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Teaching of Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Many colleges and universities offer degree programs for teachers of individuals with traumatic brain injuries through special education departments. Learn more about teaching job duties, academic requirements and employment outlook for the field.

Is Teaching People with Traumatic Brain Injuries for Me?

Career Overview

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by brain trauma, such as might result from a strong blow to the head. Traumatic brain damage can result in difficulty paying attention, solving problems or understanding words. As a special needs teacher working with individuals suffering from TBI, your job would be to provide your students with the special care and educational resources they need to adjust to life following a brain injury.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that during the 2012-2022 decade, the employment of special education teachers is expected to increase by 6% in kindergartens, preschools and elementary schools; by 5% in middle schools; and by 5% in high schools (www.bls.gov). Since approximately 1.7 million people sustain a TBI every year, there will be an ongoing need for teachers who specialize in working with students who have a TBI.

The BLS also reports that as of 2013, the median annual salary for middle school special education teachers was $56,300. High school special education teachers earned a median $56,920 during the same year, while the median salary for special education teachers working in kindergartens and elementary schools was $53,910. Some teachers are able to supplement their wages by helping out with extracurricular activities, such as school sports or teaching summer school.

How Do I Become a Teacher of Individuals with a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Education Programs

To become a special education teacher of people with TBIs, you need at least a master's degree in special education, preferably with an emphasis in TBIs. Graduate certificates are also available for TBI specialists. With this training, you could seek jobs teaching special education at an elementary, middle or high school.

Topics of Study

Your courses would address TBIs, how they affect the people who have them and methods for teaching someone with a TBI. Some courses may cover child and human development and introduce you to methods for teaching special education to elementary, middle and high school students. You'd also learn how TBIs affect brain function and the educational needs of people who are recovering from or learning to live with these injuries. Prior to graduation, you'd conduct research in special education in TBIs and complete a student teaching experience.

Required Skills

Educators who teach students with TBIs must be calm, flexible and resourceful. You'd regularly deal with the common physical and emotional demands of working with students who have behavioral, psychosocial, cognitive or physical challenges. Organizational skills, teaching strategies and the ability to motivate people are among the tools necessary for working with people with TBIs.