Life Skills Instructor: Career and Salary Facts

Life skills instructors use their knowledge of psychology and their problem-solving skills to help people with disabilities learn how to manage ordinary daily tasks. To learn more about job responsibilities, training programs and possible earnings in this profession, keep reading. Schools offering Special Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What's a Life Skills Instructor?

A life skills instructor is a professional who helps students with learning or physical disabilities develop skills needed to perform basic daily tasks. For this reason, many life skills instructors are special education instructors.

Typical job responsibilities might include managing a classroom, keeping records of attendance, communicating with school administrative staff and preparing lessons. You could meet regularly with parents to discuss their child's progress and setbacks. Additional duties could include:

  • Designing individualized learning plans (IEPs)
  • Ensuring IEPs are legally defensible
  • Collecting and interpreting data on students
  • Helping students eat and keep clean
  • Managing the physical needs of students

What Kind of Training Do I Need?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that most aspiring special education teachers need to earn a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). In a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education program, you might explore topics like IEP development, behavior management and assessing children with disabilities. Most programs require completion of a teaching internship in order to earn a bachelor's degree.

Some states expect special education teachers to hold a master's degree. A Master of Education in Special Education program might train you in areas like common learning disorders, teaching methods and behavioral analysis. Typical courses could include trends in special education, research methodologies, behavior and learning environments, statistics in special education, educational assessment and diverse learning. You can usually earn a master's degree in 2-3 years.

Is Licensure Required?

You need a license to teach special education in all 50 states. The BLS reports that most states require completion of at least a bachelor's program in special education as well as a student teaching experience in order to obtain licensure. Alternative licensing routes may be available as well. These programs are often designed to attract bachelor's degree-holders who have no prior experience in education.

What's the Job Outlook?

According to the BLS, the number of employed special education teachers was expected to increase by 17% between 2008 and 2018. In 2011, Salary.com reported that special education teachers earned a median annual salary of $47,519.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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