Researching the average special education teacher salary is one way to find out more about a potential first teaching job. While students should study a topic that they feel passionate about, smart students also look at the need for professionals working in their field. What good is spending thousands of dollars on your college education if you can’t find a job in your field of study? Evaluating the job duties, the future job outlook and the potential salary can help you decide if you want to study special education and become one of the great teachers in our schools.

Average Salary for a Special Education Teacher

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median special education teacher salary is $55,060 a year. Though that figure might seem high in comparison to the salary reported by other types of teachers, it is important to remember that this is only the median figure. There are a large number of teachers making more or less than that figure. You might start out making $30,000 or less a year until you get more experience. Teachers working for private schools and facilities often make more than those working for public schools.

Job Outlook for Teachers

The BLS estimates that the need for special education teachers will only grow by six percent between 2012 and 2022. This is a slower than average rate of growth, and you might find that other teaching professions will grow at a faster rate in the coming years. Though this figure is low, it does indicate that the special education field will add more than 26,000 jobs.

Job Duties of a Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work in private and public schools, hospitals and other types of child care facilities. They perform many of the same duties as teachers working in one subject or grade-level classroom, however special education teachers often work with students of different ages, and in some settings, they might work with 10 or more students who all have different levels of education and learning disabilities. They may work with students to better understand subject areas where they are struggling, but they also teach students basic skills that they will need later in life, including how to add and subtract and communicate with others. Some schools give teachers the summer off, but special education schools often run all year long.

How to Get a Teaching Job

Working in the special education field is impossible without a college degree. You will need to complete at least one internship that will give you experience working with disabled and handicapped children. You will need to obtain a teachers license, as every state in the country requires that teachers have a state-issued license. You’ll need to pass a criminal background and fingerprint check. You may also be asked to commit to additional education or training before leading your own classroom.

Working as a special education teacher lets you earn up to $50,000 or more every year, but the amount that you earn varies based on your level of experience and education. In addition to looking at the median special education teacher salary, you also want to think about the job duties and future job outlook before deciding on this career path.