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.

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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.
  • Design a unique and differentiate curriculum that addressed state standards for both mathematics and special education.
  • Educate special needs kids with mental and physical disabilities using proven conventional and improvise teaching/learning methods.
  • Plan appropriate lessons align to NYS CCSS.
  • Instruct and create ELA lessons through Fountas and Pinnell and Fundations.
  • Work with ESL students to assist them in acquiring English language skills
  • Start working part time as a para educator at the local school.
  • Maintain records of progress for each student and evaluate students for progress or regression.
  • Receive training from a reading specialist on different research based learning strategies for increasing ELA skills.
  • Work with Pre-K students who are not functioning at age-appropriate levels to be promote to kindergarten.
  • Execute daily operations of a self-contain middle school learning disable students, write designed and produce IEPS.
  • Write IEPS, lesson plans, academic goals in the general education and special education classroom setting.
  • Utilize adaptive technology and a variety of movement equipment need for the physical well being of students.
  • Provide small group or one on one support for students with ADHD or those with mild learning disabilities.

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 $54,290 per year, which translates to $26.1 an hour. Generally speaking, special education teachers earn anywhere from $39,000 to $73,000 a year, which means that the top-earning special education teachers make $26,000 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

12 Special Education Teacher Resume Examples

Special Education Teacher Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 11% of Special Education Teachers are proficient in Classroom Management, Autism, and Behavior Management. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Patience, and Resourcefulness.

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

  • Classroom Management, 11%

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

  • Autism, 10%

    Provided Special Education Resource services for students with mental impairments, specific learning disabilities, behavioral and emotional disorders and autism.

  • Behavior Management, 6%

    Structured and implemented positive behavior management/modification based programs.

  • IEPs, 6%

    Portrayed an in-depth knowledge of students' IEPS and Behavior Support Plans in daily instruction and interactions.

  • Professional Development, 6%

    Fulfilled professional responsibilities through education and professional development opportunities.

  • Student Learning, 6%

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

Most special education teachers list "classroom management," "autism," and "behavior management" 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 "facilitate home-school communication via as conferencing, telephoning, e-mail, and using web-based teacher classrooms to communicate student learning. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many special education teacher duties rely on patience. This example from a special education teacher explains why: "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." This resume example is just one of many ways special education teachers are able to utilize patience: "demonstrate patience and understanding while providing individualized instruction in a safe, inclusive classroom learning environment for students with significant disabilities. "
  • Resourcefulness 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 develop different ways to present information that meet their students’ needs" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "showed resourcefulness and teaching effectiveness in meeting the needs of students with limited english language proficiency as well as learning disabilities. "
  • 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 New Story, AlphaVista Services, and Chester Community Charter School. Now is a good time to apply as New Story has 322 special education teachers job openings, and there are 165 at AlphaVista Services and 83 at Chester Community Charter School.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, special education teachers tend to earn the biggest salaries at Baltimore City Public Schools, Boston Public Schools, and Maxim Healthcare Group. Take Baltimore City Public Schools for example. The median special education teacher salary is $79,153. At Boston Public Schools, special education teachers earn an average of $71,829, while the average at Maxim Healthcare Group is $71,668. 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 City of New York, Baltimore City Public Schools, and Montgomery County Community College.

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

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    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 $20,283 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, behavior management, and mathematics.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a special education teacher responsibilities require skills like "autism," "ieps," "professional development," and "student learning." Meanwhile a typical teacher associate has skills in areas such as "child care," "cpr," "child development," and "cleanliness." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Teacher associates receive the highest salaries in the health care industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $32,745. But special education teachers are paid more in the government industry with an average salary of $55,080.

    The education levels that teacher associates earn is a bit different than that of special education teachers. In particular, teacher associates are 18.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a special education teacher. Additionally, they're 0.5% 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 $7,440 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," "professional development," and "student learning. "

    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 "autism," "behavior management," "ieps," and "mathematics." But a 2nd grade teacher might use skills, such as, "parent-teacher conferences," "learning process," "iep," and "esl."

    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 $46,266. Additionally, special education teachers earn the highest paychecks in the government with an average salary of $55,080.

    In general, 2nd grade teachers study at lower levels of education than special education teachers. They're 6.3% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.5% 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 $6,301 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," "professional development," and "student learning," 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 "autism," "behavior management," "ieps," and "education programs," while a typical teacher is skilled in "esl," "handle scheduling," "kids," and "cpr."

    Additionally, teachers earn a higher salary in the education industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $49,700. Additionally, special education teachers earn an average salary of $55,080 in the government industry.

    Teachers are known to earn lower educational levels when compared to special education teachers. Additionally, they're 12.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.0% 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 $2,129 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," "professional development," and "student learning. "

    Each job requires different skills like "autism," "behavior management," "ieps," and "k-12," which might show up on a special education teacher resume. Whereas elementary school teacher might include skills like "curriculum development," "instructional strategies," "physical education," and "learning process."

    Elementary school teachers earn a higher salary in the government industry with an average of $56,048. Whereas, special education teachers earn the highest salary in the government industry.

    Elementary school teachers reach lower levels of education when compared to special education teachers. The difference is that they're 8.8% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 0.5% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Special Education Teacher Does FAQs

    Do Special Education Teachers Make More Money Than Regular Teachers?

    No, special education teachers do not make more money than regular teachers. On a national average, special education teachers make $57,600 per year.

    Regular teachers make approximately $60,300 annually. However, there are small margins for special education teachers to earn approximately $1,000 to $3,000 more per year depending on their district and state, though they could earn more based on school-level incentives.

    What Do You Teach As A Special Education Teacher?

    Special education teachers teach math, science, and writing. While these are the main areas of focus, other areas could include history and creative classes, such as music or art.

    The role of a special education teacher is also to help develop necessary skills within their class or work closely with certain individuals in their classes. Depending on the student's level of severity, special education teachers may also help with a special focus on viable communication and applicable life skills.

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