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How Do I Become an Assistive Technology Specialist?

By Jennifer Leigh
Updated May 17, 2024
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Become an assistive technology specialist by using your skills in computer technology and teaching. This generally requires a certain amount of education along with the desire to help others. There are jobs available as an assistive technology specialist in a variety of places, but many of them occur in the field of education. In order to become an assistive technology specialist, you must have the ability to solve problems, make decisions and think critically about the best way to do things technologically.

A high school diploma is the minimum amount of education that is necessary to become an assistive technology specialist, though many places require a college degree. Certain positions offer on-the-job training for those who have not attended college. Obtaining an undergraduate degree in a computer-related field or in education will help your chances to become an assistive technology specialist.

Experience working with computers is important in order to become an assistive technology specialist. You must be capable of fixing computer problems and teaching others about new technology. This also means that communication skills are necessary to teach others in a way that they will understand. A degree in computer science is not necessary, but a working knowledge of computer hardware and software is vital to success in being hired and then being successful at the job.

There are many places to look for a job as an assistive technology specialist, but one of the main places is within the school systems. Apply for jobs in the school systems by contacting the main office in the district and filling out an application. They will be able to tell you if there are open positions and will usually be the first people that you interview with. Other places that hire assistive technology specialists include the government, corporations and healthcare industries.

When deciding to become an assistive technology specialist, first consider if you have the ability to solve problems quickly and under pressure. In this job, you will often be called upon to deal with emergencies that people are having with technology and determine what to do about them. If you do not become stressed out under pressure, then this job will likely be a good fit for you. The ability to understand and choose new technology to be used in the organization is also important, and a task that you will be called upon to do. Continuing education in the field will help you to remain sharp and understand the latest trends.

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Discussion Comments

By Charred — On Oct 19, 2011

@David09 - I doubt that you will be on call twenty four seven. The scenario you described would typically be handled by a senior network administrator, not someone in an assistive technology specialist position from what I understand. The specialist is more of a junior role that I would expect to function five days a week, during normal business hours.

What I like about the position is that I think that it could be a springboard for more important positions. If you conduct training and also take some additional coursework in computer science, I could see how you could eventually work for a certified computer training center.

By David09 — On Oct 18, 2011

@SkyWhisperer - The article doesn’t say, but I wonder if you are potentially on call, twenty four hours a day, in this position?

I say this because you are sometimes called upon to handle emergencies from what I understand. That’s definitely a negative for me.

I can't imagine walking around with a beeper and getting paged or phoned at the middle of the night with news that a server is down or something like that. I would go to work, groggy and pushing myself on caffeine drinks, just to get through the night and put out the fire. No thanks, that’s not for me.

By SkyWhisperer — On Oct 17, 2011

@miriam98 - I don’t have teaching experience myself, but I do have technical support experience.

From reading the article, it appears that some of these assistive technology specialists work in a support capacity; they are not confined to teaching settings.

In that sense, I think I could do well. In particular, I’d love to work for the government, because I personally believe that a lot of the government computer systems are antiquated and in need of an upgrade, and I believe that I could be instrumental in making that change.

Further, I could also help government employees get up to speed on learning the latest software technology.

By miriam98 — On Oct 16, 2011

I almost interviewed once for a training specialist position for the local technology center. It’s a vocational school and they wanted someone to be able to teach their computer programming classes in their labs at different locations.

I seemed like a perfect fit because I had both teaching and programming experience, but they told me it didn’t have a set schedule. Sometimes it could be ten hours a week and at other times it could be twenty hours a week.

It definitely was not full time, and I needed a full time job. Nonetheless I think this kind of work would be perfect for someone who had real world experience and a penchant for teaching.

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