Do you want to make a difference and have an impact every single day?

Helping children to learn and grow can do just that!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Special education teachers support students with varying disabilities and special needs. This can range from learning to mental, emotional, or physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects and basic skills to students with mild to severe disabilities."

A teacher speaking to a student with learning difficulties saying,

This is where special education teachersfit best. They help children with different needs learn and grow through playing, teaching, and being creative.

What Does A Special Education Teacher Do?

A special education teacher helps children with special needs learn. Special needs can include conditions like autism, Downs syndrome, dyslexia, or ADHD, among others. They teach students with different skills and needs daily, from pre-kindergarten to high school.

As St. Regis College explains, "A special education teacher is also responsible for educating students with learning differences and disabilities. This can involve parent-teacher conferences, lesson planning, and creating individual education programs for each student. They primarily work in the education industry, working in public, private, or charter schools."

Teacher speaking to a classroom of children.

What Does A Typical Day Look Like?

A special education teacher has different roles and wears different hats daily! This can include:

  • Collaborating with other classroom teachers

  • Setting learning goals for students with disabilities and special needs

  • Updating parents on their child's progress

  • Training teaching assistants

  • Supporting and educating children's skills every day

  • Planning lessons for individuals or groups of students with varying needs

Jacob in Abbott Elementary saying,


What would a special education teacher NOT need to do in their role?

What Kind of Experience Do You Need?

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The requirements can vary depending on states, jobs, and countries. However, you'll need to obtain the following qualifications:

  • Earn a bachelor's or master's degree in special education

  • Complete a student teaching internship in a special education classroom

  • Take your state's, country's, or region's required tests for special education teachers

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In your educational programs, you'll learn about topics like:

  • Child development

  • Educational psychology

  • Special education policies

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There are different resources where you can check the requirements, depending on your job and the region you are striving for. Below are resources that address general educational and work requirements in the US:

Requirements can also be listed in specific job listings, where contacting the facility would provide accurate information on requirements.

Where Would a Special Education Teacher Work?

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Special education teachers mainly work in schools from prekindergarten to high school.They can also work in child-care centers.

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However, a small number of special education teachers work with students in:

  • Residential facilities

  • Hospitals

  • Student's homes (which can expand to working with infants and toddlers)

How Much Can You Expect To Earn?

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The annual salary for a special education teacher in the United States ranges from $48,000 to $61,000 (USD). However, this can vary depending on location, job, and state.

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The annual salary for a special education teacher in Canada ranges from $55,000 to $70,000 (CAD).

You Will Love This If You...

  • Enjoy working in groups, collaborating, and one-on-one

  • Are an active and creative problem solver. Remember, every student has different needs and skills to teach!

  • Enjoy helping children and students with disabilities and special needs

David Schwimmer as Ross Geller saying,

Look For Another Path If You...

  • Only prefer working on your own

  • Don't enjoy communicating with multiple groups, including other teachers, students, and families

  • Don't want to teach multiple students or think on your feet creatively every day

Mark Cuban in Shark Tank saying,

Take Action

Becoming a special education teacher may be the right career for you!

Feeling excited? If you do...


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