Special Education Teacher Salary

While the teaching profession has taken a hit nationally in the aftermath of the 2008 economic recession and the slashing of education budgets, one specialty that still shows promise – both from a career outlook and salary perspective – is that of a special education teacher.

Specifically, special education teachers work with students who have learning disabilities and provide them with a curriculum designed to help them succeed in an effective, yet different learning environment from those without learning disabilities. Because you’ll be working with special needs students, the profession is more about understanding a student’s disabilities and working one-on-one and in group settings with the student to ensure that he/she builds skills. As a special education teacher, you’ll work either in a public or private academic setting.

Here’s a closer look at the education requirements, salary and career outlook associated with the special education teaching profession:

Education Requirements

In order to qualify as a special education teacher, you must have at least a bachelor degree or an online degree from an accredited university. While a bachelor degree is the minimum, many school districts often require special education teachers to hold master degrees as well. Being that the students they’ll be teaching are different than the average student, the advanced degree and more thorough teaching education can do a lot for preparedness, not to mention your versatility in the teaching realm.

In addition to possessing a degree, you must also hold a teaching license, or teaching certification. As a special education teacher, you’ll be required to earn continuing education credits, or else you could risk losing your certification status, which can then make you unqualified by state law to teach special education classes.

Career Options

As we already told you in the opening, special education teachers typically work in private or public settings, teaching classes of special needs students. As a special education teacher, you’re diversifying yourself in the education realm in terms of whom you qualify to teach. Special education teachers are a special breed of professionals. They must have several intangibles that can help them excel in the profession. These include things like patience, good communication skills – both with students and their parents – and the willingness to take on challenges that many other professionals may not be willing to take on.

However, at the same time, special education teachers have very rewarding careers. There’s perhaps nothing more rewarding than knowing that you’ve helped a learning disabled student. It can be a very satisfying career both from a personal and professional standpoint and good special ed teachers never stop learning and growing with their students.

Other Aspects to Consider in Special Education

We’ve tackled the education requirements, career options and how rewarding the career can potentially be. But there’s also salary potential and the career outlook that you certainly need to take into consideration before pursuing a career in the field. While the teaching profession on a whole may not have the most promising outlook, special education teachers do. A lot of this is because special education teachers aren’t just any type of teacher – but a special type of professional. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the special education teacher field is expected to grow at a 17 percent clip by 2020. That’s considered as fast as average, by BLS standards, with an expectation of adding over 77,000 jobs in the 10-year span between 2010 and 2020.

What about the salary? According to the BLS, the average special education teacher makes about $53,200 per year. The special education teacher salary is slightly more than the average elementary school teacher, who, according to the BLS makes more than $51,000 per year.

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