Students who are deaf/hard of hearing have unique learning and communication needs. Most students require instruction from teachers with specialization to help them achieve their academic potential. Teachers with the deaf ed specialization become experts in language acquisition and communication, as well as many other areas that impact this unique group of students.
Deaf ed teacher preparation programs many be comprehensive in nature or may focus on a specific philosophy.
University teacher preparation programs that focus on the preparation of oral-aural teachers emphasize audiology, aural rehabilitation, and techniques for speech development in addition to specialized teaching strategies. Many programs following the oral-aural philosophy work with children who have received cochlear implants and, therefore, prepare Deaf Educators to work in a therapeutic setting.
University teacher preparation programs that focus on the preparation of bilingual-bicultural teachers emphasize learning American Sign Language as a first language and bridge to the development of English (or any other spoken language). These programs also value Deaf Culture as one of the many cultures represented by the diverse student population. Majoring in this area requires one to become proficient in American Sign Language and knowledgeable in the visual learning needs of deaf and hard of hearing students.
Most university teacher preparation programs in the United States belong to this category. Comprehensive programs provide majors with a variety of techniques in order to prepare them to be versatile enough to work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing in a variety of settings. In addition to courses in instructional strategies, comprehensive programs may offer coursework in audiology, speech pathology, aural rehabilitation, and sign language. Some programs offer courses in communication systems such as cued speech or signed English. Others provide courses in American Sign Language. Colleges and universities vary in their entry requirements.
-Information from the Association of College Educators - Deaf & Hard of Hearing