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Become a Special Education Teacher in Texas

If you would like to be a gentle teaching voice to those with special needs, a special education career may be an option for you. In the following article, we'll take a look at Texas requirements for becoming such a teacher.

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According to the 2017 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 31,790 special education teachers of all grades in the state of Texas. If you'd like to learn how you can help the disabled in a classroom, read the following step-by-step guide.

Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Texas

Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Texas (2017)* $55,160 (Preschool), $58,330 (Elementary School), $58,080 (Middle School), $59,310 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Special Education
Testing Requirements TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 (160) and TExES Special Education EC-12 (161)

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Your Education Requirements

There are two education requirements for becoming a certified special education teacher in Texas: completion of a bachelor's degree program and an educator preparation program (EPP). These are sometimes combined to create one program, though you'll need to check whether or not your program is approved as an EPP with the state of Texas. If not, you'll need to complete a separate EPP that includes a teaching practicum. These can be found as certificate programs or graduate work.

With special education as your major, the EPP will likely be incorporated since you'll be learning about basic educational methods, school organization, and human learning. Along with that, you'll study special education specifically, such as childhood development, cognition, assessment of mild/moderate disabilities, teaching those with disabilities, early childhood intervention, and working with Autism students. Basically, you can anticipate learning how to work with students with disabilities from diverse backgrounds.

Step 2: Complete TExES Exams

Special Education teachers need to take exams for certification just as other teachers must. The primary exam all teachers must take to prove their pedagogical knowledge is the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12. This test has 100 multiple-choice questions and must be finished in the five hours given. It is also computer-administered.

The second exam that you will need to sit for is the TExES Special Education EC-12 assessment. While this exam is similar to other TExES exams in that you need to complete the exam in under five hours, there are more questions than the average test: 150 multiple-choice. This exam looks to see whether you are able to work with students with special needs. The four domain areas in this exam are understanding individuals with disabilities, promoting student learning and development, promoting student achievement, and professional roles of special education teachers.

There is also a special education supplement exam that can be taken. However, this TExES assessment is not a stand-alone certification and is attached only to a traditional teacher certificate. Since, we are specifically looking at becoming a special education teacher, we will not focus on that exam.

Step 3: Be Fingerprinted

In Texas, prospective teachers are required to provide a clean criminal background check. To do this, simply create an account with the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS) and pay the $39 fee associated with the background check. Once you have done this, go to a local Texas-approved MorphoTrust site to have your fingerprints digitally scanned. The cost is another $10 for the fingerprints. Once this has been done, the FBI and Texas Education Agency (TEA) will run the background check.

Certification Resources for Special Education Teachers in Texas

It is always helpful to find useful resources when studying for important exams. Here, we've set up a list of some study guide sources that will prepare you to take those certification exams to become a special education teacher.

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