What does a Special Education Teacher do?

Special education teachers facilitate effective lessons that cater to students living with physical, intellectual, emotional, and learning disabilities. They often work with a team to design activities that will help students achieve their specific learning goals.

Special education teachers often involve themselves in the academic, social and behavioral development of their students and assist in the development of the student's individualized educational program (IEP) which develops individual goals for students and is modified according to their abilities and needs. They work closely with a student’s family and specialists to keep the entire team updated on progress and to make recommendations that help promote learning and life skills at home. Special education teachers also help general educators when it is time to adapt to curriculum or learning materials and teaching techniques that meet the needs of any students in the classroom living with a disability. They coordinate the work of teachers, assistants, and related personnel including a therapist or social worker to meet the student’s needs within inclusive special education programs. Special education teachers need a bachelor’s degree and state-issued certification or licensing and training in special education subjects.

What responsibilities are common for Special Education Teacher jobs?
  • Create a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.
  • Work with individuals, small groups, or large groups as assigned teacher.
  • Serve as an example for students. support mission of school.
  • Provide appropriate guidance, leadership and direction to staff within the classroom.
  • Provide reinforcement techniques to keep students focused on task.
  • Set meetings for referral, review or re evaluation as needed.
  • Provide data and information to district office as requested.
  • Oversee or ensure personal care, medical care and feedings of students as stated in IEP.
  • Assist in the selection of books, equipment and other instructional materials.
  • Maintain punctuality in daily work times, appointments, and meetings.
  • Ensure students receive accommodations for state assessments and post-secondary entrance assessments.
  • Promote School District rules, policies, procedures, Mission Statement and Core Values.
  • Escort students to and from classroom for lunch and various activities.
  • Must be able to lift, carry and hold students and classroom equipment.
  • Conduct ongoing assessments of student learning and use results to plan and implement instruction.
What are the typical qualifications for Special Education Teacher jobs?
  • Demonstrated leadership skills alongside ability to collaborate with team members.
  • Critical thinker able to make decisions quickly and professionally.
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude and strives for continuous improvement.
  • Fluent in instruction using assistive tools and devices such as braille or sign language.
  • Comfortable with assisting students in basic life skills, including toileting.
  • Is confident and Demonstrated a strong work ethic.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.1 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.5 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

How much does a Special Education Teacher make?

$55,809 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Special Education Teacher Career Path

Learn how to become a Special Education Teacher, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Special Education Teacher
Senior Special Education Teacher
Special Education Teacher

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Special Education Teacher Insights

Read what Special Education Teacher professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
First Step Early Intervention Programme
Special Education Teacher
Jul 7, 2021

“It is a very good learning experience and helps one to develop on a personal level.”

Special Education Teacher
Feb 3, 2022

“There is a very limited ability to advance in career and job if your degree is in special ed.”

Middleton-Cross Plains Area School DistrictMiddleton-Cross Plains Area School District
Special Education Teacher
Apr 17, 2023

“Came from another state where pay was much lower so felt the pay was good.”

Seattle Public SchoolsSeattle Public Schools
Special Education Teacher
Jun 27, 2022

“The pay seems great at first until you realize how much it costs to live in seattle.”

SPED Teacher
Jan 17, 2021

“1st grade program offered many classes despite the building facility limitations I felt it was a decent school.”

The Stepping Stones GroupThe Stepping Stones Group
Special Education Teacher, Secondary School
May 26, 2023

“Good pay; work virtually; they found me an amazing position with little effort on my part.”

Mount Vernon City School District
Special Education Teacher
May 5, 2022

“high expectations and barely any resources”

Lakeshore Public SchoolsLakeshore Public Schools
Special Education Teacher
Mar 24, 2023

“Students are amazing and fun to work with.”

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Special Education Teacher Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a Special Education Teacher

When working as a Special Education Teacher, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are Teaching Experience, Braille, Interpersonal and Communication, Degree IN Education, and WORKING Relationships.

The most similar professions to Special Education Teacher are:
  • Kindergarten Teacher
  • Substitute Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Teacher

The most common qualifications to become a Special Education Teacher include a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 years of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.

Related Careers

Kindergarten Teacher
50% skills overlap
Substitute Teacher
38% skills overlap
Elementary School Teacher
25% skills overlap
38% skills overlap

Special Education Teacher Jobs