Special education teachers develop and conduct learning programmes for preschool, primary and secondary students who have learning difficulties or an impairment in their physical, sensory, emotional or intellectual abilities. Some also teach students who are intellectually gifted.
To become a special education teacher you usually have to complete a degree in education, specialising in special education. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in education with a specialisation in special education. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks. Alternatively, you can undertake a Graduate Diploma of Education, specialising in special education, after completing a degree in teaching or other relevant areas such as arts, social work or disability studies. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree as well as teaching experience or experience working with people with special needs. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Special education teachers may perform the following tasks:
Special education teachers may work in schools for children with special needs or in mainstream classrooms, either with groups of students or on an individual basis. In mainstream schools, special education teachers are involved in the planning and implementation of programmes to enable students with disabilities to function successfully in a regular classroom setting.
Special education teachers are employed by government and non-government schools, as well as some special centres. Some teachers with special education qualifications are able to work in private practice, offering tutorial services for children with learning problems. Demand for special education teachers is dependent on levels of government funding.
An adult literacy and numeracy teacher specialises in teaching literacy and numeracy skills such as reading, writing and mathematics to adults with low literacy or other people with literacy or numeracy problems.