Secondary Education

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among special education teachers, “The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,760, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $93,090.” The BLS also reports that the median annual wage for special education teachers was $57,910 in May 2016 and breaks down as follows:

  • Special Education, Preschool mean salary is $52,460
  • Special Education Teacher, Elementary mean salary is $57,040

Special education teachers help young students who face various learning disabilities transition into regular classes or assist them to improve functionality. Teachers of this age often help with hygiene or mobility as well.

  • Special Education Teacher, Middle School mean salary is $58,560
  • Special Education Teacher, Secondary mean salary is$59,700

**It is important to note that these numbers do not differentiate between those with a bachelor’s degree and those with master’s degree.  It is common hiring practice for administrators only to hire those who have a graduate-level degree.  Additionally, some states require a master’s degree as well.  Be sure to check with your state as well as the local school district in which you wish to seek employment.

Special education teachers in middle and high school help children with mild or moderate disabilities, and the training the receive makes a difference.  Whether the degree focuses on a K-12 setting, like Stephen F. Austin State University, the 15th ranked degree in our Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Special Education, or specializes in Autism like the  University of Georgia, #11 on our 25 Best Bachelor’s in Special Education, preparation is vital to success.

Skills to assess and adapt a general curriculum to each individual are not optional.  Special Education teachers help ensure the safety of the class and assist students to acquire vital basic skills they will need in the future.

Location and tenure play a prominent role in determining the salary scale.  According to Payscale, the majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job.

Among survey respondents, women are more common than men; 90 percent of Elementary School, Kindergarten, and Preschool Special Education Teachers are female.  Also significant is that some preschool teachers do not have benefits. However, about 8o percent do have good coverage including dental.

For Secondary School Special Education Teachers, progressing to a Director of Special Education role may result in a significant raise. Directors of Special Education “are responsible for ensuring the academic and social success of students in special education programs.

Those in this position have to make sure that their services are meeting all needs of enrolled students and provide necessary support through staff, counseling, training, and additional education to see these successes.”

The salary range for a Director of Special Education is $48,247 to $106,396.  The average salary is $72,466.

A Middle School Special Education Teacher position is the most common promotion for Secondary School Special Education Teachers moving up the ladder. Another transition for Secondary School Special Education Teachers is an Assistant Principal position.  The salary range is $49,466 to $97,584 where the mean earnings are $69,995.

Speech and language pathologists, also known as speech therapists is a specialization that can be a move up career wise.  Speech therapists assess, diagnose and treat students with speech and communication disorders.

If you are interested in this field, however, you must earn a master’s degree in speech and language pathology.  It may be worth considering that the salary range, according to the BLS is $47,070 to $116,810.  The mean salary is $74,000.


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