In 2016, the Connecticut Department of Education reported that the total of special education students had risen from 11.6% to 13.4% since 2009. This illustrates that special education teachers continue to meet a vital need in Connecticut. Candidates will need to meet educational and certification requirements, and this article outlines those requirements.
|Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Connecticut (2016)*|| $79,490 (Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers)
$70,650 (Middle School Teachers)
$76,860 (Secondary School Teachers)
|Required Degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Special Education|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, Praxis Special Education Examination, Pearson Foundations of Reading Examination|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Step 1: Meet Educational Requirements
Candidates wishing to become a special education teacher can do so by earning a bachelor's degree in special education through an approved teacher training program. The Connecticut Department of Education provides candidates with a list of all the approved training programs in the state.
Programs must include coursework in areas such as child development, learning differences, and behavioral disorders. Other courses include teaching language arts to exceptional students, curriculum and methods for exceptional students, an introduction to exceptionalities, and children's literature and literacy. Candidates will complete a student teaching assignment as part of their teacher training program.
Candidates may not need to take the Praxis Core examination if they earned minimum score requirements on the SAT, GRE, or ACT test:
- SAT: Total verbal/math score of 1000 (prior to 3/31/95) or 1100 (on/after 4/1/95)
- GRE: Total verbal/math score of 1000 (prior to 8/1/11) or 297 (on/after 8/1/11)
- ACT: Verbal score of 20 and math score of 17 (prior to 10/89); Verbal score of 22 and math score of 19 (on/after 10/89)
A prerequisite for acceptance into a teacher training program is passing scores on the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators. Students will take tests in reading, writing, and mathematics. In Connecticut, each teacher training program is able to set their own passing score requirements.
Step 2: Take Certification Tests
After completing a teacher training program, candidates will need to pass a comprehensive special education Praxis test (Grades K-12).The Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications requires candidates to receive a passing score of 158.
The second test for certification is the Pearson Foundations of Reading, which mandates a passing score of 240.
All teaching candidates, including special education teachers, will need to submit their fingerprints to the state of Connecticut and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a criminal record check.
Step 3: Obtain Teaching Credentials
The final step in becoming a special education teacher is obtaining teaching credentials. The first credential level is the initial educator certificate, which lasts for three years. Candidates will need to submit a processing fee of $50, along with two documents: official college transcripts and the ED125 Statement of Preparing Higher Education Institution. Connecticut requires that the ED125 statement contain an official seal and signature.
The next level of certification is the provisional educator certificate. This certificate lasts for eight years and requires that candidates meet one of two conditions to qualify for it:
- 10 months of teaching experience under the initial teaching certificate
- 30 months of teaching experience within 10 years in a public school outside of Connecticut
The last certification level is the professional educator certificate. Candidates are required to complete additional special education training and a minimum of 30 months of teaching experience for the provisional certificate.
Certification Resources for Connecticut Special Education Teachers
Certification candidates can use these study aids to get ready for the Praxis examinations: