Are you interested in teaching students who may need a little extra help? If you are then a career as a resource room teacher could be ideal for you. As a resource room teacher, more commonly refered to as a special education teacher, you'll help students with a variety of difficulties that may make learning a little more difficult for them. In order to become a resource room teacher you'll need at least a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions but you'll need a master's degree for more advanced positions.
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* (2014-2024 )||6%|
|Mean Salary* (May, 2015 )|| Kindergarten and elementary $58,640
All other special education teachers $57,670
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 2014 and 2024. 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 2015: kindergarten and elementary schools, $58,640; secondary schools, $62,180; and all other special education teachers, $57,670.
Given the nature of the job, prospective resource room teachers need a lot of patients, superb communication skills and the ability to tailor their teaching methods to meet the needs of their students. Likewise, you'll also need a bachelor's or even a master's degree along with the appropriate state licensure and certification.