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How Do You Become an Autism Support Teacher?

A person interested in teaching and helping youngsters with special needs may wonder, “How do you become an autism support teacher?” This type of teacher falls under special education teaching, although support staff positions may also be available for teacher’s aides who do not have a teaching license. Knowing what it takes in order to become an autism support teacher could help a person plan their educational path and gain the correct certifications.

Related resource: Top 25 Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Online

Educational Requirements

All states require a person to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in education in order to become an autism support teacher. In some states, a master’s degree is required. Those states may offer a period of time from earning a teaching license in order to complete the master’s degree. Some states specifically require a degree in special education in order to be an autism support teacher. The master’s degree requirement may involve a program that is specific to special education.

Student Teaching Experience

All states require prospective teachers to complete a student teaching experience under the mentoring of a licensed teacher. Although the length of the mentoring program varies by state, most of them require a three to 12-month student teaching experience and a positive evaluation or recommendation letter from the teacher and administrative professionals at the school. This mentoring program is typically through a public school system that partners with the college or university for student teaching purposes.

Certification and Licensure

All states have a way for a person with a bachelor’s degree in some other area of expertise to gain certification and licensure as a special education teacher without having to complete another degree. Most of those programs do require additional classes and a student teaching experience. Completing one of these programs may earn the candidate a master’s degree, explains the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Once the degree and student teaching requirements are completed, the prospective teacher must take a licensing examination and pass a background check. The certification for special education is an exam that focuses on aspects of teaching students with special needs. A person who wants to become an autism support teacher in a private school may not have to go through the certification and licensure processes.

Development of Critical Job Skills

In addition to completing the educational and training requirements to become an autism support teacher, it is also important for the candidate to have certain skills or characteristics. One such characteristic is resourcefulness. Children with autism may not learn in the same ways as their typically-developing peers. The teacher might need to develop customized learning tools and aids. Another essential characteristic is patience. Students with autism may have behavioral problems or lack basic skills, resulting in the teacher needing more time to teach material.

Becoming an autism support teacher allows a person to help children learn, grow and thrive. People who want to become one of these teachers should also have certain skills, such as a passion for helping others, patience, a commitment to continuing education for themselves and an ability to communicate well with people with autism, their parents and other educational professionals. Understanding the answer to “How do you become an autism support teacher?” could help a person decide if this is the right career for them.