Ohio Special Education
Like its neighbors to the south and east, Ohio earned the highest rating from the U.S. Department of Education for its special education services: “Meets Requirements.” This rating is impressive considering the state’s several densely-populated urban areas, notably Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Dayton, which result in the state employing over 18,600 special education teachers to serve its 615 school districts. The state operates 3,895 public and 340 charter schools; there are also 1,047 private schools in Ohio. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 14.8 percent of Ohio’s students have Individualized Education Programs, notably higher than the national average of 13 percent. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) oversees the public education system in the state; the special education section of its website provides information and resources relevant to teachers who work with students with special needs.
Types of Licenses
Special Education Teaching Programs in Ohio
Approximately 40 schools in Ohio offer special education programs, with most concentrated in the cities of Cincinnati and Columbus. One of the larger institutions is in Columbus, The Ohio State University. Through its College of Education and Human Ecology’s Special Education program, students can pursue undergraduate programs that result in an Intervention Specialist License focusing on mild to moderate disabilities, moderate to intensive disabilities or early childhood special education. Graduate students can earn a Master of Arts in special education with an emphasis in mild to moderate disabilities, moderate to intensive disabilities, early childhood special education or applied behavior analysis. Students who already have a general education license can opt to add an additional license through this program. The Ohio State University also offers a doctorate degree with a focus in special education and applied behavior analysis.
For profiles of all the schools in Ohio that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
The accelerated Alternative Resident Educator License for designated subject grades 4-12 requires a bachelor’s degree in a core subject area. Candidates must undergo training at a state-approved Intensive Pedagogical Training Institute or complete six semester hours of professional education coursework as stipulated by the ODE. Individuals wishing to specialize in an area of special education should consider the similarly-designed Alternative Resident Educator License – Intervention Specialist alternative pathway. This route to licensure requires having a bachelor’s degree and pursuing the coursework and exams necessary to specialize in Mild/Moderate K-12, Moderate/Intensive K-12, Hearing Impaired K-12 or Visually Impaired K-12.
Special Education Jobs in Ohio
- Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) supports educators working with students with autism spectrum disorders or who have learning disabilities with training and professional development opportunities.
- In-services, credit courses and webinars in research-based best practices are among the offerings of the Educational Service Center of Lorain County/Region 2 SST.
- The ODE sponsors Ohio’s Annual Special Education Leadership Conference, a statewide gathering of educators and national experts in the field of special education.
Professional Groups for Ohio Special Educators
- The Ohio Education Association (affiliated with the National Educational Association) and the Ohio Federation of Teachers advocate on behalf of public school employees.
- Community stakeholders, parents of children with special needs and individuals with disabilities comprise the State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children.
Ohio Special Education Blogs
- Teaching Special Kids: Mary Ashley teaches students with behavior disorders in a specialized facility in Ohio. She writes about resources and inspirations for special educators.
- News from Disability Rights Ohio: This monthly newsletter provides information about the activities of Disability Rights Ohio, as well as special education news.