Deaf Education

Deaf people have always cherished communication. They say, "Deafness is not about hearing; deafness is about communication" (Ogden, 1996, p.3). To many professionals grappling with the impact of deafness on children and their ability to learn, it takes a long time to understand this observation. Perhaps above all, it takes personal experience with the myriad ways deafness can make it difficult for information to flow freely across the hearing barrier.

Our Department of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies at California State University, Fresno has offered a rather unique option: Deaf Education. For the faculty, Deaf Education is a term which implies broad and inclusive study of providing full communication accessibility to deaf and hard of hearing children as an effective way of teaching and raising them.

The major of Deaf Education allows our students to make a real difference in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing children, their teachers, parents and administrators. It provides the students with the training, skills, education, and information base to affect those around them in positive, active ways. Moreover, this impact can improve educational systems and administrative methods. Pursuing an undergraduate degree will inspire students with a desire to make a difference.

An undergraduate degree in Deaf Education can enable a person to pursue careers outside of the specific arena of teaching deaf and hard of hearing students. Students can pursue higher degrees in such fields as counseling, physical therapy, law, medicine, and other human services. In a vast number of jobs, with or without higher degrees, they can serve as "ambassadors" between the mainstream society and the Deaf Community.

Education beyond the bachelor's degree is necessary for completion of the academic and credential requirements leading to professional employment. Although the Master of Arts degree is not required for future teachers, it is considered essential for the professional training needed for successful classroom teaching. Nearly all of our students pursue a M.A. degree along with their required teaching credentials for further professional opportunities.

The Deaf Education program consists of 46 units of coursework with the option of pursuing a teaching credential and a MA degree in Deaf Education.

Please visit the CSU, Fresno online catalog for Deaf Education for additional information.

Do students have to get a teaching credential to work as a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children?

Yes. An Educational Specialist: Deaf and Hearing of Hearing Option credential is the required post-BA credential for teachers. All of the student teaching experience and advanced coursework are completed at a Post-BA level to prepare students to be fully certified and recognized by the nationally accreditation organization, the Council of Education of the Deaf (CED).

Do students have to get a Master's Degree to work as a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children?

No. Nearly all of our students complete the Master of Arts degree, the 36-units of advanced coursework, of which are mostly credential coursework required for the Educational Specialist: DHH Option credential. In order to receive a M.A. degree along with the teaching credential, the students take three classes, and a culminating experience is required of them. The culminating experience involves taking written comprehensive examination, or undertaking a thesis or project.

Is the job market good for teachers of deaf and hard of hearing?

Yes. Our students are in great demand across the state and across the United States at all educational levels: early intervention, elementary, middle, high school settings. Typically, students who graduate are either hired right out of school, or already have a job lined up before they graduate.

What is the average starting salary for a beginning teacher?

Beginning teachers of deaf and hard of hearing children can expect to earn an average salary of about $49,000 in the schools, or about $55,000 as program specialists. Salary also depends on where they choose to work, as the cost of living is higher in some parts of the state and country than others.