Special Education

Children with disabilities in the United States are entitled to a free and public education in the regular classroom.

This right is guaranteed under what is known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. A federal law enacted by Congress in 1975, IDEA guarantees that children with disabilities will receive the same educational opportunities afforded to their peers and will be included in the regular classroom when possible.

Students with disabilities who cannot be integrated into the regular education classroom will be placed in a special education program. The staff members who operate these programs and administer an appropriate education to disabled students are trained in the field of special education.

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in special education, as well as teaching certification, is required to work in the field. Candidates who wish to work as directors of special education or in other administrative positions within special education will require a master’s degree.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the need for special education teachers and administrators will increase by 17 percent between now and 2020. The higher-than-average demand is being attributed to the increased number of children being diagnosed with special needs who require additional support and services.

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