California Needs Special Education Teachers

Teachers who are interested in reorienting their career trajectories by earning a master's degree in special education may want to move to California when they are ready to look for work. There's a shortage of teachers, which means there are plenty of special education teacher jobs available.

According to Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC, the need for special education teachers in California has risen considerably in recent years. The number of students that need to enroll in special education programs in the state is nearing 700,000 - that's approximately 10 percent of total enrollment.

"We think we are preparing about half the numbers of special education teachers that the state might actually need," Mary Vixie Sandy, executive director of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, told the source. "And so it's an issue that we really do need to attend to."

Being a special education teacher requires a very specific set of skills because teachers have to be able to assist students with cross-categorical disabilities. The state of California spends a great deal on special education so that students can have access to aides and specialists. Special education is one of the state's most significant K-12 expenditures, amounting to approximately $9 billion.

While the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing credentials between 4,000 and 5,000 special education teachers per year, officials say that is not enough to meet the rising demand. According to KABC, the commission has taken to issuing thousands of interim and emergency documents to allow people to temporarily teach special needs students - something that many parents feel is ineffective.

"They need more one-on-one, more smaller groups," Ron Mesna, the parent of a special-needs child, told KABC. "Mainstreaming in part of the classroom is great, but they need more, and the teachers have to learn how they learn. Every one of them is different."

For those pursuing a master's degree in special education, this is an undeniable fact. While they may face additional requirements in order to become credentialed in the state of California, special education teachers can be sure that their services are greatly needed there.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_teachers

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