Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for special education teachers in the United States was in 2019 was $61,030. The lowest 10% earned less than $40,730 and the highest 10% earned more than $98,530 per year.
Secondary school special education teachers received the highest median annual salary ($61,710), followed by middle school ($61,440), kindergarten and elementary school ($60,460) and preschool ($60,000). Also, special education teachers at local schools received a higher salary ($61,620) than those at private schools ($53,560).
Autonomy and flexibility
The level of autonomy and flexibility depends on the teacher. If they work to assist a teacher, they may feel less control and flexibility over how they plan their lessons and work with children. Whereas, if they are responsible for their own cohort of children (or provide one-to-one care), they will have far more control over what information they present, how to present it, what pace to take the learning at and many other decision surrounding the child’s eduction.
Locations and commute
Job opportunities are not affected by local budgets, as federal law expresses that all states must put the same amount of money into special education. According to Zippia, the best states to be a special education teacher, based on average annual salary and number of job available, are:
- New Hampshire, where the average annual salary is $60,452
- California, where the average annual salary is $61,022
- Maine, where the average annual salary is $59,523
- Massachusetts, where the average annual salary is $59,936
- Connecticut, where the average annual salary is $57,826
The worst states, according to Zippia, are Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Utah and North Carolina.
86% of special education teachers were employed by local elementary and secondary schools, whereas only 7% were employed by private schools. A small number of special education teachers work with students in residential facilities, hospitals, and the students’ homes. They may travel to these locations. Some teachers work with infants and toddlers at the child’s home. They teach the child’s parents ways to help the child develop skills.
Helping students with disabilities may be rewarding. It also can be stressful, emotionally demanding, and physically draining. However, special education teachers are often work as part of cohesive work teams with other like-minded teachers, which can lessen the stress.