Area school districts, along with New York State United Teachers Union, are reporting shortages of certified special education teachers for the upcoming school year and beyond. To answer this need, Utica College is guiding interested individuals who wish to go into special education teacher certification programs.
There will be an open house 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Cynkus Family Welcome Center at the college.
“Since late August, both the education department and graduate admissions have been getting calls and emails from school districts looking for special education teachers,” said John Rowe, executive director of graduate admissions at Utica College.
“In addition, we have received many inquiries from career changers wanting to become certified teachers,” Rowe said. “As a result, we’re having an open house dedicated to helping individuals understand the process of becoming a certified special education teacher in New York.”
The open house is free and open to the public. Education faculty members will discuss certification options as well as describing the typical duties of special education teachers.
Rowe said the shortage of special education teachers is particularly true in middle school and high school. Utica College has a specific master’s certification program for grades 7 through 12 called Students With Disabilities Grades 7 through 12 Generalist.
“Many people looking to change careers and enter the education field most likely have the majority of coursework they need to enter our master’s program,” Rowe said. “My office will be happy to do transcript evaluations at the open house and advise.”
In addition to interested individuals holding bachelor’s degrees, transfer students are welcome to attend. “Students holding associate degrees have a good start on the prerequisites needed to go into a special education completion program at the bachelor’s level at UC,” he said.
Childhood special education is different, Rowe explained. “For someone wanting certification to teach special education for grades 1 through 6, they must first have state certification in regular childhood education for grades 1 through 6,” Rowe said. “Utica College has a dual certification program for them.”
Offered in the evenings, Utica College’s graduate education programs are tailored to working individuals looking to enter the education field.
For more information about the open house or teacher preparation programs, contact Graduate Admissions at 315-792-3010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.