As you consider distance learning options for teacher preparation, you might wonder if you still need to do student teaching even if you earn a bachelor’s in special education degree online. As convenient as it is to earn your degree online and on your schedule and from the comfort of your own living room or home office – there are some career preparation activities you can’t do from behind a computer.
The Importance of the Student Teaching Experience
For a number of reasons, student teaching experiences are important. Getting hands-on experience managing a classroom – and particularly, working with students who have special needs – is incredibly valuable to new teachers, which is one reason why you still need to do student teaching even if you earn a bachelor’s in special education degree online. Through this experience, you’ll see firsthand what kind of challenges you will cope with as a special education teacher and how to overcome them to help students learn in spite of their disabilities.
Another reason you still need to do student teaching even if you earn a bachelor’s in special education degree online is so that your education will meet state licensing requirements regarding in-person student teaching experience. In most states, candidates for a teaching license or certification must have completed a minimum amount of supervised teaching experience in the classroom, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. An online degree program that didn’t help students meet this requirement would be useless for aspiring public school teachers, since they would be unable to attain their teaching license.
Student Teaching in Online Degree Programs
What can you expect when you need to do student teaching even though you’re earning your bachelor’s in special education degree online? Online degree programs in special education usually include a minimum of 10 weeks of supervised student teaching work experience, according to U.S. News & World Report. Often, students can arrange to do their student teaching at nearby schools, to avoid the hardship of having to travel far.
The student teaching requirements at some degree programs may be shorter or longer. You should always check to make sure that the requirements for your degree program match the licensing requirements for the state in which you intend to teach.
Some of the best online bachelor’s in special education degree programs in the country include a mandatory student teaching experience. For example, the City University of Seattle’s online undergraduate special education degree program specifically requires students to complete an internship and student teaching experience. So does Kansas State University’s program. In fact, this requirement is widespread among programs that prepare you to earn a teaching license.
Both to gain real-world teaching experience and to satisfy state licensing requirements, you still need to do student teaching even if you earn a bachelor’s in special education degree online.
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