Special Education Teacher Job Description, Salary and Skills

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Special education teachers oversee the education and training for students with physical, emotional, mental, and learning disabilities. Read below for information on what special education teachers do, as well as more specific information about a career as a special education teacher.

Special Education Teacher Job Description

Special education teachers design and deliver lessons geared towards the individual needs and capabilities of the students under their supervision.

Special education teachers collaborate with other classroom teachers, school psychologists, learning disabilities specialists, speech/hearing specialists, and school social workers to provide an integrated plan for developing the capacities of their students.

Special education teachers set learning goals for each student, assess their progress, and record their evaluations. They update parents on the progress of their students and enlist parental support with behavior control and home activities designed to supplement their classroom lessons.

Special education teachers supervise and train teaching assistants. They help plan for the transition of their students to productive lives after the completion of their secondary education.

Special Education Teacher Work Environment

Special education teachers typically work in public or private schools. They may also work at childcare service centers or other institutions.

Special education teachers teach at the preschool, elementary, middle, or high school level.

Special Education Teacher Work Schedule

Most special education teachers work the full school day. Many special education teachers have summers off, although some work in summer school as well.

Special Education Teacher Education Requirements

Special education teachers in public schools need at least a bachelor’s degree and a state certification or license.

Private school teachers need a bachelor’s degree, but do not have to be certified or licensed. Some teachers receive a bachelor’s degree specifically in education, or even special education.

Some teachers get licenses in specific disability categories, such as behavior disorders or autism.

Special Education Teacher Training Requirements

Many special education teachers must complete a certain number of hours of student teaching before becoming certified. In student teaching, special education teachers might learn how to plan lessons and manage a classroom under the supervision of a lead teacher.

Special Education Teacher Skill Requirements

You can find a list of skills required of all kinds of teachers here. There are many skills specific to special education teachers, including empathy, patience, and organization.

Special education teachers also must have strong communication skills; they must be able to not only give instructions to students, but also communicate with parents, other teachers, and administrators.

When applying for a job as a special education teacher, be sure to read the job description for a list of the specific skills required for that job.

Special Education Teacher Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median pay for a special education teacher in 2014 was $55,980.

The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,080.

Special Education Teacher Job Outlook

Employment of special education teachers is expected to grow at a rate of about 6% from 2014 to 2024. This growth rate is as fast as average. This is due to better screening and identification of various physical, emotional, mental, and learning disabilities.

Read More: Special Education Teacher (Occupational Outlook Handbook) | Indeed.com Job Listings | Teacher Interview Questions | Salaries Listed By Job | Salary Comparison Tools | Salary Calculators | Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs