Special Education Certification in Louisiana

Jul 30, 2018

Some students have to overcome mental and physical disabilities to develop academically and need specially trained teachers to help them do this. To become a special education teacher in Louisiana, candidates must complete the required education, training and testing to qualify for licensure.

Students with physical and mental disabilities need guidance from specially trained educators to be able to develop in an academic environment. Such teachers are trained in the most effective strategies for getting the best out of learners with special needs and are known as special education teachers. In Louisiana, prospective special education teachers must undertake a sequence of education and testing steps in order to qualify for licensure.

Louisiana Special Education Teaching Certification Requirements

Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Louisiana (2017)* $49,970 (Elementary), $49,900 (Middle), $50,770 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Special Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators; General Education and/or Special Education Praxis Licensure Area tests

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Special education teacher candidates in Louisiana are required to complete a teacher preparation program. Traditional preparation programs take the form of a four-year bachelor's degree program which consists of general and professional education courses, such as pedagogical knowledge, and special education courses. Such programs will also include 180 hours of field experience and student teaching alongside either an internship or residency in a local school. The special education courses typically include classes on subjects such as assessment and evaluation of students with disabilities and managing behavior.

Teachers who already have a Louisiana teacher certificate can add special education in one of a number of concentration areas and grade level(s). In this instance they should enroll in a certificate only add-on special education endorsement program, which may only require as little as 18 semester hours of special education coursework.

Step 2: Pass All Required Testing

Special education teacher candidates must pass certain tests to earn licensure. Firstly, candidates should take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests which assess candidates on basic teaching skills. Candidates must pass these tests to gain entry to an approved teacher preparation program. There are three ETS administered tests which are follows:

  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading (code: 5712, pass score - 156)
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing (code: 5722, pass score - 162)
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics (code: 5732, pass score - 150)

The Louisiana Department of Education will also accept an ACT composite score of 22 or an SAT verbal/critical reading and math score of 1030 in lieu of the Praxis Core tests.

Once the basic skills tests have been passed, candidates must then pass the ETS administered Praxis II licensure area tests which are relevant to the grade level and/or special education specialization they aspire to teach. The options are as follows:

  • Special Education: Early Interventionist (Birth-5 years)
    • Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood (code: 5691, pass score - 159)
    • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood (code: 5621, pass score - 157)
    • Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (code: 5001)
      • Reading and Language Arts Subtest (code: 5002, pass score - 157)
      • Mathematics Subtest (code: 5003, pass score - 157)
      • Social Studies Subtest (code: 5004, pass score - 155)
      • Science Subtest (code: 5005, pass score - 159)
  • Special Education: Hearing Impaired K-12
    • Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications (code: 5354, pass score - 145)
    • Special Education: Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students (code: 5272, pass score - 160)
    • Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (code: 5001 - as described above)
  • General Education Grades 1-5, 4-8 or 6-12 or Special Education Mild/Moderate Grades 1-5, 4-8 or 6-12
    • Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications (code: 5543, pass score - 153)
    • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6 (code: 5622) or Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 5-9 (code: 5623) or Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12 (code: 5624)
    • Core-subject-specific test relevant to the content the candidate wishes to teach (e.g., Elementary Education: Content Knowledge (code: 5018), Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (code: 5001 - as described above) or core-subject-specific exams for middle or secondary grades)
  • Special Education: Significant Disabilities 1-12
    • Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe to Profound Applications (code: 5545, pass score - 153)
    • Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (code: 5001 - as described above)
  • Special Education: Visual Impairments/Blind K-12
    • Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications (code: 5354, pass score - 145)
    • Special Education: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments (code: 5282, pass score - 163)
    • Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (code: 5001 - as described above)

Step 3: Apply for Initial Louisiana Teacher Certificate with Special Education Endorsement

After completing their bachelor's degree, teacher preparation program and the appropriate testing, candidates are ready to apply for their initial teacher certificate. Applications should be submitted online by creating an account with the Louisiana Department of Education's Teach Louisiana website.

When an application is successful, candidates will be awarded a Practitioner License (PL1) which is valid for one year and may be renewed annually for up to three years.

Louisiana Special Education Teacher Certification Resources

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