Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities.
Most special education teachers work in public schools, teaching students at the preschool, elementary, middle, and high school level. Others work in private schools, childcare services, and other institutions. Many work the traditional 10-month school year, but some work year round.
Special education teachers in public schools are required to have a bachelor's degree and a state-issued certification or license. Teachers in private schools typically need a bachelor's degree, but may not be required to have a state license or certification.
The median annual wage for special education teachers was $56,800 in May 2015.
Employment of special education teachers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by continued demand for special education services. Many job opportunities will stem from the need to replace teachers who leave the occupation.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for special education teachers.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of special education teachers with similar occupations.
Learn more about special education teachers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.