Deaf Education is a unique and wonderful area in which to grow as an educator, as a steward of children, and as a culturally-aware human.
There is a need for educators for deaf students, and you may be just the teacher to help meet the need in that unique culture of visual language.
1. Learn A New Language
When you major in Deaf Studies Education, American Sign Language will be an integral part of your degree. American Sign Language, or ASL, is a rich and beautiful language. ASL uses hand shape and placement, facial expressions, and body movements to express complex ideas. Make no mistake, American Sign Language is not just a signed form of English. It is a unique language with its own grammar, dialects, poetry, music, and history.
2. Build Your Resume
A degree in Deaf Education will look great on your resume. While getting your degree, take internships, work or volunteer in Deaf Schools or summer camps, and practice your ASL. Hiring managers and Principals love to see bilingual candidates. Your resume will be impressive before you even finish your degree, which will be handy for graduate school or any career trajectory you choose.
3. Open Yourself Up to a New Culture
When the word Deaf is seen with a capital D, it refers to Deaf culture. Many Deaf individuals see themselves as a part of a greater culture and community. Deaf culture, like any culture, has several layers that make up that unified identity. The most important facet of Deaf culture is Sign Language. When you open your mind to this new culture, you will also be open to a world view you never knew existed. Another important thing to note about Deaf culture- Deafness is never considered a handicap or disability. It is absolutely an awesome culture to embrace!
4.Be in an Exclusive Club
Deaf Education is growing in demand, yet still a fairly unique major to have. Bond with classmates over the awesome major you picked, discuss career choices, and network. You never know who can help you find a job down the line.
5. Find a Job You Love
Use those connections you made in school to find a job you can’t wait to to go to everyday. The work available with a degree in Deaf Education will be lucrative and fulfilling.
A degree in Deaf Education will open up many doors for you. The obvious career path with a degree in Deaf Education would be to work at a Deaf School. Being a teacher at a Deaf School is an enriching experience. There are however other paths and opportunities that can be taken. You can work as a teacher in any school(because you will be a certified teacher), work as an employment counselor, become a certified American Sign Language Interpreter, and even start your journey as an Audiologist.
7. Unique Expertise
A degree in Deaf Education will give you a unique set of skills that will be beneficial for life. You will become fluent in another language, learn how to work with a diverse population, and learn how to really be attuned to body language. ASL is a language that relies heavily on expressions, posture, and body language. The ability to read people alone is enough to major in Deaf Education. In fact, if you decide to drastically shift career paths, you can easily become a brilliant sales person with this skill.
8. Beneficial to All Students
The skills you learn with a degree are beneficial to all students, not just Deaf Students. Teaching all students to sign is good for them and for the community at large. Also, some students are nonverbal and may feel more comfortable using ASL as means to communicate.
9. Silent Communication
Using Sign Language can be a super useful way to communicate with the world around you. Silent Communication can help you give directions or voice an opinion when you are expected to be quiet. You can essentially have a conversation while a movie is playing without being (too) rude to others.
People who know ASL are a part of an instant community wherever they go. You can make deep and meaningful relationships with people just based on a common language and your relationship with the Deaf. That intense sense of community can help when starting a new career, or when relocating.
11. Meaningful Work
Deaf Education has a long history. Gone are the days of forced oralism and denial of signing. You will have the chance to work in a time period where Sign Language is not only allowed, but embraced. You will have the opportunity to instill love and pride of Deaf culture.
With a degree in Deaf Education you can not only educate your students, you can also educate your friends and community at large. Hold seminars on Deaf Culture, give ASL lessons, start an ASL club in your area, teach a class on Deaf Studies. Create a welcoming and educated community.
13. Continuing Education
A degree in Deaf Education will be helpful should you desire to pursue graduate work. Many graduate schools would be impressed with Deaf Education as a major. The graduate degrees are endless: Medical School , Law School, Doctorate in Audiology, any program in education, and much more.
14. Self Expression
Deaf education will help you express yourself in a way you never knew was possible. You will become more connected to your body and facial expressions, which in turn will help you become a more effective communicator. It will also open you up to new forms of art such as ASL poetry and signed songs. Check out this ASL poem by Daniel Durant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMXsCZnAJpI
Everyone who gets a degree in education does so to empower their students. Deaf education will help you empower your students as well as their family. You will be able to teach the parents, siblings, and friends of your students ASL. You can strive for a bilingual English/ASL community, so that everyone in your community can communicate without barriers.