According to the Hawaii Department of Education, the state needs to hire 1,500 new teachers each year, so future special education teachers may just fill some of these positions. To gain employment as a special education teacher, the first step is getting licensed to teach, and we discuss here the education and Praxis exams required by Hawaii.
Requirements for Hawaiian Special Education Teacher Licensure
|Average Salary for Hawaiian Special Education Teachers (2016)*||$55,560 (Special Education Teachers, Preschool); $55,250 (Special Education Teachers, Secondary School); $39,760 (Special Education Teachers, All Other)|
|Degree Field||Special Education|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core); Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Required Teacher Preparation Program
To work with students who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities, physical impairments, and various developmental disorders, Hawaiian special education teachers complete a special education program at a college or university. Sometimes, these programs focus on either elementary or secondary special education, and candidates will have to choose their focus before enrolling. No matter which path students choose, however, the coursework may overlap in some areas. The coursework enrolled students may be exposed to typically includes: diagnosing children with learning difficulties, strategies for teaching students with special needs, the behavior of those with disabilities, and working with diverse learners. In addition to regular classes, students are also required to gain practical teaching experience through a student teaching placement. This may be a semester or a year of teacher candidates working in a real classroom and applying all the instruction and classroom management knowledge they have been taught.
The Required Licensure Exams
All teachers in Hawaii are required to pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) exam. Examinees must obtain a 156 score on the Reading subtest, a 162 on the writing subtest, and a 150 on the mathematics subtest.
The reading portion of the Core exam includes 56 questions and must be completed in 85 minutes. Locating issues with the author's argument, following the main ideas, and analyzing supporting evidence are all major focuses of this section. The writing subtest, on the other hand, has 40 questions and two essay assignments which cover a text's purpose, coherent organization, editing, and grammar. Test-takers are given 100 minutes to make their way through this section. Finally, the math subtest can take 85 minutes to complete and includes 56 questions. Candidates are tested on their understanding of ratios, fractions, algebraic equations, measuring geometric figures, and graphing.
There are multiple exam options for special education licensure in the state of Hawaii. Which one a candidate takes depends on their area of study and interest. These special education Praxis exams focus on one of the following:
- Severe to Profound Applications (test code 5545)
- Mild to Moderate Applications (test code 5543)
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students (test code 5372)
- Visual Impairments (test code 5354)
To pass one of these exams, the required score ranges from 158 to 163.
The basic exam is the Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications. This computer-based exam is composed of 120 multiple-choice questions, which candidates get two hours to answer. The questions cover topics that include: human development, familial influence on individuals with disabilities, lesson plans, instruction, assessment, and the responsibilities of special education teachers.