Resource Room Teacher: Job Description and Education Requirements
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a resource room teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and certification to find out if this is the career for you.
Resource room teachers are also known as special education teachers. These educators generally stay within a designated resource room and work with special-needs students, such as those who have learning, physical, emotional, or mental disabilities or challenges. Resource room teachers may work with students in kindergarten through grade 12, but some teachers also work with students up to age 21. Teachers assess individual students to determine most appropriate teaching strategies and develop a teaching plan, commonly known as an individualized education program (IEP). Resource room teachers usually create lesson plans, collaborate with other teachers concerning each student's IEP, and provide general classroom teachers with instruction or advice on how to alter lesson plans to meet IEP requirements. Resource room teachers also communicate with parents, counselors, and others to discuss each student's progress.
Besides academic pursuits, resource room teachers may help special-needs students develop certain life skills. For example, teachers may help older students learn how to manage a bank account or communicate more effectively with others. Some resource room teachers also help students gain a better understanding of time management, especially with balancing daily living tasks and study schedules.
|Required Education||Bachelor's or master's degree|
|Other Requirements||Certification (requirements vary by state)|
|Projected Job Growth* (2012-2022 )||6%|
|Mean Salary* (May, 2014 )|| Kindergarten and elementary $57,140|
All other special education teachers $57,820
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that public school employers in all states require resource room teachers to possess at least a bachelor's degree, and private school employers' requirements can vary (www.bls.gov). Not all employers or states require that resource room teachers hold bachelor's degrees in special education, provided that they hold degrees in other teaching-related fields, such as education, or specific subjects, like math or English. Requirements for certification and licensing typically vary by state; certified or licensed teachers in some states must also earn a master's degree in special education, according to the BLS.
Bachelor's degree programs in special education cover topics such as legal concerns, adaptive technology, teaching strategies, curriculum design, student assessment, and consultation techniques. Special education courses in master's degree programs may include classroom management, collaboration techniques, learning disabilities, behavior analysis, and life transitions. Master's degree students can earn special endorsements to accompany their special education degrees, such as an emotional impairments endorsement or resource room teacher endorsement. Both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in special education require students to participate in student teaching projects and practicums.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of special education teachers is expected to grow by 6% between 2012 and 2022. Salaries earned by such teachers vary depending on the grade level of their students. The BLS also reported the mean annual salary earned by special education teachers at the following levels in May 2014: kindergarten and elementary schools, $57,140; secondary schools, $61,350; and all other special education teachers, $57,820.