Become A Special Education Teacher

Special Education Teacher

Not all students learn at the same rate or with the same ease. Many require special attention from an education professional who is well-versed in the struggles the students face in the classroom and beyond.

These educational professionals are called special education teachers. Their duty is to work with and educate students affected by a broad range of emotional, psychological, physical and learning disabilities. They help students adapt to lessons and often build specific lessons to instruct these students in the most conducive and efficient manner. They often cover a wide array of subjects, such as math, writing and reading and may also teach life skills and communication techniques to students with more acute disabilities. 

Becoming a special education teacher requires a particular education dependent upon whether you choose to work in a private or public school and what the requirements for hire are based on the prescriptions of an individual institution. You may choose to pursue a career as a special education teacher after attending online courses. Many prospective educators may choose online schooling for its convenience and to juggle an occupation or home responsibilities at the same time.

Are Online Special Education Teacher Programs for You?

Here is what you may consider when choosing an online special education teacher program:

  • Requirements for hire may vary for special education teachers in private institutions, but public school special education teachers in every state are required to have a license, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[i].
  • Requirements for licensure vary from state to state. However, a bachelor's degree is always a mandatory part of the certification process. 
  • All states also require prospective teachers to attain a certain level of work experience in a student-teacher program and attend supervised teaching programs.
  • Some states may require educators to pass a background check, score a particular grade point average and complete yearly continuing education courses to maintain a license.
  • Some states also require special education teachers to receive a master's degree in special education to become certified.
  • Teachers may also be required to attain particular certifications for teaching students with certain disabilities.
  • Before signing up for online courses, consider what licenses are required in the state where you intend to teach and inquire whether the covered material will help you pass exams and tests that may be required.

Special Education Teacher Career Paths and Potential Salaries

Special education is just one of many areas in the educational field. There are many other options you may choose to pursue after attending special education teaching courses online. Research which options may be available using statistics compiled by the BLS.

Special Education Teacher[i]

These professionals assess student skills and produce lesson plans that will benefit them the most. They may be charged with teaching an entire class or with a particular individual. Using their specially designed lesson plans, they judge the progress of students on a regular basis.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $55,060
  • Job growth through 2022: 6 percent (slower than average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers[ii]

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers are often the first educators students come in contact with. They are charged with teaching students the basics of a broad area of topics, including reading, writing, math and others.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $53,090
  • Job growth through 2022: 12 percent (average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Childcare Workers[iii]

Childcare workers ensure that children are safe and well taken care of while parents and other family members are away. They track a child's progress and make sure they receive an adequate amount of nap and play time.

  • 2012 median annual salary: $19,510
  • Job growth through 2022: 14 percent (average)
  • Entry-level education: High school diploma

[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-1

[ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm

[iii] bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/childcare-workers.htm#tab-2