Becoming a Special Education Teacher in Georgia

Special education teachers in the state of Georgia must complete education certification requirements to become licensed to teach students with exceptional education challenges. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Requirements for Georgia Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers in Georgia work with students of all ages who have educational challenges. Read on to learn about the educational requirements and the pathways to initial certification for aspiring special education teachers.

Education Required Bachelor's degree;
Teacher preparation program approved by Georgia Board of Education
Exams Required Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) assessments;
Subject-matter and level-specific exams
License Validity Period Varies depending on pathway to licensure
Median Salary (2018)* $55,840 (preschool);
$59,390 (kindergarten and elementary school);
$60,250 (middle school);
$60,600 (high school)
Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028, nationwide)* 3%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Path to Licensure for Special Education Teachers

To become a special education teacher in Georgia, there are a few things you must have: a bachelor's degree (at minimum), proof of completion of a teacher education program approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, current certification, and a license from the Georgia Department of Education. The teacher education program has to include student teaching or an education practicum. There are multiple ways to obtain certification, depending on your experience level.

If you have a bachelor's degree and have not completed an approved teacher education program, you may want to pursue a Master of Art in Teaching, a Master of Education or a Master of Arts. There are also certification-only programs to consider if you have both the bachelor's degree and the teacher education program, but not the state certification.

Certification Pathways for Special Education Teachers

Common requirements for each of the pathways are as follows:

  • Completion of the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Program Admission Assessment;
  • A passing score on GACE content assessments for specific subject areas;
  • A passing score on edTPA;
  • A passing score on the Educator Ethics Assessment; and
  • Completion of a course in identifying and educating exceptional children.

The first path to certification is meant for those who have completed an approved bachelor's degree program and an educator prep program. The second is for those who have an out-of-state bachelor's degree but completed student teaching in Georgia. The third pathway is for those who have completed an educator prep program outside of Georgia and are professionally certified educators, but who have less than three years' experience in the five years before application. The final path to initial certification is meant for those who have not finished an educator preparation program but have a contract to teach in Georgia.

Exam Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Georgia

There are several GACE assessments that aspiring special education teachers in Georgia may have to take, depending on their certification goals.

  • Admission Assessment This assessment looks at an applicant's knowledge of reading, writing and math, and includes three exams.
  • Content Assessment There are subject-specific content assessments that some teachers have to take, depending on the content area they choose to teach in.
  • Certification Upgrade This allows educators to upgrade their certifications in multiple areas: Curriculum and Instruction or Instructional Technology.
  • Georgia Ethics The ethics assessment is a training program that features multiple modules combining testing and instruction into one package. It focuses on how aspiring teachers learn and apply the state's Code of Ethics for Educators.

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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