Special needs teacher

What they do

Special needs teachers educate primary and secondary school students who have special learning needs such as learning difficulties, an impairment in their intellectual abilities, or students who need extra support to reach their full potential.

Special needs teachers assess students' abilities and limitations and aid students in the development of their literacy, numeracy and other academic skills, as well as fostering independence and life skills. They may also meet with parents and other teachers to discuss a student's progress.

Working conditions

Special needs teachers mainly work in the education sector, in special education units teaching individuals or groups with special needs. They create educational plans for each student to address individual needs and enhance learning. They may also help integrate students into regular classrooms.

Special needs teachers usually work regular school hours, but may be required to work additional hours to prepare for classes and to attend staff meetings.

Tools and technologies

Special needs teachers may use a variety of assistive technology to educate students with special needs. They may use communication boards, computers with text-to-speech or voice operated software, talking calculators or tablet computers. They may also use standard teaching materials, such as whiteboards, textbooks and workbooks.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a special needs teacher, you usually need to study a degree in primary or secondary education, specialising in special needs teaching.

Alternatively, you can complete a degree in a relevant study area, followed by a postgraduate qualification in education. You may also need to undertake further postgraduate study in special needs education to specialise in teaching special needs students.

All universities in Western Australia offer relevant teaching courses. Some universities in Western Australia offer postgraduate courses in teaching special needs. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a special needs teacher in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration with the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia (TRBWA). You will need to obtain a Working with Children Check from the Department of Communities and undergo a National Police History Check (NPHC) conducted by the Department of Education Screening Unit.