Special education teachers work with children who have learning disabilities. Special education teachers must not only be skilled teachers, but be able to adapt their teaching to their students, who may have disabilities ranging from mild to severe. They need to have patience and compassion for their students and the ability to adapt their teaching to each child’s individual needs.
Annual salaries for special education teachers will vary depending on your experience, education level, and expertise. In 2013, the average annual salary for special education teachers working in U.S. kindergartens and elementary schools was $56,690; for middle schools, it was $59,540; and for secondary schools was $60,410 per year.
For more information on what parts of the country have the most opportunity for special education teachers, click through to our Best Places to Work tab for information on the number of people employed and the average salary in each state.
New York State has the most special education teachers, with a total of 50,920 kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school special education teachers. California has the next most, with 28,430.
Special education teachers are broken down into kindergarten & elementary, middle, and high school teachers: the data below is for kindergarten and elementary special education teachers. There are many more opportunities for middle and high school special education teachers.
The metro areas employing the most kindergarten and elementary special education teachers are:
The metro areas employing the highest concentration of kindergarten and elementary special education teachers are:
The metro areas employing the best-paid kindergarten and elementary special education teachers are:
Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career as a special education teacher. The associated information has been gathered from Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.
Special education teachers help children who have it incredibly tough. It’s not always an easy job, but the opportunities to make a difference are enormous:
Special education teachers need teaching skills, but also a lot of patience and love for what they do. A working knowledge of these skill sets will help to set you apart from other candidates.
Feel like you’ve got a lot to learn? Get more information about special education teaching careers, degrees, and applicable courses from one of the schools below.
Special education teachers in public schools need a bachelor’s degree—employers prefer teachers with specialist degrees in special education, but there are some roles for teachers in a particular subject area, such as English, math or science. Private school teachers also usually require a bachelor’s degree.
Special education degrees will usually teach special needs student assessment, classroom behavior and management, psychological foundations in special education, and also opportunities to perform supervised fieldwork.
Public school teachers are also required to also hold a state-issued certification or license.