Career Advice on How to Become A Special Education Teacher

General Career Information

Being a special education teacher is often tough work and a noble profession. It is possible that a special education teacher will have students with numerous different learning disabilities in one single class.  Often, to make this difficult job even more difficult, teachers will find that they do not have the necessary resources to address the needs of their various students.  These are all important factors to consider when putting special education teacher on your career planning or job search list.

Career Facts:

Those working as special education teachers are likely to find students in their classes that have a mixture of learning problems, as well as physical disabilities as well.  Learning and speech disabilities are common, and teachers may also have students that have several different disabilities or learning disabilities at the same time.  Students with autism are becoming increasingly common, as the rate of autism has steadily risen in recent years.  Special education teachers need to use different teaching strategies than non-special education teachers.  This means that the course work for special education teachers and the lesson plans that they ultimately use may different significantly from those of more mainstream counterparts.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Good:

The expected rate of job growth for special education teachers between 2008 and 2018 is expected to be about seventeen percent overall.  In some school districts, the rate of higher may in fact be significantly higher than this expected seventeen percent increase.
Job Outlook is Good

A Day in The Life:

Special education teachers, by their very nature, need to be patient and dedicated.  Their students can learn and even excel, but they often need specialized attention and focused lesson plans specifically designed for individual student needs.  The fact that special education teachers are likely to have students with an array of differing issues and learning difficulties means that establishing a “cookie-cutter” approach to lesson plans is more difficult and sometimes even impossible.  The end result is that special education teachers may in fact work harder than many of their mainstream teaching counterparts.

Average Salary:

The average salary for special education teachers teaching in elementary schools is roughly $50,000, with the top ten percent earning about $79,000 per year.  For special education teachers who work in the secondary school systems, the earnings jump slightly.  A special education teacher in the secondary system averages about $51,000 with the top ten percent earning roughly $82,000.

$50k - $70k


Career Training and Qualifications:

Those looking to become special education teachers should expect to complete a bachelor’s degree in education.  It is common for special education teachers to also hold a master’s degree as well.  Further, teachers must be licensed by the state in which they are going to teach.
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