred setting. I think she also felt really passionate about working with kids with special needs, but she just had no idea what the actual job would be like. If there is any way you can spend some time volunteering or observing in sped settings and talking to actual teachers in your area, I would recommend that. I think college programs present a very "rosy" picture of sped that is unfortunately not very close to reality.
     
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  7. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2017

    I went thru an alternate certification program here in Missouri to teach middle/high school English and then picked up the praxis tests for special ed mild/mod. I never took a class but I was a parapro and had some experience that way. I studied only the test book and http://www.wrightslaw.com/ and passed the first time, which tells me that the test booklet and that website have almost all the information you need to pass the test. I say almost, b/c I'm sure I had picked up some things along the way on my job.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Mar 17, 2017

    Depending on the state, it may be as simple as passing a Praxis, but for other states, there are graduate level courses required, usually to acquire the TOSD (Teacher of Students with Disabilities) certificate. Your clearance and ability to teach SPED in your content requires the K-12 content endorsement, as well as the certificate from the university with a B average or better in the seven required courses. You can, of course, earn a MEd. in SPED, common in NJ because you can then become the LDTC, which is somewhat limited to NJ. NJ used to have a Teacher of the Handicapped designation, and anyone who acquired it can still use it. The advantage of the TOH endorsement is that legally you can teach SPED in any content area. It is no longer available to earn, but if you already have it, it is yours for life. Schools like to have at least one TOH on staff, because they can legally be assigned for any SPED class, regardless of content endorsements. They can be used as slot fillers, to meet state mandates, even if the teacher has never taught that content before. For all SPED private schools they are the generalist who keeps things moving smoothly. I had no interest in being a TOH because I want to teach in my content area. Our newest TOH is now assigned to World Language classes despite the fact that she doesn't speak the language. Our TOH is dedicated, working to become more literate in this new content. It works for the school; they are in compliance. Different ways to meet a state requirement.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2017

    The difficulty of earning the degree and passing the exams will be nothing compared to the difficulty of the actual job.
     
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  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Mar 19, 2017

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  11. stepka

    stepka Comrade

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    Mar 23, 2017

    Ugh, if you could have seen my first year of teaching. . . and then I got dx'ed with breast cancer mid-November of that year. The teaching was a blessing b/c it kept my mind off things and I have a great admin.
     

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