Prepare for An Education Career in Special Education

January 4th, 2013 by

Teacher with Student

Working as a teacher for students with special needs is an incredibly rewarding career. Teachers in this position spend their time developing special curriculum to suit their students, maintaining progress in their classroom and helping students of all levels and ages learn as much as they can despite their struggles. Although most people recognize just how fulfilling this kind of career can be, not everyone is cut out to work as a teacher in this capacity.

It takes the right education and credentials, of course, but it also takes incredible patience and motivation. If you are thinking seriously about earning an online degree and studying to teach those with special needs, make sure you think through the decision carefully. Read on to answer a series of questions on the topic.

If you can answer yes to all or most of them, then you might be the right fit for this degree and career.

Do You Enjoy Working With Children of All Ages?

This is perhaps the most important question of all to address. Although special education teachers can technically work with both children and adults, most will find careers working directly with children in and out of the classroom.

If you enjoy spending time with children, then this can be a great fit. However, if you find that spending full days around children is draining, then you might not be the right candidate for a career in this field.

Do You Appreciate Challenges and Changing Schedules?

No teaching career is easy, but many classroom teachers are able to create routines for their day. They may start out with a book, segue into the first lesson, enjoy recess and so on. For teachers of special needs children, however, the schedule is far more likely to change and be adjusted at all times. Students may come to you for assistance throughout the day, you may teach specific classes or you might rotate from classroom to classroom each week.

Creating any kind of schedule or routine is tough in this career, so anyone interested in it needs to be able to go with the flow and adjust when necessary to meet the changing needs of the students.

Do You Want Job Security and Consistent Pay?

There is no denying the fact that teachers of special needs children deserve higher pay. However, there are many different perks to this career. Most teachers enjoy long holidays at Christmas and several months during the summer. Since the demand for teachers of special needs children is higher than for most educational professionals, job security is among the highest in the industry. Although you won’t become a millionaire in this field, you can earn a comfortable salary with great benefits. The average pay for a special needs educator is $53,220 per year, but that increases with experience and education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Do You Have the Necessary Qualifications and Licensing?

Before you can become a teacher for special needs children or adults, you need to have the right qualifications. Across the United States, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the field is required. In some private schools, this certification is not necessary, but it is certainly recommended. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in the subject, aspiring teachers will need to be certified and registered in the state where they plan to teach.

If you are serious about pursuing a career in special education, then you might want to give some thought to an online degree. Rather than driving to classes each day and fitting work or family into a college schedule, you can fit classes into your own life. Find out more about the colleges and universities offering degrees in education at

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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