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Resource Specialist Duties and Responsibilities
No two resource specialists are exactly alike, as specific skills vary from employer to employer. However, after analyzing online job postings, we have identified several core duties and responsibilities common to the job:
Teach Special Needs Students Resource specialists provide educational instruction to special needs students. They teach special classes with a modified curriculum to match the developmental level and needs of the students.
Counsel Students in Life Skills Resource specialists counsel special needs students in both life and professional skills. They're responsible for preparing students to perform well in school, social circles, and professional jobs. This often includes roleplaying with students to evaluate their knowledge and ability.
Work with Parents and Teachers Resource specialists work regularly with both parents and teachers to report progress and talk about any problems or incidents that are affecting a student's ability to succeed. This typically means more parent-teacher conferences on a more regular basis.
Implement Individualized Education Programs for Students Resource specialists work hard to create and implement individualized education programs (IEPs) for their students. These IEPs are distributed to other teachers, and resource specialists are responsible for ensuring these plans are followed correctly.
Identify Developmental Hindrances Resource specialists pay close attention to their students' progress and interactions with teachers and other students to identify developmental roadblocks that may hinder educational progress. They also keep detailed documentation about these roadblocks in order to report on them to parents and teachers.
Resource Specialist Salary OutlookThe U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the average median salary for resource specialists—and other special education teachers—as around $59,000 per year. Salary can vary depending on the grade level of the students the resource specialists assists, with those at the high school level earning a little more than $60,000 per year. The highest-earning resource specialists can make upwards of around $95,000 per year, while the lowest-earning resource specialists can make as little as around $39,000 per year. Resource specialists are typically eligible to receive benefits packages that include health insurance, retirement and pension plans, and paid time off. The BLS also reports that resource specialists can expect to experience a growth in demand of about eight percent in the coming decade. This is an average growth rate, but it may vary depending on each type of educational institute.
Check out some of these helpful resources to learn more about resource specialists and their role in education:
The National Association of Special Education Teachers - this professional organization is one of the biggest resources for resource specialists and other special education teachers across the nation. It provides opportunities for networking and also features articles and other publications with helpful information.
Learning Disabilities Online - this website is a one-stop shop for educators of all kinds who teach kids with learning disabilities. It features research-based articles and posts, along with helpful curriculum resources and activities. You can also find helpful videos to give you more ideas.
10 Critical Components for Success in the Special Education Classroom - this book is billed as the "blueprint for building structure, consistency, and accountability" in a classroom with students who have special needs. It focuses on classroom organization, individualized education plans, and parent communication, among other topics.
The Survival Guide for New Special Education Teachers - this book covers everything you need to know as a new resource specialist coming into your first special education classroom. It provides real-world examples and scenarios that help you fully understand what you can do to provide the best education to your students.
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