What is a Special Education Teacher?

A special education teacher is an educator who specifically works with exceptional students. These students are classified as exceptional according to their special educational needs that result from having specific disabilities. Additionally, special education teachers also work with students who are gifted and talented. Special education teachers must plan their lessons according to a student’s needs as outlined by a plan that is developed by a team of people who are involved with the student. They must also follow the guidelines that are mandated by federal, state and local governments for working with students with disabilities. Special education teachers can be found working in public and private schools as well as in hospitals and home education programs. If you are wondering what is a special education teacher, then read on to learn more about the education, experiences and types of salary that a special education teacher can expect.

Education and Experience Required

A special education teacher in most schools must have earned a bachelor’s degree in education before they are eligible for a teaching position. Additionally, most public schools require teachers to become licensed by the state in which they choose to teach. Because special education requires a deeper understanding of teaching techniques such as individualization and accommodation, many special education teachers also seek out advanced education in the areas in which they specialize. For instance, a special education teacher who works with autistic children may decide to take continuing education courses regarding methods for teaching children with autism. Most special education teachers participate in a student teaching program in order to become a certified special education teacher.

Average Salary

The salary that a special education teacher earns will vary according to the school system in which they teach as well as their level of education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a special education teacher in the public school system can expect a starting salary of approximately $53,000 a year. The salary tends to start lower for special education teachers at the preschool level and increases with each higher educational level. Additionally, many schools offer incentive programs that include stipends and bonuses in order to attract the top special education teachers to their programs.

Career Outlook

Many people interested in this profession will be interested to find out more about what is a special education teacher able to expect in their future career. Fortunately, special education teachers are increasingly being sought out by school systems as more students are being diagnosed with disabilities. Additionally, special education is an exciting field to explore right now as new technologies are being introduced to help students to overcome their disabilities in order to find success in the educational classroom. For example, students with limited motor skills are now being able to use voice activated software to be able to communicate electronically. Special education teachers that are trained in these new methods will be able to expect continued employment rates as well as salary increases throughout their upcoming careers.