Careers in Deaf Education: Job Options and Education Requirements
Research deaf education career information. Learn about the career options, education requirements and licensing information to make an informed decision about starting a career educating deaf students.
Deaf Education Job Options
Teachers who work with deaf students create specialized lesson plans that accommodate the needs of each student. Some teachers work at institutes that train the deaf to adapt to hearing loss, by teaching students sign language, lip reading or how to use adaptive technology. Other teachers may work as special education teachers at traditional schools where they provide deaf students with additional academic support.
School counselors with training in deaf education may help deaf students organize their school and social schedules. Counselors can also act as intermediaries between deaf students and teachers, or between students and parents. Some counselors may also give presentations that focus on school and life skills, including developing better study habits or handling bullies.
Whether working independently or at a licensed organization, childcare providers watch over children when parents or guardians are away. Those who specialize in working with deaf children often possess additional training to address each child's needs. For pre-kindergarten deaf children, childcare providers may teach them basic sign language. They may also implement daily schedules to prepare children for school settings.
Deaf Education Career Requirements
Reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that special education teachers are usually required to have earned a bachelor's degree related to special education studies (www.bls.gov). School counselors generally need master's degrees related to counseling, according to the BLS, but workers may need to have taken additional courses to specialize in counseling deaf students. Education requirements for childcare providers vary considerably by state. Some states only require childcare providers to possess the equivalent of a high school diploma, whereas other states require workers to possess an undergraduate degree related to child development.
There are many master's degree programs dedicated to deaf education, but there are not as many undergraduate degree programs in this field. Undergraduate special education programs may cover some information about working with the deaf or hard of hearing. Undergraduate and graduate courses in deaf education may include speech and hearing science, strategies for teaching deaf learners, phonetics, sign language, speech disorders, parent counseling and language development. Both undergraduate and graduate programs often require students to complete practicums or internships working with deaf children or adults.
Certification and Licensure
Educators, school counselors and childcare providers all require licenses and/or certifications in accordance with state laws, per the BLS. Special education teachers have to meet licensing eligibility requirements, which in most states include bachelor's degrees and completion of training programs for teachers. Upon meeting requirements, special education teachers may have to obtain more than one license. Some states require that educators possess licenses to teach certain age groups and separate licenses for each special education area, such as deaf education. Other states may offer one, all-encompassing, teacher licensing program.
In most states, the licensing process for school counselors often includes background verification checks. The BLS points out that some states refer to school counselor licenses by different names, such as endorsements, credentials or certifications. Upon passing background checks and meeting academic eligibility requirements, applicants must pass the required exams to become licensed. School counselors who specialize in areas such as deaf education may require additional licensing or certification, but this varies by state.
Childcare providers may be required to have both certification and licensure, according to the BLS. Several states require professionals to earn the child development associate (CDA) certification.
Some states require individuals to be licensed, whereas other states require childcare facilities to maintain licensing. However, facilities can only maintain licensing if all staff members meet licensing criteria. Most states generally require childcare staff members to show proof of sufficient training, be up-to-date with immunizations and possess no criminal record.
To maintain licensing or certification, most professionals in these fields have to attend continuing education programs. These programs can focus directly on trends in deaf education. Professionals can also choose continuing education courses related to their career field in general.
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