Louisiana Special Education
The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE)’s Louisiana Believes website and Teach Louisiana website are the go-to sources for up-to-date information regarding state education policy. This organization’s Students with Disabilities webpage provides information and resources pertaining to special education in Louisiana. According to Education Week, the U.S. Department of Education rated the delivery of special education services in Louisiana as “Needs Assistance.” The Institute of Education Sciences reports that state provides 11.9 percent of its student population with Individualized Education Programs, which is below the national average of 13 percent. Louisiana employs approximately 5,640 special education teachers at a total of 1,678 public schools and 77 charter schools that are organized into 69 districts. Louisiana also has 414 private schools.
Types of Licenses
- The three-year Level 1 Professional Certificate is for new teachers who have graduated from a traditional or alternative teacher preparation program and passed necessary tests.
- The five-year Level 2 Professional Certificate is for teachers who have taught for three years in their area of certification and met professional development requirements during that time.
- The five-year Level 3 Professional Certificate is for holders of Level 1 or Level 2 Professional Certificates who teach for five years in their area of certification and complete a master’s degree program.
Alternative, emergency and temporary licenses include the Extended Endorsement License for educators working outside their specialization; the Temporary Authority to Teach for holders of a bachelor’s degree in an area outside of education; the Out of Field Authorization to Teach for certified teachers working in classrooms while seeking an endorsement in an area such as special education; and the Temporary Employment Permit for candidates who have met all new teacher guidelines except passing the required tests.
Teacher Certification Programs in Louisiana
Earn your teaching credential in New Orleans, one of the most colorful cities in the nation, and you also have the opportunity to teach in some of the state’s highest-need schools. The Department of Special Education at the University of New Orleans offers a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in special education. Professionals with general education degrees can become certified to teach special education through these programs or pursue professional development options. Louisiana’s diverse bayou region is the backdrop of Southeastern Louisiana University. Its Department of Teaching & Learning offers an undergraduate degree in special education (mild/moderate disabilities) as well as a master’s degree in special education with several areas of specialization.
For profiles of all the schools in Louisiana that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
Several alternate paths to teaching in Louisiana public school classrooms are available to aspiring special educators:
- Take an accelerated course of study while teaching full time in the Practitioner Teacher Program.
- Participate in the Master’s Degree Program to earn a graduate degree and a teaching certificate while teaching in Louisiana classrooms.
- Teach while working toward certification without a master’s degree in the Certification-Only Program.
- Focused on urban districts in and around New Orleans, the teach NOLA Teaching Fellows program provides intensive training for individuals new to the field of education who want to make a difference in high-need areas.
Special Education Jobs in Louisiana
Teach Louisiana’s “Special Education: From Pre-Service to National Board Certification” e-booklet summarizes how to obtain continuing education credit that applies toward advanced certification, while the LDOE’s COMPASS webpage features links to the state’s professional development requirements and offerings. The Department of Teaching & Learning at Southeastern Louisiana University offers coursework for educators seeking professional development credits in addition to its degree and certification programs. Click on the Professional Development Opportunities link in the right margin to open a file of current offerings. United Teachers of New Orleans leads weekend professional development sessions on research-based teaching strategies for general and special education classrooms.
Louisiana Professional Groups for Special Educators
- The Louisiana Association of Educators, Louisiana Federation of Teachers and United Teachers of New Orleans focus on advocacy for public school teachers and other school employees.
- The LDOE’s Special Education Advisory Panel consists of appointed stakeholders in Louisiana’s special education system. The organization meets to interpret educational policies concerning students with special needs.
Louisiana Special Education Blogs And Facebook Pages
- Advocacy Center On Facebook: This Facebook page for the Advocacy Center discusses parenting, education and daily life challenges and triumphs for families impacted by disabilities. See the Advocacy Center’s newsroom for updates concerning the center and disability services in the state.
- Louisiana Educator: Politics and policy are the foci of this Louisiana-based blog.