Special education teachers play a vital role in educating students with special needs. There are various areas of concentration that an aspiring special education teacher can certify in. Whether it's a certification to teach the hearing impaired or children with mild to moderate disabilities, a special education teacher must meet the standards of the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). The LDOE administers the certification process and validates that the certification candidate has met all requirements set forth in the state's administrative code. This article will review the requirements needed to become a certified special education teacher in Louisiana.
How to Become a Special Education Teacher in Louisiana
|Average Salaries for Special Education Teachers in Louisiana (2018) *||$50,300 (Kindergarten and Elementary), $50,940 (Middle School), $51,940 (High School)|
|Required Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
|Degree Field||Special Education|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (5751), Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge, Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching, Praxis Subject Area Exam that pertains to the subject area of certification|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Complete Education Requirements
The first step in getting a teaching certification to teach special education in Louisiana is to obtain the education needed to qualify. The LDOE requires that candidates seeking certification have a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a four-year accredited university. The special education degree program that the candidate chooses must include an LDOE-approved teacher preparation program to qualify for using the traditional path to certification. The special education degree will consist of courses in basic core curriculum, focused courses in special education, and classes to develop the candidate's knowledge in teaching practices.
The LDOE-approved teacher preparation program will include a residency and teaching internship to acquire teaching experience. The residency and an additional 180 hours of in-classroom teaching will help develop the candidate's pedagogy practices. The candidate will be trained with hands-on experience and evaluated to ensure that he/she is ready to teach as a certified educator. The LDOE-approved teacher preparation program must be completed with a grade point average of at least 2.5 to receive recommendation for certification.
Step 2: Complete Testing Requirements
The second requirement that must be fulfilled is to pass the exams mandated by the LDOE. The candidate is required to pass a series of exams that measure ability to teach children with special needs. The first exam that must be taken is the Praxis Core Academics Skills exam (5751) that measures the candidate's knowledge in reading, writing, and math. The second exam is the Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge exam in the area of concentration that the candidate is seeking. The third exam is the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching that evaluates the candidate's knowledge in pedagogy practices. The fourth exam is Praxis exam that pertains to the subject area that the candidate wishes to teach. For example: elementary education, mathematics, science, etc. All exams are computer-based exams and are administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Step 3: Application for Certification Requirements
The final step in obtaining a special education certification in Louisiana is to complete the application process. The application process may begin once the LDOE has received recommendation from the LDOE-approved teacher preparation program that the candidate completed and exam scores from ETS. This will allow the LDOE to verify that the requirements have been met for certification.
The candidate then needs to create a Teach Louisiana Live Account which will become the interface to process the applications and renew certification. The candidate's account will allow for application fees to be processed through this platform and provide up-to-date information on the status of certification. Once the candidate's qualifications have been verified to meet state standards, a Level 1 Teaching Certification will be issued in special education and will be valid for three years.