Special education is offered to students beginning in preschool and continuing through high school. The services of the Israeli department of education are offered for learning, emotional and communicative disabilities. The department also services students who are physically impaired. Hebrew is important. It is important to work on your Hebrew proficiency before looking for a job in this field. Special education educators can potentially earn a greater salary than regular teachers for there are many opportunities for private tutoring and other work.
A special thank you to Tirza Huminar, Head of the Teacher’s Program for Special Education at Michlala College, for participating in this interview.
Please provide us with a brief description of your field.
Special education deals with individuals with special needs and exceptionalities. This includes handling eccentric personalities, hearing impaired individuals, vision impaired individuals, people with emotional issues or neurological issues, autism and learning disabilities. It involves working with special needs individuals from the time they are babies, throughout their lifetime.
What is your current position?
I am the head of the special education program at Michlala and I also teach several theoretical classes at Michlala. Michlala is a college that offers a four-year program to train its students to be teachers in special education. At Michlala, students take both theoretical and practical classes. The theoretical classes teach students about different exceptionalities. The practical classes equip students with classroom skills, preparing them to teach in the classroom. Students also learn several types of therapies.
Graduates of the program go on to teach at special education schools, or in special education classes in mainstream schools. Some graduates also work in inclusive education in which there are a few kids with special needs in a mainstream classroom. Others work as guidance counselors, in therapy, and curriculum development.
What is the best way to find a job in the field of special education?
It is always best to have a contact to speak to and meet with at a school. However, the official procedure is to go to the superintendent of special education in your city and submit your degree certification and a resume. A short interview is involved.
Most cities have one school for special needs students. It will either be Dati (religious) or not, depending on the community.
What degree should someone making Aliyah come with, in order to work in this field?
You should have a Bachelor’s degree in education and a Master’s degree in special education. You could also come to Israel after receiving a Bachelor’s degree, and train for special education in Israel. Special education programs in universities and colleges in Israel equip you with all of the degrees and experience necessary to teach special education in Israel. In order to be accepted into a special education program (at the college level) in Israel, you must have experience working with individuals with special needs.
Does it make any difference whether you studied in Israel or abroad?
You can work in special education in Israel if you have the proper degrees from abroad. It is important, however, that you speak Hebrew. I would recommend that you spend your first year in Israel working as a teacher’s aid. That way you can learn the language that you will need for the job. You will also be able to better gauge what type of school you would like to work in.
What are the benefits of working in this field?
Special educators earn a higher salary than other educators. The work is challenging but rewarding.
What is the salary range?
It depends on your degree and experience.
What are the upcoming areas of specialty you would recommend?
The current philosophy for special education is that the more inclusive the education, the better it is for the students. There are more jobs available in programs that try to incorporate students into mainstream schools, than there are in solely special education schools.
What is the professional organization (if any) in your field? How can they be contacted and what do they do?
There are parent organizations for every type of exceptionality. When teachers join a teachers’ union, they specify what type of students they work with. They will then usually receive information about their specialty.
What recommendations can you offer Olim looking to work in this field?
Hebrew! You need strong Hebrew skills.
In addition, at the moment there is a demand for college teachers, people who have the necessary background to train students who are studying to become special education teachers. A Ph.D. is needed for these positions.
How do you feel about working and living here in Israel?
Always be open to moving to other places because there might not be openings in Jerusalem. Outside of Jerusalem there are many more opportunities and better working conditions.
In general, it’s important to be aware of the fact that special education is hard work. Do not assume that it is easier because there are smaller class sizes. The work is challenging, but the experience is extremely rewarding.
Useful Links for Special Needs Schools in Israel:
- You can search for special needs schools in Israel on this site (Hebrew)
- Job board (in Hebrew) for special needs assistants and counselors.
- Job board (in Hebrew) for jobs in the field of ABA.
Updated: December 15, 2021