Become a special needs teacher

How to become a special education teacher in South Africa?

Remedial education and special education are two very different forms of education.  On the one hand remedial programmes address learning gaps by reteaching basic skills.  Remedial schools focus mainly on core areas such as reading and mathematics.  Remedial programmes are available to students with and without disabilities and remedial programmes run the same CAPS curriculum as the mainstream schools in SA.

To enter a career as a Remedial Teacher you would need to be a qualified teacher who has spesialised in remedial education.  Teaching studies are offered at most universities in South Africa.

How to become a special education teacher in South Africa is a totally different question.  Special Education Teachers teach academics and living skills to students with learning difficulties and each one of these difficulties would require training in a different area.

Government LSEN school have different requirements to the Private Sector.  The first step that a person wanting a career in the Government Sector would need is to gain qualification as a special education teacher.

This is a bachelor’s degree offered at a variety of universities in South Africa.  During the bachelor’s degree in special education, you would choose an area of specialisation.  For example, you would choose to work with physically handicapped children, children that are deaf, blind students or autistic students.

The private sector is a bit different.  Each private special needs school, autism school or pre-school will have their own set of requirements for entry into their team.  For many a 3 – 5year degree in psychology is a pre-requisite as well as a registration at the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA).  Some therapy centers will require staff to be trained as Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Play Therapists or as Behavior Therapists.

Our advice is for you to now and understand which sector you want to teach in and then for you to look at the different course offered.  Some can be done on a part time basis whilst others are full time diplomas or degrees.

Here are a few course topics you may want to research (South Africa)

  • Teaching Children with Disabilities
  • Inclusive education
  • Facts and insight into disabilities
  • Promoting accessibility
  • Effective strategies for inclusion
  • Teaching Strategies for Inclusivity
  • Strategies to support leaners with Diverse Needs
  • The Inclusive Educational Approach
  • Addressing Barriers to learning
  • PGDip Deaf Education
  • Bed (Hons) Deaf Education
  • Braille Literacy for Teachers and Practitioners
  • Remedial education courses in South Africa
  • Advanced diploma in Remedial Education
  • NILD Educational Therapy and how to become one

Courses slightly more autism specific would include topics such as:

  • Augmentative & Alternative Communication
  • Sign language or Makaton training for children with Autism
  • Teaching children with autism spectrum disorder
  • Autism south African also has a course called hands on autism


Our advice is simple: “Do you research!  Make sure you know which special needs educational sector you want to join and/or if you wish to rather become a remedial teacher.  Talk to the various universities and colleges that offer training before enrolling.”

Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.