North Carolina Special Education Teacher Certification

Teaching exceptional and special needs students in North Carolina has many requirements. Find out what you need to study before you can obtain a North Carolina special education teaching license, and what exams you need to take before applying for your credentials. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information for North Carolina Special Education Teachers

Working with exceptional students in North Carolina requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree. You may be able to choose a concentration related to the curriculum you will teach, and you will have to pass a number of tests before you can begin your teaching job.

Education/Experience RequiredBachelor's degree
Teacher education program
Exams RequiredBasic skills assessment;
Praxis Content Exams;
Pearson Foundations of Reading for elementary students
License ValidityThree years for Professional Educator's Initial License
License ExtensionNo renewals for initial license; must be upgraded to Professional Educator Continuing License
Average North Carolina Salary (2018)$48,820 for high school,
$49,180 for middle school, and
$47,760 for kindergarten and elementary school teachers*
National Job Growth (2016-2026)7% for kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school teachers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

When you become a special education teacher, you will work with modified lesson plans and, in some cases, adapted curricula to accommodate students with special needs. Your students may have emotional, physical, and/or mental disabilities that require you to pay closer attention to their methods of learning than traditional classrooms. Regular conferences with your students' parents can be expected, and you can give them regular updates on student progress as they move through the education system and prepare for a life outside of school. You may have a separate classroom away from general students to make your students feel more included and in a safer environment.

Education and Training Requirements

As an aspiring special education teachers in North Carolina, you need to earn at least a bachelor's degree. While the state of North Carolina doesn't specify a particular bachelor's degree, a degree in education, or, more specifically, a Bachelor of Science in Special Education, is a smart route to prepare yourself for this career. In some cases, you may be able to select from different concentrations related to general or adapted curriculum, which can prepare you for difference licenses when you are ready to apply for your credentials. Although you might be able to take some of your classes online, the mandatory student teaching experience must take place inside a physical classroom. Some of the courses you take could include topics like inclusion, positive behavior support, and assistive technology.

Exam Requirements

Depending on your license area, you may have quite a few tests to take before you gain permission to teach on your own. The first test you need to pass is a basic skills assessment; this takes place before your admission into a teacher education program. This comes in the form of the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, with three separate subtests in writing, math, and reading. There are many different licenses for special education teachers in North Carolina, such as Learning Disabled, Cross Categorical, Visually Impaired, and Severely Profoundly Mentally Disabled. Some of the Praxis exams you might need could include Content Knowledge exams in Teaching Students with Intellectual Disabilities, Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities, or Core Knowledge and Severe to Profound Applications. If you become a special education elementary school teacher, you will also need the Pearson Foundations of Reading exam.

License Requirements

After passing all of your necessary exams and completing your degree program, you can send in your application for a North Carolina Professional Educator's Initial License. After three years, this credential will no longer be valid, and you will need to upgrade it to a Professional Educator's Continuing License. By this time, you should be certified through either the National Board or an approved series of exams through the state. A Continuing License is valid for five years and can be renewed throughout your teaching career as long as you keep up with the continuing education credit requirement.

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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