Are you a new special education teacher just starting out in this wonderful field? Are you wondering how on earth to look for a job in special education and how to prepare? I am here to help you!
Looking for a job in special education can be easy for some and tricky for others, depending on your area. Typically, jobs in special education are posted more than jobs in general education. It does depend what type of position you are looking for, how big or small the city is that you are looking in and knowing where to look. Here are the best places to look for a job in special education:
School District Websites
This is where I would definitely start your job hunt if you are looking to work as a special education teacher at a school. Search the surrounding school districts in your area (think about how far you are willing for your commute to be!). When you go to the district website, they will generally have a “careers” tab to click on. Then you will fill out the longest application of your life! (no, seriously!). Make sure you are prepared to complete each application with the materials below. Also make sure that you have about 45 minutes to one hour of your time to give undivided attention to the job application.
What to have ready for special education teaching applications:
- Student teaching experience
- Name of mentor and phone number or email for them
- Previous Schools worked at
If you have taught before, you will need to know the name, address, phone, number, email and principal’s name
- 3 references
Always make sure you reach out to your references and ask them if it’s okay to put them as a reference, don’t assume! That way, if they get a call in regards to you, they can be prepared. When you are just starting out as a first year teacher, great references can be the teachers that you student-taught with or did observation hours under, as well as your mentor of your student teaching experience.
- Name of College & Degree Earned
- College Transcripts
You can usually call and get this document scanned to you as a PDF. Save it in a safe place on your computer because you will generally need to upload it for all future teaching applications!
- Copy of your Teaching Certificate
Once you pass your certificate test and get mailed or emailed a copy. Make sure you have a picture or scanned copy of it to prove that you are now a certified teacher for the state you are applying to jobs in.
Besides looking directly on school district websites for jobs in special education, check out job boards as well. Sometimes schools post to more than one place or you could find a job at a center, rehabilitation facility, hospital or different atmosphere than a school.
Here are a few job boards that I would start with:
- Linked In
- Career Builder
- Facebook Job Search (You would need to be logged into your facebook and you can set the filters for what you are looking for in your area)
Social media is HUGE these days for networking! There are a couple of ways to use social media to look for jobs in special education. You can simply post on your facebook status to your friends and family. Let them know you are looking for a job in special education and if they know of anything, you would be forever grateful if they gave you a heads up. When you have hundreds or thousands of “facebook friends,” you would be surprised by how many people will see that post and will know of something to help you. You may have an old friend from high school that works in a nearby district and knows of a job opening becoming available! And let me tell you something- when you KNOW somebody that works at the place you are applying to, that is definitely in your favor!
In addition to posting, you can simply follow different job board groups in facebook or search for hashtags on instagram to help you in your job search. All the companies and schools are on social media these days. This is the best marketing tool that they have!
Once you have an interview scheduled for a job, I encourage you to check out this blog post about interview prep questions for special education teachers. I listed 100 possible interview questions that you could be asked! Your first interview always feels like practice but just remember to be confident in your abilities and really sell yourself! If you believe in yourself, chances are so will they! This is the one time in life it is OKAY to brag and boast on yourself, so do it! (more interview tips here)
Once you have gone through the interview process, always follow up! Wait a couple of days and send a thank-you email or thank-you card in the mail, thanking them for the opportunity to talk with them and remind them how excited you would be to have the opportunity to work there.
Good luck on the search for a job in special education!
P.s. If you are a new special education teacher, I offer many tips and have a full free resource library available for email subscribers, get on my list here.