A teenage student seems disengaged in school, often staring into space and even presenting behavioral problems in class. Continually frustrated, the teacher calls for a high school interventionist.

Specialized knowledge about external variables that can impact students' experiences makes a school interventionist the most qualified school professional to help the student realize success. Often, disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity or obsessive compulsive disorder make it challenging for a student to function in a classroom without extra assistance.

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A school interventionist determines issues that negatively impact the behavior and performance of students and provides strategies for improvement.

School Interventionist Definition

A school interventionist evaluates students to learn more about the factors impacting their behavior and academic performance. Graduate-level education and teaching experience help a school interventionist discern various ways to reinforce positive behavior and limit issues that negatively impact behavior.

When called upon, a school interventionist observes the identified student in the classroom and uses creative techniques to help the student open up and share his feelings.

Interventionist School Jobs

Interventionist jobs are found in a wide variety of settings. School systems are the most common organizations that employ this position, but you’ll also find jobs in group homes, residential treatment centers and early intervention clinics.

Social workers often work hand in hand with school interventionists.

School Interventionist Qualifications

A school interventionist is usually a licensed teacher with special education experience. School interventionist qualifications usually include the following:

  • Teaching license
  • Classroom teaching experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in education or preferably special education
  • Experience in Response to Intervention or Multi-Tiered System structure
  • Reading licensure

You’ll also find that many schools or organizations will require a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis on behavioral intervention.

Education Required for a School Interventionist

If you know that you want to become a school interventionist prior to beginning college, enroll in an undergraduate program in special education with an emphasis on behavioral intervention. It’s recommended that you gain teaching experience prior to pursuing your graduate degree.

You can also pursue this position with a teaching degree and a graduate degree in special education. Consider the preferred education for becoming licensed as a school interventionist.

Bachelor’s Degree Program

If you enroll in a special education/behavioral interventionist program, you can choose between mild/moderate and moderate/intensive intervention.

You’ll take classes like Social Diversity, Reading Instruction and Assessment, Introduction to Special Education, Teaching for Mild/Moderate Educational Needs, Therapeutic Recreation and Disability Sport and Classroom Management and Intervention for Severe Behavioral Problems.

You’ll finish your program with student teaching to gain practical experience.

Master’s Degree Program

You can pursue a master’s degree in special education online while you’re working.

Most programs are 30 credit hours and include courses like Data Literacy and Assessment for Schools, Teaching Students With Mild to Moderate Disabilities, Student Evaluation and Assessment and Theories, Multicultural Education for Diversity and Techniques for Behavior Analysis and Intervention.

A capstone project or thesis finishes the requirements for this program.

Licensure Requirements

Licensure requirements for a school interventionist vary. Most states list a core set of courses that must be completed and a statewide test that assesses competency. You can gain additional certification by completing a 10-credit course offered by the National Association of Special Education Teachers. Some private schools don’t require licensure or state certification.

Consider the Pay and Job Outlook

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the annual median pay for special education teachers was $59,780. Secondary education teachers report higher pay. An 8 percent increase in jobs is projected between 2016 and 2026.

Jobs in schools usually run 10 months per year. You may be able to work during the summer in summer school, in private practice or at a clinic to supplement your income.

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About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.