Teaching of the Gifted and Talented

Read about the educational and licensing requirements for gifted and talented teachers. Find information about career options and potential employers, as well as useful course topics here.

Is Teaching of the Gifted and Talented for Me?

Career Overview

Teaching of the gifted and talented involves instructing students who have above-average performance or intelligence for their age. It's typically done through special supplementary programs for advanced students. As a teacher of the gifted and talented, you'll not only provide instruction, but also help identify gifted students and create special education plans to meet their needs. This career can be challenging at times, but it also has the potential to be personally rewarding and even inspiring.

Career Options

You could work with children, adolescents or adults at a public or private school, early childcare center or community college. You might specialize in a particular subject, such as teaching math, social studies or language arts, but you could also provide more general instruction. With experience and training in gifted and talented education, you could also become an educational director or curriculum specialist.

How Can I Become a Teacher of the Gifted and Talented?

Educational Requirements

In most cases, you need a master's degree to become a teacher of the gifted and talented. About 30 schools offer programs in gifted education, including master's degree programs in gifted and talented education. Such programs typically lead to either a Master of Education (M.Ed.) or a Master of Arts (M.A.). Additionally, some graduate programs in special education offer tracks in gifted education. Doctoral programs are also available in this field, which can prepare you for positions in research or academia.

Course Topics

A master's degree program may include coursework in educational psychology, curriculum and instruction and the use of assessments. Instructional technology, educational philosophy and the legal issues associated with gifted education might also be covered. You'll also learn about the academic and unique emotional, social and cultural needs of gifted and talented students. A supervised practicum or internship is also a common requirement.

Length of Study

Many master's programs are flexible and allow you to take courses during the evening, weekends, the summer or even online. Typically, you can earn a master's degree in 2-3 years of full-time study.

Admission Requirements

Graduate admission requirements typically include a bachelor's degree in teaching or your specialized subject area, as well as a current teaching license. However, some schools accept unlicensed applicants who did not major in education.

Certification and Licensing Requirements

Beyond a master's degree and a basic teaching license, you may need a special endorsement or license to teach gifted and talented students. Although undergraduate specializations in gifted and talented education are available, completion of a graduate certificate program in gifted education, designed especially for licensed teachers, may help you meet your state's endorsement and licensing requirements.

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