Where do you want to work?
Deal with People
Special education teachers in public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued certification or license. Private schools typically require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, but teachers are not required to be licensed or certified. For information about teacher preparation programs and certification requirements, visit Teach.org or contact your state’s board of education.Education
All states require special education teachers in public schools to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some earn a degree specifically in special education. Others major in elementary education or a content area, such as math or science, with a minor in special education.
In a program leading to a bachelor’s degree in special education, prospective teachers learn about the different types of disabilities and how to present information so that students will understand. These programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. To become fully certified, some states require special education teachers to complete a master’s degree in special education.
Teachers in private schools do not need to meet state requirements. However, private schools may prefer to hire teachers who have at least a bachelor’s degree in special education.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed. A license is frequently referred to as a certification. Those who teach in private schools are not required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.
Requirements for certification vary by state. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, states also require teachers to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching. Some states require a minimum grade point average. Teachers may be required to complete annual professional development classes or a master’s degree program to maintain their license.
Many states offer general licenses in special education that allow teachers to work with students with a variety of disabilities. Others offer licenses or endorsements based on a disability-specific category, such as autism or behavior disorders.
Some states allow special education teachers to transfer their licenses from another state. Other states require even an experienced teacher to pass their state’s licensing requirements.
All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelor’s degree. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately, under the close supervision of an experienced teacher. These alternative programs cover teaching methods and child development. Candidates are awarded full certification after they complete the program. Other programs require prospective teachers to take classes in education before they can start to teach. They may be awarded a master’s degree after completing either type of program.Training
Some special education teachers need to complete a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching, before they can work as a teacher. In some states, this program is a prerequisite for a license to teach in public schools. During student teaching, they gain experience in preparing lesson plans and teaching students in a classroom setting, under the supervision and guidance of a mentor teacher. The amount of time required for these programs varies by state, but may last from 1 to 2 years. Many universities offer student teaching programs as part of a degree in special education.Advancement
Experienced teachers can advance to become mentor or lead teachers who help less experienced teachers improve their teaching skills.
Teachers may become school counselors, instructional coordinators, assistant principals, or principals. These positions generally require additional education, an advanced degree, or certification. An advanced degree in education administration or leadership may be helpful.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Special education teachers discuss students’ needs and performances with general education teachers, parents, and administrators. They also explain difficult concepts in terms that students with learning disabilities can understand.
Critical-thinking skills. Special education teachers assess students’ progress and use that information to adapt lessons to help them learn.
Interpersonal skills. Special education teachers regularly work with general education teachers, school counselors, administrators, and parents to develop Individualized Education Programs. As a result, they need to be able to build positive working relationships.
Patience. Working with students with special needs and different abilities can be difficult. Special education teachers should be patient with each student, as some may need the instruction given aloud, at a slower pace, or in writing.
Resourcefulness. Special education teachers must develop different ways to present information in a manner that meets the needs of their students. They also help general education teachers adapt their lessons to the needs of students with disabilities.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Special ED Teacher
Top Careers After Special ED Teacher
Hispanic or Latino13.4%
Black or African American0.5%
Special ED Teacher
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
University of Phoenix19.8%
Grand Canyon University8.1%
Northern Arizona University4.7%
Utah State University4.1%
University of Houston4.1%
Southern Connecticut State University3.5%
New York University3.5%
Brigham Young University3.5%
Texas State University3.5%
National Louis University3.5%
California State University - Fullerton2.9%
Minnesota State University - Mankato2.9%
George Washington University2.9%
West Texas A&M University2.9%
Special ED Teacher
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Teacher, Special ED||District of Columbia Public Schools||Washington, DC||Oct 02, 2012||$92,613|
|Teacher, Special ED||District of Columbia Public Schools||Washington, DC||Jul 20, 2012||$89,887|
|Special ED Teacher/Early Intervention||Functional Life Achievement, Inc.||NY||Feb 26, 2016||$81,460|
|Teacher, Special ED||District of Columbia Public Schools||Washington, DC||Oct 27, 2012||$78,273|
|Special ED Teachers, Preschool, Kindergarten, & Elementary School||Cupertino Union School District||Cupertino, CA||Oct 26, 2007||$75,464|
|Special ED Teacher/Early Intervention||Functional Life Achievement, Inc.||New York, NY||Jun 28, 2014||$70,683|
|Special ED Teacher/Early Intervention||Functional Life Achievement, Inc.||New York, NY||Aug 04, 2015||$70,683|
|Teacher On Special Assignment-Director of ED OPS||Lake Wales Charter Schools, Inc.||Lake Wales, FL||Jul 28, 2011||$69,420 -
|Special ED Teacher||Orange Board of Education||East Orange, NJ||Nov 14, 2007||$69,030|
|Special ED Teacher||Orange Board of Education||East Orange, NJ||Oct 25, 2007||$69,030|
|Teacher, Special ED||District of Columbia Public Schools||Washington, DC||Oct 01, 2012||$68,537|
|Special ED. Teacher, Severely Handicapped-Autism||West Contra Costa Unified School District||Hercules, CA||Oct 07, 2014||$63,482|
|Special ED. Teacher, Severely Handicapped-Autism||West Contra Costa Unified School District||Hercules, CA||Oct 07, 2014||$59,801|
|Early Childhood Special ED Teacher||Educare D.C.||Washington, DC||Jul 30, 2012||$56,000|
|Middle School Special ED Teacher||Richland County School District One||Columbia, SC||Aug 08, 2014||$55,664|
|Special ED. Teacher/Early Intervention||Functional Life Achievement, Inc.||New York, NY||Nov 01, 2016||$55,000|
|Special ED Teacher||Bellevue School District||Bellevue, WA||Sep 26, 2010||$53,642|
|Elementary School-Special ED Teacher||Clayton County School System||Jonesboro, GA||Aug 08, 2008||$51,920|
|Special ED. Teachers, Elem. Schools||Memphis City Schools||Memphis, TN||Oct 01, 2009||$50,285|
|Teacher for Special ED Students||Twin Rivers Unified School District||Rio Linda, CA||Sep 01, 2009||$49,934|
|Special ED Teacher||Los Angeles Unified School District||Los Angeles, CA||Oct 25, 2007||$45,637|
|Special ED Teacher||Los Angeles Unified School District||Los Angeles, CA||Jul 22, 2010||$45,637|
|Elementary & Middle School Special ED Teacher||Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.||Washington, DC||Aug 19, 2009||$45,000 -
|Elementary & Middle School Special ED Teacher||Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.||Washington, DC||Aug 31, 2009||$45,000 -
|Elementary & Middle School Special ED Teacher||Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.||Washington, DC||Jul 12, 2009||$45,000 -
|Special ED. Teacher To Spanish-Speaking Students||Provo School District||Provo, UT||Feb 01, 2010||$43,820|
|Special ED (Math) Teacher||Prince George's County Public Schools||Lanham, MD||Jun 02, 2009||$43,481 -
|Special ED Teachers||Lafourche Parish School Board||Thibodaux, LA||Oct 16, 2014||$43,020|
To get more results, try adjusting your search by changing your filters.
A Day in the Life - Special Education Teacher
Early Childhood Special Education Teacher - Career Conversation
A day in the life of a Special Education teacher