6 States in Desperate Need of Special Ed Teachers


By Amy J. Silver

Special education teachers are a different breed.

They aren’t quite the same as other teachers, and they often have to deal with much more in their classrooms from a behavioral standpoint. The students they teach cannot always control themselves, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for their teachers. One thing about special education teachers is that they are almost always in demand.

Standard or general education teachers are needed, too, but it’s more difficult to recruit good special education teachers who will stay in the job for the long term. Some states need them more than others including six which are in desperate need of special education teachers.

  1. Alaska. Because it’s very isolated and most of the state is rural, with harsh living conditions and an unforgiving climate, it makes sense that Alaska would be hurting for special education teachers. It takes the right kind of person to make that state home, and a specific kind of person to be interested in special education work. Great special education teachers need both traits: not an easy find.
  2. South Carolina. Like much of the south, South Carolina has a shortage of teachers that handle special education. That’s especially true in the more rural parts of the state, because people often prefer to live in larger, more metropolitan areas. When they’re younger they want a lot of things to do, and rural living in the south doesn’t really provide a variety of cultural opportunities.
  3. Georgia. Georgia has a similar problem to South Carolina, as there are rural areas where it’s difficult to recruit teachers of any type, let alone those willing to work with students that have special needs.
  4. Arizona. Because of the immigration problems and the extreme, barren conditions in much of the state, special education teachers aren’t flocking to live in the Grand Canyon State.
  5. Utah. Like Arizona, Utah has some extreme climate issues that have to be understood and anticipated. If you aren’t prepared for the hot summers and snowy winters, it can be a challenge – and it’s not one that everyone wants to face.
  6. Tennessee. While not everyone thinks of Tennessee as part of the South, it is. Tennessee suffers a similar fate to other southern states, such as South Carolina and Georgia, that have difficultly getting special education teachers to live in areas where there aren’t as many amenities.

Some states need educators throughout the state, while  others need them only in a specific counties or districts. If you want a job in special education, you’ll most likely find that each one of the 50 states needs special education teachers to some degree. A few states just need them more than others, and they are working hard to actively recruit them so that the children who need them can get the help and educations that they deserve.

How important do you think special education is? In what ways can we encourage teachers to explore opportunities in under served area of the country?


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Categories: Academics