22 August, 2023 | Posted by Jenny Smith

What are the Career Opportunities in Inclusive Education?

An inclusive education teacher helping a young student

This dynamic and rewarding field not only embraces and celebrates diversity but also actively works towards creating environments where everyone is given equal opportunities to thrive.  

But what does a career in this impactful field look like? How can you contribute towards this significant cause? 

Let’s explore the vibrant world of career opportunities within inclusive education. From special education teachers who work directly with students to policymakers who shape the landscape of inclusive education, there is a myriad of paths you can take.  

Each role, distinct in its responsibilities, contributes towards the shared goal of nurturing a learning environment that acknowledges, respects, and caters to the needs of all students.

A degree in Inclusive Education Practice forms the foundation for these careers, it is important to note that further studies and specialisations are needed for most of these career paths. 

If you've ever felt the call to make a difference, challenge norms, and champion equal opportunities, then a career in inclusive education might just be your calling.  

  1. Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers play a crucial role in inclusive education. They work directly with students who have diverse learning needs, developing individualised education plans and using specialised instructional strategies. These professionals often work in inclusive classrooms, collaborating with general education teachers to ensure all students' needs are met. 

  1. Inclusion Specialist

Inclusion specialists work with schools or districts to develop and implement inclusion policies and practices. They may conduct staff training, provide resources, and help integrate students with special needs into general education classrooms. 

  1. School Counsellor

School counsellors play an important role in promoting inclusive education. They provide support to students with diverse needs, helping them navigate social and academic challenges. They may also work with teachers, parents, and administrators to create a more inclusive school environment.

4. Educational Consultant

Educational consultants specialising in inclusive education provide advice to schools and educational institutions on implementing inclusive practices. They may help develop curricula, train teachers, or create policies to promote inclusivity.

5. Disability Services Coordinator

In higher education settings, disability services coordinators ensure that students with disabilities have the necessary accommodations to succeed. They might work with faculty, staff, and students to ensure the campus is inclusive and accessible. 

6. Policy Maker or Advocate

Those with a passion for inclusive education may find careers in policy-making or advocacy rewarding. These roles involve shaping legislation, creating educational policies, and advocating for inclusive practices at the local, state, or national level. 

7. Special Needs Assistant

Special Needs Assisting or SNAs are qualified to work in schools, hospitals and care homes supporting those with learning, physical or behavioural difficulties. The role of an SNA in the classroom involves assisting the teacher to support students with special educational needs who may also have significant care needs. Through education, knowledge and understanding an SNA can ensure that a child or adult with special needs experiences a positive learning experience developing their confidence and independence.

Read More: What is the daily role of an SNA?

It's important to note that roles in inclusive education require specialised skills and often specific qualifications. Many professionals in this field have degrees in special education, psychology, or related fields, and may also require state licensure or certification.


Portobello Institute Inclusive Education Students

Anna Dunlevy White worked as a financial underwriter before changing her career to become a Montessori teacher and an SNA.

She has been working as a teaching assistant in a mainstream school for almost seven years now and is currently studying for her BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice at Portobello Institute. 

“My role is constantly evolving so in order to best support the individual needs of the children I work with I decided to challenge myself, for my own personal development, to become a better practitioner and pursue my goal of becoming a special education teacher.

“I have seen how the traditional academic approach to education in Ireland has not evolved quickly enough to fully and inclusively support SEN students, so I want to develop and broaden my skillset in order to become a better educator and advocate more effectively for the children in my care,” she said. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to Enda Bracken’s studies to become an Emergency Medical Technician he turned to special needs assisting and is now enrolled on Portobello Institute’s BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice.

I completed my leaving certificate in June 2019. During the pandemic, I started an SNA course and I started subbing in a primary school ASD unit straight away as I could not return to work with the pandemic.

“This experience changed my mind completely, and I decided I would follow the career path to become a Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher.

As I did not have the qualifications to be an SEN teacher, I began my search for the right course for me. Having looked at many different courses, I found that the Inclusive Education Practice course with Portobello was the course for me.

“I spent months looking at different courses to find one that suits my already busy schedule. Studying in a blended learning course, I believe was the best choice, as it allows me to continue to work helping pay for my expenses and fees.

“I currently work as an SNA which means while studying to become an SEN teacher, I will be gaining invaluable experience right up until I qualify,” he said.


Choose the course for the career you want 

As we continue to strive for a more equitable society, understanding and implementing the principles of inclusive education is a vital step forward. 

To find out more, read our longer deep-dive Discover Inclusive Education as a Fulfilling and Diverse Career Path.

If you are inspired to make a meaningful impact, transform the educational landscape, and champion a more inclusive future, a career in inclusive education awaits.

Portobello Institute offers a clear pathway to a successful career in inclusive education starting with a level 5 and level 6 Special Needs Assisting qualification you can progress to a BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice, BA (Hons) in Inclusive Education Practice and an MA in Inclusive Education and SEN

This path is unquestionably fulfilling, continually reminding you of the difference you're making in creating a more inclusive world, one student at a time. 

If you are interested in any of our special needs assisting or inclusive education degrees you can book a consultation call with our expert advisor, Sarah Coyne, email sarah.coyne@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0028.

If you are interested in the MA in Inclusive Education and SEN specifically, you can speak with our expert advisor, Jennifer Matteazzi, email jennifer.matteazzi@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0031. 

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