Top 10 Reasons To Get A Special Education Degree

A special education degree from PennWest California is a great investment in your future. Whether you want to teach special education in elementary schoolor middle school, or want to earn a bachelor’s degree that qualifies you for many other exciting employment opportunities serving individuals with disabilities, we’ve got you covered. Here are the Top 10 reasons to get a special Education Degree from PennWest California.

1. Special Education Is Meaningful and Rewarding.

Most people who receive a bachelor’s degree in special education are committed to working with individuals with disabilities. Many of them regard working in special education as a calling, and they are excited to work in a rewarding career where they can be paid to do something that is emotionally fulfilling and personally meaningful. Helping students overcome difficult challenges is a reward unto itself, although this career path also comes with great benefits and job stability. A bachelor’s degree from PennWest California can help you embark on the rewarding career in special education that you deserve.

 2. Special Education Teachers Are in High Demand.

Teacher shortages are affecting not only Pennsylvania but also the United States as a whole. This shortage of qualified professionals is creating a high demand for teachers of all sorts, with many states identifying special education teachers as a particular need. The nationwide teacher shortage is means that many states have begun to re-evaluate issues such as teacher pay, benefits and certification qualifications, creating an environment in which individuals with a teaching degree can forward to a higher salary, better benefits packages, and an easier transition if an educator wants to move from one state to another. In general, a teacher with a special education degree is likely to have more job security and a wider array of career options than ever before.

 3. Special Education Teachers Receive Great Pay and Benefits.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for special education teachers was $58,980 in May 2017. Depending on location, this is either above or on par with other positions available with a teaching degree. However, many states are considering ways to improve pay and benefits packages for special education teachers, because special education is one of the areas that the teaching shortage has hit hardest. A bachelor’s degree in special education also qualifies PennWest California graduates for a variety of careers in state programs and nonprofit agencies designed for individuals with disabilities.

4. Special Education is Experiencing Unprecedented Mobility.

The nationwide teaching shortage is creating a number of teacher-friendly effects that were unexpected even a few years ago. Across the nation, states are re-evaluating teacher certification in order to fill areas of need, with many schools and programs recruiting from out of state. Special education teachers, as well as others with a teaching degree, now have a much easier time moving from one state to another, meaning that program graduates with a bachelor’s degree in special education have a much easier time finding rewarding jobs in their dream locations. In fact, this is particularly true of special education teachers, whose expertise is identified as a major area of need nationwide.

5. A Special Education Degree Offers Many Career Paths.

PennWest California certainly is proud of its many graduates who go on to work as special education teachers. However, many people are unaware of the wide selection of career options available with a special education degree. Graduates of the PennWest California bachelor’s degree program in special education also can build exciting and meaningful careers outside of a school setting. Each U.S. state has programs committed to meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities, along with a wide selection of private, public and nonprofit organizations devoted to that cause. A special education degree can translate into a career as a case manager, a state supervisor, a program coordinator or a nonprofit director. Special education professionals may even go on to become CEOs or members of executive teams for nonprofit organizations. Some career goals may require you to earn a master’s degree in special education, which can be done online through PennWest California’s graduate program, which offers many fields of specialty study. Job promotion is just one of the many reasons that PennWest California graduates working in special education may return to school for a graduate degree at some point in their careers.

Enough nonprofit groups and state programs exist that special education professionals can find meaningful work within the branch of special education that speaks most specifically to their interests, strengths and long-term employment goals. For example, a special education professional who is particularly passionate about advocacy can work for one of the many advocacy programs dedicated to upholding the rights of individuals with disabilities. A person who has a personal or professional interest in autism can build a rewarding career at an agency committed to serving individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Someone with a particular gift for addressing behavior issues at school or in the workplace can use a special education degree from PennWest California as a springboard to a career as a behavior specialist.

6. Special Education Is a Team Effort.

A special education teacher is not alone in figuring out the best way to respond to an individual or a class. In fact, special education programs have always emphasized the value of a team approach. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) often draw on the expertise of many professionals, and special education teachers frequently work with classroom aides or other specialists who are vital and active members of the team. Family members also may work with the team to support a student’s education or find the best way to help that student move toward maximum independence.

7. Special Education Teachers Truly Get to Know Their Students.

Special education professionals often report that one benefit of a special education classroom is the small class size, which allows the teacher to truly get to know his or her students. In addition to smaller class sizes, special education teachers often have a classroom aide or other specialist in the room, so the teacher can take time to address an individual student’s needs without worrying that such one-to-one attention is taking away from the group as a whole. This degree of personal investment and attention to the individual is crucial in a special education classroom, and it creates lifelong bonds that both the student and teacher find meaningful and rewarding.

 8. Special Education Offers a Lifetime of Learning.

One of the top 10 reasons a special education career is so appealing is the fact that it provides a lifetime of learning. All education professionals are committed to learning, but in special education, a bachelor’s degree is just the beginning. Each student with special needs presents a unique combination of gifts and challenges – and a new incentive for his or her teachers to learn more. As we’ve seen with autism in recent years, scientific study and practitioners’ experiences result in new insights, which in turn encourage teachers to become lifelong learners, even after they leave PennWest California. Sometimes special education professionals develop an interest in a particular subject and decide to improve their education in order to transition their careers toward this new professional focus. Many bachelor’s degree holders eventually return to PennWest California to attain a master’s degree due to the many doors a graduate degree can open.

 9. Special Education Offers a Large Community.

 A special education teacher often has the benefit of becoming very involved with other professionals who are dedicated to working with individuals with disabilities. In the process of creating a solid Individual Education Plan (IEP) for a student, a special education teacher may develop close ties with family members and meaningful professional relationships with doctors, behavioral specialists, case managers, advocates and representatives of programs run by state agencies or nonprofit groups. Aside from being an invaluable source of personal and professional support, this expanded peer group can lead to exciting career options down the road.

10. Special Education Is Engaging.

The last item on our list of top 10 reasons to gain a bachelor’s degree in special education is the simple fact that the work of special education is engaging. Because each student in a special education program has such unique goals and challenges, a special education teacher often has more variety throughout the workday than his or her peers in a traditional classroom. Special education’s person-centered approach makes the job as varied and unique as the individual students. Both compassion and creativity are at a premium in this field, which sometimes makes special education more challenging — but it also makes the career deeply rewarding.

A bachelor’s degree from PennWest California is just the ticket you need to embark on a fulfilling career in special education. Apply now!

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