How to Become a Special Education Teacher in Indiana

If you wish to help students with disabilities, you might want to consider getting licensed as an exceptional needs teacher. Below we'll look at the steps needed to earn that license in Indiana.

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As of 2017, there were over 6,000 exceptional needs teachers in Indiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The expected national job growth rate for special education teachers is eight percent from 2016-2026. Below, we'll look at the education and the testing required before you can become licensed as a special education teacher in Indiana.

Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Indiana

Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Indiana (2017)* $50,130 (Preschool), $50,670 (Kindergarten & Elementary), $51,000 (Middle School), $52,840 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education with a special education focus
Testing Requirements CASA, Indiana Core pedagogy test and content area test (in one of five exceptional needs areas)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Your Education

Indiana is one of the unique states that require teachers to be prepared for emergency situations. All teachers must become CPR-Heimlich Maneuver-AED certified. Teachers must also spend time training on suicide prevention and being aware of the signs. On top of this, future teachers must complete a bachelor's degree in education. Students should find a state-approved program for the grade level and special needs area they intend on teaching. As of 2018, there were 35 state-approved programs in mild intervention. Other exceptional needs foci that can be undertaken are intense intervention, blind and low vision, and deaf and hard of hearing. Some course topics you may encounter during your studies include educational psychology, eLearning, growth & development, understanding mild disabilities, special education law, and assessment & intervention. Along with coursework, college students must complete classroom practicums with supervising teachers.

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Step 2: Complete the Testing Requirements

As a prospective teacher, you must complete the Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) exam prior to beginning your education. You must earn a passing score of 220 for each subtest. Your CASA score can be replaced with your SAT, ACT, or GRE test results if you earned high enough scores.

The next test you'll take is an Indiana Core Developmental (Pedagogy) Assessment. These tests are available in several different education levels. For example, the early childhood assessment covers preschool through grade 3, the elementary school assessment covers grades K-6, and the secondary school assessment looks at grades 5-12. There is an exam to earn an instructional license for preschool through grade 12 as well.

The final test focuses on the area you intend to teach. For special education, that means one of the five Core Exceptional Needs assessments. You will want to be assessed in the specific exceptional needs area you want, such as blind and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, intense intervention, mild intervention, and/or mild intervention: reading instruction. These exams are computer-based. For the mild intervention exam, you'll have 105 minutes to complete the 100 multiple-choice questions. This particular exam costs $114. You must earn a score of at least 220 to pass.

Step 3: Apply for Licensure

To gain licensure, there are a few things you must do. First, a licensing advisor at your college will recommend you for licensure. After you have been recommended, several important documents need to be given to the Board of Education. To do this, simply create an account and application through the Licensing Verification and Information System (LVIS). You will complete the application and upload all important documents, such as your CPR card or suicide prevention certificate.

Certification Resources for Indiana Special Education Teachers

Those who want to become special education teachers in Indiana should utilize all tools available to them when preparing for the certification exams. Included are a few options that can help you study for the CASA.

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