GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



This study addresses the chronic and increasing national shortage of fully certified special education teachers (SETs) in comparison with general education teachers (GETs). The data sources were the 1987–1988 through 1999–2000 Schools and Staffing Surveys and the Data Analysis System for special education for school years 1987–1988 through 2001–2002. The study found that (a) the shortage of fully certified SETs increased from 7.4% in 1993–1994 to 12.2% in 2001–2002 (2%–4% greater than the shortage of fully certified GETs), (b) the number of additional fully certified SETs needed almost doubled from 25,000 in 1993–1994 to 49,000 in 2001–2002, (c) the shortage of fully certified teachers was exacerbated by entering teachers (only 44.4% of entering SETs were fully certified), and (d) only 53.1% of first-time entering SETs with extensive teacher preparation were fully certified.


©2006 Council for Exceptional Children. The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal for Exceptional Children, Volume 72, Issue 4, Summer 2006, pages 443-460. Printed with permission by the Council for Exceptional Children.



Date Posted: 05 December 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.