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Make a Difference With a Special Education Degree

Make a Difference With a Special Education Degree

by Shannon Lee
February 15, 2011

Special education teachers do not have an easy job. In fact, a career as a special education teacher is downright challenging. But in addition to having quite a demanding job, a special education teacher's job is also incredibly rewarding. Perhaps that's why job opportunities for special education teachers are expected to grow 17 percent between 2008 and 2018--which is faster than the average for all U.S. occupations. Special education teachers, who work to educate students with a wide variety of disabilities and learning issues, may choose between working with the severely disabled or the mildly to moderately disabled.

What Makes Special Education Teachers Special

Special education teachers go above and beyond the traditional classroom setting to create a positive learning atmosphere for those students who need a little extra help. They tailor the learning experience to the needs and goals of the individual student. Doing this requires working closely with the child, other school officials, the parents and, in some cases, social workers and doctors in order to provide the best educational experience possible.

Online Degrees Can Launch Special Education Teachers into New Careers

Bachelor degree programs
are the first step toward becoming a special education teacher. Special education teachers must hold at least a bachelor's degree and a state license, although some institutions require applicants to hold a master's degree, as well. Graduate degree programs offer the special education teacher a chance for advancement or work in the administrative level.

In addition to meeting the education requirements, special education teachers should possess good organizational skills, patience, compassion, and the ability to accept others' differences. Each of these skills plays an important role in the day-to-day job of a special education teacher.

Special education teachers are rewarded for their efforts--not only with personal gratification, but with salary. In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean annual income of $53,770 for special education teachers in preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school. Those in middle school made a mean salary of $54,750, while those who taught secondary school made $56,420.