Special Education in Nevada
The Nevada State Snapshot on the Ed.gov website (the website of the U.S. Department of Education) indicates that 11 percent of students in the state receive special education services, two percentage points lower than the national average. There are currently 2,630 special education teachers employed in the state, according to Concordia University. Employment prospects are most promising in the Clark County School district, which serves the Las Vegas public school system, one of the largest in the country.
Types of Licenses
Special Education Degrees in Nevada
Because would-be special education teachers can obtain state certification with a bachelor’s degree, there are undergraduate as well as graduate programs to prepare students to work with special needs populations. The University of Nevada at Reno’s College of Education offers an interdisciplinary major in developmental disabilities, which results in a bachelor’s degree. The Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED) administers this program, and students in it must follow a course of study that aligns with state licensure requirements. The university also offers a minor in developmental disabilities. The campus is located in Reno, a city near the California border that has ample wilderness areas. Nevada State College, located near Las Vegas in the city of Henderson, offers a bachelor’s degree program in elementary education with a concentration in special education. Situated in a forest three blocks from Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada College provides a master’s degree in special education. This program serves individuals holding a bachelor’s degree in any discipline (including education or special education), as well as licensed teachers who want to obtain a special education endorsement.
For profiles of all the schools in Nevada that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
An Alternative to Certification
If a school or district has a high-need area, the administrator can hire someone who does not have a state teaching license. They must follow Nevada’s qualification requirements. The decision to follow this route is made only by the employer, not by the Nevada Office of Teacher Licensure. The employer must document, in writing, the conditions of the contract and the requirements of the Option Program. Teachers hired through this program must complete any required coursework as stipulated by the contract, and the employer determines the length of time that teachers have to meet these requirements. After they do so, teachers must apply for official certification through the Office of Teacher Licensure.
Special Education Jobs in Nevada
- For a complete list of Nevada public school districts with hyperlinks to their websites, see the Nevada School and District information page on the NDE website. The NDE also maintains a list of links to job opportunities within each district.
- Nevada’s largest public school district, Clark County School District (CCSD), keeps its webpage updated with job opportunities as well as general recruitment information.
- The Nevada State Legislature has divided Nevada into three regions, Northeastern Nevada, Southern Nevada and Northwestern Nevada, with a Regional Professional Development Program (RPDP) to serve each one.
- The Nevada Special Education Technology Assistance Project (NSETAP) provides consultations, tech support and school site trainings. Professional development programs concern the implementation of assistive technology devices and ancillary services.
Nevada Professional Groups for Special Education Teachers
- The state teacher’s union, the Nevada State Education Association (NSEA), represents Nevada’s teachers and education support professionals.
- Nevada PEP provides support, resources, webinars and trainings for families and professionals working with people receiving special education services.
Nevada Special Education Bloggers
- About.com: Special Education: Jerry Webster maintains this high-profile site. He is a Las Vegas teacher who has worked in a middle school autism program, a residential school and a number of other special education settings.
- Desert Beacon: Nevada politics and educational policy is the focus of this blog, which also features links to many other Nevada bloggers.