Resource Room Teacher: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about a career as a resource room teacher. Research the job description, education requirements, and degree options to make an informed decision about starting a career in special education.

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Job Description

Workers in this field are also known as special education teachers. Resource room teachers generally stay within a designated resource room and work with special-needs students, such as those who have learning, physical, emotional, or mental disabilities or challenges. Resource room teachers may work with students in kindergarten through grade 12, but some teachers also work with students up to age 21. Teachers assess individual students and determine which teaching strategies will work best for each student. These teaching strategy plans are commonly known as individualized education programs (IEPs).

Resource room teachers usually create lesson plans for individual special-needs students or for groups of students. Resource room teachers often collaborate with other teachers concerning each student's IEP. They may provide general classroom teachers with instruction or advice on how to alter lesson plans to meet IEP requirements. Resource room teachers also communicate with parents, counselors, and others to discuss each student's progress.

Besides academic pursuits, resource room teachers may help special-needs students develop certain life skills. For example, teachers may help older students learn how to manage a bank account. They may also help students learn to communicate better with others. Some resource room teachers also help students gain a better understanding of time management, especially with balancing daily living tasks and study schedules.

Education Requirements

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that public school employers in all states require resource room teachers to possess at least a bachelor's degree, and private school employers' requirements can vary (www.bls.gov). Not all employers or states require that resource room teachers hold bachelor's degrees in special education, provided that they hold degrees in other teaching-related fields, such as education, or specific subjects, like math or English. Requirements for certification and licensing typically vary by state; certified or licensed teachers in some states must also earn a master's degree in special education, according to the BLS.

Bachelor's degree programs in special education cover topics such as legal concerns, adaptive technology, teaching strategies, curriculum design, student assessment, and consultation techniques. Special education courses in master's degree programs may include classroom management, collaboration techniques, learning disabilities, behavior analysis, and life transitions. Master's degree students can earn special endorsements to accompany their special education degrees, such as an emotional impairments endorsement or resource room teacher endorsement. Both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in special education require students to participate in student teaching projects and practicums.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of special education teachers is expected to grow by 17% between 2010 and 2020. Salaries earned by such teachers vary depending on the grade level of their students. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by special education teachers at the following levels in May 2012: kindergarten and elementary schools, $53,820; secondary schools, $56,830; and all other special education teachers, $51,980.

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