Special Education Teacher

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Special Education Teacher job description involves working with students who have a variety of disabilities. In this position, the teacher develops and implements individualized education plans (IEPs) to help students achieve their academic goals. They may teach in inclusive classrooms or in separate learning environments, depending on the student's needs. 

Special Education Teachers assess the strengths and weaknesses of each student, then provide specialized instruction and support to help them grow academically, socially, and emotionally. They also work closely with other educators, such as speech therapists and occupational therapists, to ensure a comprehensive approach to education. 

To be successful in this role, a Special Education Teacher must have excellent communication, organization, and problem-solving skills. They should also be compassionate, patient, and dedicated to helping students reach their full potential. A degree in special education, along with state teacher certification, is typically required. 

Overall, a Special Education Teacher plays a crucial role in providing quality education to students with special needs.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work with students who have special needs and disabilities
  • Develop individualized education plans (IEPs) for each student
  • Modify curriculum to meet the needs of each student
  • Use assistive technology and specialized equipment to help students succeed
  • Collaborate with other teachers and professionals, such as occupational therapists and speech therapists
  • Monitor student progress and adjust instruction as needed
  • Build positive relationships with students, parents, and guardians
  • Attend meetings and training sessions to stay up-to-date with best practices and legal requirements
  • Create a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a Special Education Teacher, you'll need a Bachelor's Degree in Education or a related field. This program will include courses in subjects like child development, psychology, and teaching strategies. You'll also need to complete a teacher preparation program and pass state certification exams. 

Experience working with children, especially those with disabilities, is also important. This can be gained through internships, volunteering, or working as a teacher's aide. 

Continuing education and professional development are also important for Special Education Teachers. This can include workshops, conferences, and graduate-level courses to stay up to date on the latest teaching techniques and special education laws. 

Overall, becoming a Special Education Teacher requires a combination of education, experience, and ongoing learning.

Salary Range

Special Education Teacher salary range varies depending on factors such as education, experience, location, and employer. In the United States, the average salary for a Special Education Teacher is $50,946 per year, with salaries ranging from $31,000 to $80,000. However, salaries can be higher in some states, such as New York, where the average pay is around $65,165 per year.

In Canada, the average salary for a Special Education Teacher is about CAD $60,000 per year, while in the United Kingdom, it is around £24,000 to £30,000 per year.

It's important to note that salaries for Special Education Teachers can also vary depending on the type of school they work in. For example, teachers in private schools may earn more than those in public schools.


  • https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=SpecialEducationTeacher(MiddleSchool)/Salary
  • https://www.indeed.com/career/special-education-teacher/salaries
  • https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/canada-special-education-teacher-salary-SRCHIL.0,6IN3_KO7,32.htm
  • https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/special-educational-needs-teacher/salary

Career Outlook

The career outlook for Special Education Teachers over the next 5 years is looking positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of special education teachers is projected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is due to the increasing demand for special education services and the need for more Special Education Teachers in schools. Additionally, the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services predicts an increasing demand for special education teachers due to the aging of the current teaching population. This is good news for those interested in pursuing a career in Special Education Teaching.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Special Education Teacher do?

A: A Special Education Teacher works with students who have disabilities or special needs, providing them with education and support that is tailored to meet their unique needs.

Q: What kind of education do you need to become a Special Education Teacher?

A: To become a Special Education Teacher, you typically need at least a Bachelor's degree in Education or a related field, along with specialized training in working with students with disabilities.

Q: What kind of skills do you need to be a good Special Education Teacher?

A: To be a good Special Education Teacher, you need to be patient, compassionate, and skilled at working with students who have a wide range of needs and abilities. You also need to be organized, detail-oriented, and able to communicate effectively with parents and other educators.

Q: What is the work environment like for a Special Education Teacher?

A: Special Education Teachers typically work in public or private schools, where they may work with students one-on-one or in small groups. They may also work in community settings, such as hospitals or group homes, to provide education and support to students with disabilities.

Q: What are some of the challenges of working as a Special Education Teacher?

A: Special Education Teachers may face a range of challenges, including managing diverse student needs, working with students who have challenging behavior, and navigating complex legal and administrative requirements. However, many people find the work incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, as they are able to make a positive impact on the lives of their students.

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