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Working As an Exceptional Children's Teacher

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $42,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Exceptional Children's Teacher Do

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading. 

Duties

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans to teach students subjects, such as reading, science, social studies, and math
  • Teach students how to study and communicate with others
  • Observe students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach lessons they have planned to an entire class of students or to smaller groups
  • Grade students’ assignments to monitor their progress
  • Communicate with parents about their child’s progress
  • Work with students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules to teach children proper behavior
  • Supervise children outside of the classroom—for example, during lunchtime or recess

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers help students learn and apply important concepts. Many teachers use a hands-on approach to help students understand abstract concepts, solve problems, and develop critical thinking skills. For example, they may demonstrate how to do a science experiment and then have the students conduct the experiment themselves. They may have students work together to learn how to collaborate to solve problems.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers generally teach kindergarten through fourth or fifth grade. However, in some schools, elementary school teachers may teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. They typically teach students several subjects throughout the day.

Some teachers may teach in a multilevel classroom that includes students across two or more grades. They may teach the same group of students for several years.

Kindergarten and elementary school students spend most of their day in one classroom. Teachers may escort students to assemblies; to classes taught by other teachers, such as art or music; or to recess. While students are away from the classroom, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, or meet with other teachers and staff.

In some schools, teachers may work in subject specialization teams in which they teach one or two specific subjects, either English and social studies or math and science. Generally, students spend half their time with one teacher and half their time with the other.

Some kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach special classes, such as art, music, and physical education.

Some schools employ teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Both of these types of teachers work exclusively with students who are learning the English language, often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). The teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and to help them with assignments from other classes.

Students with learning disabilities or emotional or behavioral disorders are often taught in traditional classes. Kindergarten and elementary teachers work with special education teachers to adapt lesson plans to these students’ needs and monitor the students’ progress. In some cases, kindergarten and elementary school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students in higher grades, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information or to expand on a lesson taught in class.

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How To Become An Exceptional Children's Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Education

All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Some states also require kindergarten and elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. They typically enroll in their college’s teacher preparation program and also take classes in education and child psychology in addition to those required by their major.

In teacher education programs, future teachers learn how to present information to young students and how to work with young students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit teach.org.

Some states require all teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification.

Private schools typically seek kindergarten and elementary school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Those who teach in private schools are generally not required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers are typically certified to teach early childhood grades, which are usually preschool through third grade, or elementary school grades, which are usually first through sixth grades or first through eighth grades.

Requirements for certification vary by state. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, they are required to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, typically gained through student teaching. Some states require a minimum grade point average. States often require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach. Although kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do not teach only a single subject, they may be required to pass a content area test to earn their certification. For information on certification requirements in your state, visit teach.org.

Teachers are frequently required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.

All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately after graduation, under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing one of these programs.

Training

In order to receive certification, teachers need to undergo a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of time required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with teacher assistants and special education teachers. In addition, they need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Creativity. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must plan lessons that engage young students, adapting the lessons to different learning styles.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must respond with patience when students struggle with material.

Physical stamina. Working with kindergarten and elementary-aged students can be tiring. Teachers need to be able to physically, mentally, and emotionally keep up with the students.

Resourcefulness. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers need to be able to explain difficult concepts in terms that young students can understand. In addition, they must be able to get students engaged in learning and adapt their lessons to meet students’ needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to serve as mentors to newer teachers or to become lead teachers. In these roles, they help less experienced teachers to improve their teaching skills.

With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals, both of which generally require additional schooling in education administration or leadership.

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Exceptional Children's Teacher Career Paths

Exceptional Children's Teacher
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Student Teacher Lead Teacher
Lead Pre-K Teacher
5 Yearsyrs
Student Teacher Team Leader Training Manager
Director Of Training
7 Yearsyrs
Student Teacher Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Consultant Principal
High School Principal
9 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Team Leader Chairperson
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Resource Teacher Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Resource Teacher Principal
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Resource Teacher Principal Assistant Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Programming Specialist Program Coordinator Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Programming Specialist Education Consultant Assistant Superintendent
Director Of Instruction
7 Yearsyrs
Programming Specialist Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Vice Principal
8 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Kindergarten Teacher Early Childhood Special Educator
Early Childhood Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Behavioral Specialist School Psychologist Special Education Supervisor
Director Of Special Education
11 Yearsyrs
Language Arts Teacher Curriculum Coordinator Elementary School Principal
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Academic Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Teacher 3.9 years
Resource Teacher 2.9 years
Inclusion Teacher 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Exceptional Children's Teacher
Teacher 22.1%
Internship 4.9%
Volunteer 3.4%
Tutor 3.3%
Instructor 2.8%
Educator 2.8%
Coach 2.3%
Counselor 2.1%
Top Careers After Exceptional Children's Teacher
Teacher 22.8%
Tutor 3.7%
Educator 3.7%
Internship 3.6%
Volunteer 2.8%
Instructor 2.5%
Principal 2.4%

Do you work as an Exceptional Children's Teacher?

Average Yearly Salary
$42,000
Show Salaries
$35,000
Min 10%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Henry County Schools
Highest Paying City
Riverside, CA
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
4.4 years
How much does an Exceptional Children's Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Exceptional Children's Teacher in the United States is $42,731 per year or $21 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $35,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $51,000.

Real Exceptional Children's Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Teacher, Exceptional Student Education The School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida Miami, FL Aug 18, 2010 $60,300
Exceptional Children Teacher Vance County Public School Henderson, NC Jan 12, 2016 $59,736
Exceptional Children Teacher Vance County Public Schools Henderson, NC Jul 12, 2016 $52,280
Exceptional Children's Teacher Central Park School for Children Durham, NC Jan 07, 2016 $49,720
Exceptional Children's Elementary Teacher Central Park School for Children Durham, NC Nov 04, 2016 $48,048
Exceptional Children Coordinator and Teacher The Hawbridge School Saxapahaw, NC Jan 01, 2014 $48,000
Exceptional Children's Elementary Teacher Central Park School for Children Durham, NC Jul 01, 2013 $47,471
Exceptional Children Teacher Vance County Public Schools Henderson, NC Dec 09, 2014 $46,670
Exceptional Children Teacher Vance County Public Schools Henderson, NC Aug 05, 2015 $46,670
Exceptional Children Teacher Craven County Board of Education Havelock, NC Nov 21, 2012 $45,370
Exceptional Children Teacher Craven County Board of Education Havelock, NC Jun 14, 2010 $45,370
Exceptional Children Teacher Craven County Board of Education Havelock, NC Jun 17, 2010 $45,370
Exceptional Children's Teacher (High School) Halifax County Schools Littleton, NC Jan 26, 2015 $44,000
Exceptional (Special Education) Teacher Wilson County Schools Wilson, NC Dec 13, 2016 $43,950
Exceptional Children Teacher Vance County Public Schools Henderson, NC Jan 25, 2012 $43,640
Teacher, Exceptional Child Seminole County Public Schools Altamonte Springs, FL Jan 06, 2011 $41,602
Elementary School Exceptional Children Teacher Halifax County Schools Littleton, NC Apr 10, 2013 $40,660
Elementary School Exceptional Children Teacher Halifax County Schools Littleton, NC Apr 02, 2013 $40,180
Exceptional Children's Teacher for Hearing Impaire Wilkes County Schools North Wilkesboro, NC Oct 01, 2012 $39,670
Exceptional Children's Teacher for Hearing Impaire Wilkes County Schools Wilkesboro, NC Sep 10, 2013 $39,670
Exceptional Children's Teacher The Carter G. Woodson School of Challenge Winston-Salem, NC Jun 29, 2014 $39,380
Exceptional Children's Teacher Carteret County Public Schools Morehead City, NC Jun 01, 2012 $38,920
Exceptional Children Resource Teacher Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Charlotte, NC Aug 18, 2011 $36,400 -
$50,000

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Top Skills for An Exceptional Children's Teacher

  1. Lesson Plans
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Special Needs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Work independently to create and execute lesson plans and differentiated instruction.
  • Implemented lesson plans in the classroom setting and demonstrated classroom management skills and organizational abilities.
  • Facilitated classroom instruction and promoted environment conducive to students with special needs.
  • Assisted teachers and staff at Little Eagles Learning Center with curriculum development and teaching best practices.
  • Incorporated technology into student learning, collaboration, assessment and department planning.

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Top 10 Best States for Exceptional Children's Teachers

  1. Connecticut
  2. Alaska
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New York
  5. New Jersey
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Michigan
  8. Texas
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. District of Columbia
  • (213 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (344 jobs)
  • (448 jobs)
  • (472 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (401 jobs)
  • (1,448 jobs)
  • (260 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)

Exceptional Children's Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

67.4%

Male

18.4%

Unknown

14.3%
Ethnicity

White

62.2%

Black or African American

16.0%

Hispanic or Latino

12.3%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.0%

Chinese

6.7%

German

6.7%

Dari

6.7%

Braille

3.3%

French

3.3%

Yapese

3.3%
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Exceptional Children's Teacher Education

Schools

Nova Southeastern University

9.7%

East Carolina University

9.5%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

7.6%

University of Phoenix

6.9%

Appalachian State University

6.4%

Grand Canyon University

6.4%

University of South Florida

6.2%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

5.9%

Fayetteville State University

5.5%

University of Central Florida

4.8%

Florida State University

4.0%

Walden University

3.6%

Western Carolina University

3.3%

University of North Florida

3.1%

University of Florida

3.1%

Florida Atlantic University

2.9%

University of West Florida

2.9%

Liberty University

2.9%

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

2.9%

Capella University

2.6%
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Majors

Special Education

26.8%

Education

13.1%

Elementary Education

9.6%

Educational Leadership

9.4%

Psychology

8.0%

School Counseling

6.3%

Business

3.6%

Social Work

3.0%

Curriculum And Instruction

2.7%

Mental Health Counseling

2.5%

Sociology

2.1%

Counseling Psychology

2.0%

Health Education

1.8%

Early Childhood Education

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.4%

English

1.3%

Nursing

1.2%

Management

1.1%

Liberal Arts

1.1%
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Degrees

Masters

46.7%

Bachelors

27.8%

Other

12.4%

Certificate

4.8%

Doctorate

4.8%

Associate

2.2%

License

0.7%

Diploma

0.5%
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Updated May 19, 2020