A special education teacher is responsible for teaching students with disabilities. Special education teachers are trained professionals to provide distinct learning instructions for children with special cases for them to achieve their potentials and improve their self-confidence. A special education teacher must have excellent communication and organizational skills to assist the students with their learning areas. Special education teachers should be able to come up with engaging activities to support the students' behavioral and intellectual development.

Special Education Teacher Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real special education teacher resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Lead a DIBELS intervention group.
  • Lead the data team with interpreting results, including NWEA and other benchmark assessments.
  • Lead engaging literacy focus lessons whole group to help improve students' investment in reading.
  • Design a unique and differentiate curriculum that addressed state standards for both mathematics and special education.
  • Instruct and create ELA lessons through Fountas and Pinnell and Fundations.
  • Facilitate Saturday tutoring classes for 8th grade math and ELA exams.
  • Work with Pre-K students who are not functioning at age-appropriate levels to be promote to kindergarten.
  • Collaborate with 6th grade teachers to co-teach and best support them and their students within the inclusive setting.
  • Participate in a collaborative team teaching with general education teachers, paraprofessional, SLP, OT, and school psychology.
  • Develop and implement individualized education programs for students with autism, ADHD, physical, hearing, language and learning disabilities.
Special Education Teacher Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Interpersonal skills involves being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.
Having patience exemplifies that the individual is able to remain calm during challenging times.

Special Education Teacher Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, special education teacher jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "slower than average" at 3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a special education teacher?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of special education teacher opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 13,600.

On average, the special education teacher annual salary is $47,526 per year, which translates to $22.85 an hour. Generally speaking, special education teachers earn anywhere from $35,000 to $63,000 a year, which means that the top-earning special education teachers make $28,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become a special education teacher, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a teacher associate, 2nd grade teacher, teacher, and elementary school teacher.

Special Education Teacher Jobs You Might Like

Special Education Teacher Resume Examples

Special Education Teacher Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 17% of Special Education Teachers are proficient in Classroom Management, Student Learning, and Special Education. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Interpersonal skills, and Patience.

We break down the percentage of Special Education Teachers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Classroom Management, 17%

    Completed a variety of professional development workshops centered on learning goals, classroom management, student motivation and engaging learning activities.

  • Student Learning, 17%

    Designed and implemented individualized and group instruction within the general education classroom to support inclusion for maximizing all student learning.

  • Special Education, 16%

    Collaborate with other special education teachers and regular education teachers to provide appropriate lessons and modifications for students in all classes.

  • Ieps, 5%

    Worked collaboratively with regular education teachers making modifications and accommodations according to student's IEP's.

  • Professional Development, 5%

    Fulfilled professional responsibilities through education and professional development opportunities.

  • Mathematics, 4%

    Created mathematics curriculum that aligned with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks then modified the curriculum to align with the Common Core Standards.

Most special education teachers list "classroom management," "student learning," and "special education" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important special education teacher responsibilities here:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a special education teacher to have happens to be communication skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "special education teachers need to explain concepts in terms that students with learning disabilities can understand" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that special education teachers can use communication skills to "developed a parent communication sheet for struggling students in rti study hall. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many special education teacher duties rely on interpersonal skills. This example from a special education teacher explains why: "special education teachers work regularly with a team of educators and the student’s parents to develop ieps." This resume example is just one of many ways special education teachers are able to utilize interpersonal skills: "demonstrated superior interpersonal communication skills with parents and staff members"
  • Patience is also an important skill for special education teachers to have. This example of how special education teachers use this skill comes from a special education teacher resume, "special education teachers must be able to stay calm instructing students with disabilities, who may lack basic skills, present behavioral or other challenges, or require repeated efforts to understand material." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "experienced with handling complex and intensive behavior and educational needs, with patience and determination. "
  • See the full list of special education teacher skills.

    Before becoming a special education teacher, 65.5% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 27.2% special education teachers went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be impossible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most special education teachers have a college degree. But about one out of every nine special education teachers didn't attend college at all.

    Those special education teachers who do attend college, typically earn either a special education degree or a education degree. Less commonly earned degrees for special education teachers include a elementary education degree or a psychology degree.

    When you're ready to become a special education teacher, you might wonder which companies hire special education teachers. According to our research through special education teacher resumes, special education teachers are mostly hired by The Stepping Stones Group, Catapult Learning, and K12. Now is a good time to apply as The Stepping Stones Group has 77 special education teachers job openings, and there are 39 at Catapult Learning and 36 at K12.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, special education teachers tend to earn the biggest salaries at St. John's Community Services, The Stepping Stones Group, and Melmark. Take St. John's Community Services for example. The median special education teacher salary is $84,095. At The Stepping Stones Group, special education teachers earn an average of $83,516, while the average at Melmark is $82,533. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on special education teacher salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire special education teachers from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include Potomac High School, Fairfax County Public Schools, and Blacksburg High School.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious special education teachers are:

      What Teacher Associates Do

      A teacher associate is responsible for assisting the teacher in classroom operations and providing teaching support for the students. Teacher associates develop learning materials according to the instructions of the headteachers, helping them to track students' progress and observing class behaviors. They also take class responsibility if the teacher is away, ensuring to keep activity records and attendance for reference. A teacher associate must have excellent communication and organizational skills, especially in handling students' difficulties and working with the teacher to develop techniques to address those challenges.

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take teacher associate for example. On average, the teacher associates annual salary is $20,919 lower than what special education teachers make on average every year.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both special education teachers and teacher associates positions are skilled in classroom management, student learning, and special education.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a special education teacher responsibilities require skills like "k-12," "public schools," "education programs," and "intellectual disabilities." Meanwhile a typical teacher associate has skills in areas such as "child care," "cpr," "recreational activities," and "staff meetings." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Teacher associates receive the highest salaries in the education industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $34,280. But special education teachers are paid more in the health care industry with an average salary of $51,751.

      The education levels that teacher associates earn is a bit different than that of special education teachers. In particular, teacher associates are 36.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a special education teacher. Additionally, they're 0.9% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a 2nd Grade Teacher?

      A 2nd-grade teacher specializes in educating young children, providing them with a safe and efficient classroom environment. One of their primary responsibilities is to devise strategies to improve the students' academic knowledge and interpersonal skills, craft effective lesson plans, and enhance their reading and writing skills. Moreover, a teacher must assess the students' progress by conducting tests and quizzes, encouraging them to learn through various activities, monitoring the children's behavior, and reporting to their parents should there be any concerns.

      Next up, we have the 2nd grade teacher profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a special education teacher annual salary. In fact, 2nd grade teachers salary difference is $7,105 lower than the salary of special education teachers per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both special education teachers and 2nd grade teachers are known to have skills such as "classroom management," "student learning," and "special education. "

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that special education teacher responsibilities requires skills like "mathematics," "k-12," "education programs," and "intellectual disabilities." But a 2nd grade teacher might use skills, such as, "staff meetings," "regular basis," "literacy," and "parent-teacher conferences."

      It's been discovered that 2nd grade teachers earn lower salaries compared to special education teachers, but we wanted to find out where 2nd grade teachers earned the most pay. The answer? The education industry. The average salary in the industry is $44,129. Additionally, special education teachers earn the highest paychecks in the health care with an average salary of $51,751.

      In general, 2nd grade teachers study at lower levels of education than special education teachers. They're 9.4% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.9% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Special Education Teachers in the next 3-5 years?

      Patricia Rogan Ph.D.

      Professor, Special Education/Urban Teacher Education, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

      Educators will continue to advance learning in online or virtual contexts and will use a wider variety of e-learning tools and resources to bring the curriculum to life. Schools will ensure that students have access to computers and the internet, and students will be more tech-savvy as a result of increased online learning. Specific technology that enhances and enriches students' individualized experiences with content and instruction will be key. For example, future teachers may want to become familiarized with technology (including assistive technology) that facilitates learning for students with learning disabilities, students who are emergent bilinguals, and students who may need to access applications or software that engages visual, auditory, tactile, and/or kinesthetic learning in a multitude of ways.Show more

      How a Teacher Compares

      Being a teacher is one of the most passionate professions, among others. Teachers educate, motivate, and guide every generation of learners to prepare them for the real world. Every teacher is unique and has their own teaching styles and methods depending on the subject they teach and the age of their students. Oftentimes they also function as a parent, counselor, coach, friend, and even a lawmaker. There is essentially no limit to the roles a teacher portrays.

      The teacher profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of special education teachers. The difference in salaries is teachers making $5,027 lower than special education teachers.

      While looking through the resumes of several special education teachers and teachers we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "classroom management," "student learning," and "special education," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a special education teacher is likely to be skilled in "education programs," "intellectual disabilities," "data collection," and "aba," while a typical teacher is skilled in "esl," "literacy," "geography," and "literature."

      Additionally, teachers earn a higher salary in the education industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $47,836. Additionally, special education teachers earn an average salary of $51,751 in the health care industry.

      Teachers are known to earn lower educational levels when compared to special education teachers. Additionally, they're 24.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of an Elementary School Teacher

      Elementary school teachers are trained to provide education to children from kindergarten through fifth grade. The teachers are responsible for children's emotional and educational growth in the classroom. They manage the resources and materials to be used for their education. It is part of their duties to evaluate the students' performance, social development, physical health, and behavior. Also, they adapt to teaching methods and instructions to meet the interests and needs of the children.

      Now, we'll look at elementary school teachers, who generally average a lower pay when compared to special education teachers annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $3,992 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, special education teachers and elementary school teachers both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "classroom management," "student learning," and "special education. "

      Each job requires different skills like "k-12," "education programs," "intellectual disabilities," and "data collection," which might show up on a special education teacher resume. Whereas elementary school teacher might include skills like "regular basis," "literacy," "staff meetings," and "internet."

      Elementary school teachers earn a higher salary in the government industry with an average of $50,535. Whereas, special education teachers earn the highest salary in the health care industry.

      Elementary school teachers reach lower levels of education when compared to special education teachers. The difference is that they're 15.0% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 0.6% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.