According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of special education teachers is projected to grow six percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations, with preschool special education at nine percent.
Though job growth is average, the demand for special education teachers is high because many burn out with the intensity resulting in the constant need for schools to hire. The mean salary for special education teachers in 2016 was $57,910 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the top five states offering the highest salaries in special education are:
- Virginia – $81,480
- New York – $73,710
- Maryland – $72,120
- Delaware – $70,360
- Oregon – $70,040
Wherever you choose to work, it is important to note that some schools and organizations will require you to hold a Master’s degree in Special Education before being hired; though many states do hire with only a Bachelor’s. Please check with the state or organization you are interested in regarding their hiring and licensing requirements. (Click here for a helpful resource to do that.)
Also, before beginning any educational program, we suggest you check into the particular program and whether it leads to a graduate degree or not.
The reason we exist at all is to assist you in finding the program that works for you. Our rankings in special education can help you find an on-campus degree in the 25 Best Bachelor’s in Special Education, an online Bachelor’s in Special Education, or for those who financial considerations are the primary concern, we ranked the 10 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Special Education.
Once you have a degree in special education in hand, there are numerous job possibilities in schools, districts, private learning centers, mental health facilities, correctional facilities, hospitals, residential therapeutic camps, sheltered workshops, non-profits, and more.
The most common job is to become K-12 Special Education teacher, which is a rewarding prospect. But that is not the only track to follow with a Special Education degree. Graduates go on to be case workers, social workers, nurse case managers, and resource teachers.
Also, it is not uncommon for Special Education teachers to go on to pursue careers in various aspects of school administration. Research suggests that the best administrators have had experience in this field.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
Employment of child, family, and school social workers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Child and family social workers will be needed to work with families to strengthen parenting skills, prevent child abuse, and identify alternative homes for children who are unable to live with their biological families.
In schools, more social workers will be needed due to rising student enrollments.” There is no doubt that this is a growing field, one that is in need of highly trained professionals.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEP), “a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities through advocacy, standards, and professional development,” lists the following job possibilities with a BS in Special Education based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Special Education Teacher Early/Pre-K to 12
- ESE Teacher for high-incidence disabilities: Resource and/or Inclusion
- ESE Teacher for low-incidence disabilities: Sensory, Developmental, and/or Multiple/Severe Disabilities
- Teacher/Specialist: Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
- Teacher/Specialist: Autism Spectrum Disorders
- SE Support Services: Speech-Language Pathologist
- SE Support Services: Occupational Therapist
- SE Support Services: Physical Therapist
- SE Support Services: School Counselor
- Assistive Technology Practitioner/Specialist
- Teacher Assistant
- Director/Administrator for Exceptional Student Programs
- College and University Faculty in Special Education
- Autism Center Manager/Teacher
- Peace Corps/VISTA volunteer
- Pediatric Hospital Educator