An intervention specialist is often perceived as someone who works with people who have addictions. While that is true, another type of intervention specialist works in local and state government agencies, schools and healthcare. In education, the intervention specialist’s role is to support struggling learners. Many of these learners tend to receive special education services.
The Intervention Specialist’s Role in Special Education
An intervention specialist’s role is comparable to a social worker’s. Both get assigned multiple cases, attend meetings about the child’s progress and services, advocate for the child, and partner with various agencies.
They can work in a wide range of settings. Some travel to the child’s home or school. Some work in a school, office, healthcare facility or in multiple locations.
An intervention specialist’s responsibilities may include some or all of the following:
- Evaluate the students.
- Develop individual education plans (IEP) with measurable goals.
- Provide specialized instruction to the students individually.
- Train the students’ families on how to work with the children.
- Monitor student progress using quantitative and qualitative metrics.
Another type of intervention specialist in early childhood intervention (ECI) most often covers children from birth to age three. This usually involves working with children who have severe behavioral or physical delays, cognitive or communication disabilities.
Such children may be at a high risk for child abuse or neglect. The ECI provides needed support and resources to at-risk children and their guardians. The goal is to give the child the best chance in life.
Some “response-to-intervention teachers” (RTI) focus on reading and language instruction. Some provide strategies for other subjects. According to “The Responsibilities of an Intervention Teacher,” all RTIs develop strategies to help students succeed.
How Do You Become an Intervention Specialist in Special Education?
Each intervention specialist role may have different requirements and responsibilities. The exact mix depends on the setting, organization and location. The qualifications for this role often include a bachelor’s degree at a minimum.
Each state’s education department has its own requirements for this role. It may involve completing a teacher preparation program or certification. Check with your state’s education department for the requirements to become an intervention specialist. Another way to find out the job requirements is to search for jobs in your area that interest you.
Some intervention specialist roles have a sub-specialty. This can be physical therapy, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or speech-language. In some states, a teacher may be able to make a career change by completing courses related to intervention and one of the sub-specialties.
According to PayScale, the average salary for an intervention specialist in 2018 is almost $40,000 per year. The salary ranges from $30,000 to $60,000 per year, and experience can affect the salary. PayScale also indicates a bachelor’s degree is usually required, but a master’s degree is preferred.
An online Master of Science in Education — Special Education program may offer courses that cover interventions and strategies. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Superior has an online MSE in Special Education program with a course titled “Behavior Analysis and Intervention.” The curriculum provides students with opportunities to learn about theories, strategies and programs. They collect data to create and implement a behavior intervention plan.
UW-Superior also has courses that focus on issues and interventions in math and reading. The online program’s emphasis is on analyzing, evaluating, and designing interventions and strategies to help learners who struggle or need extra support.