What is an intervention specialist?

Intervention specialists are also known as special education teachers. They are versatile educators who teach children who have been identified as needing specially designed instruction. Basically, the answer to “What is an intervention specialist?” changes from day to day.

Intervention specialists are responsible for assisting students with their social, behavioral and educational needs in a school setting. In Ohio, these teachers earn a multi-age license. They are qualified to teach students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Both current teachers and traditional college students can pursue coursework to become an intervention specialist.

What is a typical day like for an intervention specialist?

“There is no such thing as a typical day for an intervention specialist,” said Dr. Gayle Trollinger, professor of education at Bluffton University and former special education teacher.

Some intervention specialists work with small groups of children in an intervention classroom. Others work with students in traditional classroom settings. They provide support to integrate students into the general education program. Since the license is multi-age for K-12, intervention specialists work with students within a wide range of abilities and ages on any given day.

The position also requires quite of bit of documentation. Future intervention specialists should prepare to be organized, monitor their students’ progress and complete paperwork.

Is there a need for intervention specialists?

The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook says the growth rate for intervention specialists/special education teachers is eight percent or average. However, Trollinger says she often answers phone calls from school districts with openings.

“They [school administrators] are desperate for intervention specialists,” said Trollinger. “There is a profound need because these students need the best teachers. The schools aren’t able to fill the positions.”

What classes would I need to become an intervention specialist?

Intervention specialist majors take many of the same classes other education majors take to become teachers. However, there are also classes focused specifically on intervention.

At Bluffton University, these courses include:

  • Introduction to the education of students with mild and moderate educational needs
  • Diagnosis and educational planning for special needs children
  • Language development for diverse learners
  • Intervention specialist classroom organization
  • Methods and materials for working with students with diverse needs

Like traditional education majors, intervention specialist majors complete a student-teaching experience. Student teachers spend full days at an assigned public school for at least 12 weeks during their senior year of study.

Following graduation, intervention specialist majors are eligible to become licensed intervention specialists.

Current teachers with an Ohio teaching certificate or license can become ab intervention specialist by taking additional classes. They must also pass the OAE intervention specialist exams.

Is the position rewarding?

“I believe this is the best job in the world, but bottom line is you are working with students who have been identified as needing specially designed instruction,” said Trollinger. “This job allows you to help students reach their full potential. However, you are working with struggling students who may have behavior issues. It’s a rewarding job but know it can also be frustrating and overwhelming at times.”

At Bluffton University…

At Bluffton University, traditional undergraduate students can major in Intervention Specialist to teach K-12 students with mild/moderate needs. Many Bluffton students choose to double major in Primary P-5 (pre-k through 5th grade) and Intervention Specialist.
To learn more read about teacher education at Bluffton University >

Teachers with an Ohio teaching certificate or license may complete an Intervention Specialist concentration by taking additional classes. Bluffton offers an accelerated option for working teachers. The online program may be completed on its own or as part of the Master of Arts in Education graduate degree program.

Intervention specialists must pass the appropriate state required exam and apply to the state for the intervention specialist license.

Considering going back to school to become an Intervention Specialist? Find out what financial aid is available to you! Financial aid for adult students – College Search Tips (bluffton.edu)