Career Spotlight: Specialized Education Careers

We had the chance to interview Susie Gray, a veteran of the education field. Currently, Susie is the a Speech Therapist at The Cove School, a Chicago charter school for special needs students. Pick her brain and learn about the world of education and career possibilities that ensue. Is a specialized education career the job for you? Find out now…

What excites you about working in K-12 Education?

Working in an educational environment supporting the K-12 population can be very exciting. There are so many opportunities for teaching children throughout the school day due to the increased resources in technology, continual changes in curriculum, and the ability to collaborate with teachers, educational specialists, and parents/caregivers. These can present challenges as well, however, to observe a child’s growth and progress in learning is invaluable.

How would you suggest a college student (bachelor’s or master’s) prepare themselves for an education specialization?

When considering specializing in a field related to special education (such as a reading specialist, learning disability specialist or any type of educational therapist),  it is essential to observe the professional in their work environment. These observations can provide a prospective student with an idea of whether or not the job is the “right fit”. Textbooks and lectures can not offer this.

[More on education degrees...]

What was the most beneficial college course you took for your career and why?

The most beneficial college course I took was a diagnostic class that focused on deciding what assessment tools to use and to identify if speech and language therapy interventions were warranted. This class taught me to look at test results but, to also observe behavior as a more informal, however, important way to evaluate skills. Learning this early on in my career has helped me to become a skilled clinical therapist and acute observer of human behavior.

What are three traits that every educator should have? 

The traits or qualities I feel are most important when working in the field of special education are being patient, compassionate, and flexible. I had some of these qualities prior to entering the field of speech pathology, however, working for 33 years with children, and their families has developed these skills greatly.

Why is education so important? 

Obtaining a degree in higher education, in whatever field of choice, will open up doors and provide opportunities that otherwise might not be available. Not only are the classroom experiences important, and add to your knowledge base, but the experiences of interacting with others contributes as well.

About Allison Freeland

Allie Freeland is the Editor-in-Chief of CollegeOnline.org. She has been a professional writer for a decade and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She brings a wealth of information about higher education, online degrees, college life, and career advice. Follow her on G+.