Special Education in Utah
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 12 percent of Utah’s students are identified as having disabilities, just one percent lower than the national average. The state employs about 2,275 special education teachers, according to Concordia University. Education Week reports that Utah is one of eight states to receive a rating of “Needs Intervention” from the U.S. Department of Education for its special education services as of the 2010/2011 school year.
Types of Licenses
Special Education Degrees in Utah
The Utah SPED Programs website allows potential students of special education to explore their options and select the Utah school and degree program that suits their needs. This site also provides information about special education careers. Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in any area who are seeking an accelerated process for entering a special education classroom can consider Utah’s Alternative Teacher Preparation (ATP) programs. Utah State’s ATP program allows students to choose from three areas of focus: Mild/Moderate, Severe and Early Childhood Special Education. These programs provides the courses required for licensure to work with school-age students with special needs in the Salt Lake City area or with preschool students with disabilities throughout Utah. Paraprofessionals in Utah schools or individuals holding emergency authorization to work in a Utah school district can participate in Weber State University’s PRIME program, also known as Preparing Research-based Inclusive Multidisciplinary Educators. Be sure to consult Weber State about the current status of this program if you are interested as budget issues sometimes limit its availability. Situated in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah offers urban amenities set amid green spaces, bike trails and mountains. The Department of Special Education offers a bachelor’s degree program that results in a recommendation for licensure, graduate programs in special education with or without licensure and a doctorate in special education.
For profiles of all the schools in Utah that offer master’s in special education programs, click here.
Alternatives to Certification
The USOE’s Special Education Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL) program is designed for individuals who already hold a teaching position in the state. Teachers must demonstrate competency in working in a special education environment, either through coursework and Praxis testing or through professional experience.
Teaching Special Education in Utah
The USOE provides a Frequently Asked Questions page that summarizes the requirements and procedures for obtaining professional development credits in Utah. Information about workshops and classes for teachers can be found on professional development pages for individual areas, such as health and physical education, mathematics, and social studies. Further continuing education resources can be found in the Utah Education Network website’s professional development section.
Utah Professional Groups for Special Education Teachers
- The Utah Education Association (UEA), a statewide teacher’s union,is open to public school educators, retired educators and students in Utah teacher preparation programs.The UEA promotes public education and serves its members through activities ranging from workshops to advocacy.
- The Utah Consortium for Special Education (CSPD) provides an online forum for the planning and implementation of personnel development in the state’s special education services.
- Though the Utah Parent Center is directed toward families of children with special needs, it offers many trainings, workshops and other events relevant to special educators.
Utah Special Education Bloggers
- Play Ground: The blog of Primary Children’s Medical Center School addresses issues regarding children’s health and development. Posts also provide creative, thoughtful tips for behavior management, positive reinforcement and developmentally-appropriate activities.