How Do I Become a Learning Disability Specialist?
A learning disability specialist works alongside classroom teachers in a public school, private school or other institution to assist students who have various learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder or some types of autism spectrum disorders. This person must have a large amount of knowledge about the laws and regulations, diagnoses and accommodations relating to students with disabilities. In order to become a learning disability specialist, a person should gain volunteer experience, research requirements for his or her state or country, and select an appropriate bachelor's or master's degree program. After completing the educational requirements, the prospective specialist will be ready to look for jobs in the field.
A good first step for nearly any career path is to seek volunteer or non-specialist experience in the field. Volunteering at a local school or working as a tutor for students with disabilities will not only look good on your resume, but it will also help you decide if you really do want to become a learning disability specialist. Working with students who have disabilities requires patience, dedication, and most of all, a passion for helping people. Volunteer work will help you determine if you possess these qualities before you invest more time and money in the process.
If you decide that you want to pursue becoming a disability specialist, you should begin by researching the requirements and job opportunities in this field. Some states or countries may have particular requirements for certified specialists, such as obtaining particular degrees or passing certification tests. If you know you want to work in a specific region or within a particular school system, you should determine the requirements you will need to do so.
Obtaining a bachelor's degree, if you do not already have one, is the first major educational hurdle you need to clear. Suggested undergraduate degrees for someone wanting to become a learning disability specialist include psychology or education, although if you already have a bachelor's in another field of study, a second degree at that level is not required in order to obtain a master's. Most learning disability specialist jobs require a master's degree in an area like special education, psychology or educational psychology. Many will only allow a bachelor's degree if you have extensive experience working with children with disabilities and enough knowledge regarding regulations and diagnostics.
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