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Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School
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Description: what do they do?
Teach elementary school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.
Also known as:
Severe/Profound Mental Handicaps Special Education Teacher, Special Education Inclusion Teacher, Early Childhood Special Educator (EC Special Educator), Special Education Resource Teacher, Emotional Disabilities Teacher, Learning Support Teacher, Severe Emotional Disorders Elementary Teacher (SED Elementary Teacher), Special Education Teacher, Hearing Impaired Itinerant Teacher (HI Itinerant Teacher), Resource Program Teacher

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: With patience, resourcefulness and strong communication skills, special education teachers create a positive learning environment for students with special needs. Special education teachers work with students who have learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They teach reading, writing, and math, and—for students with severe disabilities— they also teach communication and basic life skills. A special education teacher begins by developing an Individualized Education Program for each student, then implementing it and tracking student progress. Communicating with parents, counselors, other teachers, and administrators helps ensure they meet students’ needs. Tasks vary based on the student’s needs; teachers might develop flashcards for a student with hearing loss, facilitate a small group to teach collaboration for a project, or create a quiet corner for students with autism. Many use assistive technology to communicate with students. Most special education teachers work in public schools, with students ranging from preschool through high school. They generally work during school hours, following the traditional 10-month school year schedule. The work can be highly rewarding, but also emotionally demanding and physically draining. Special education teachers need a bachelor’s degree in special education or in an education-related field; or a content area, such as math or science with a minor in special education. A license is required to teach in public schools. States may offer a general license in special education, or disability-specific credentials, such as autism or behavior disorders.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Florida
4,420
2016 Employment
4,990
2026 Employment
13%
Percent change
380
Annual projected job openings
United States
188,900
2016 Employment
202,800
2026 Employment
7%
Percent change
15,000
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationTampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro AreaUnited States
10%$38,200$38,980
25%$44,350$47,520
Median$50,270$59,390
75%$60,320$75,940
90%$72,050$95,730


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Develop strategies or programs for students with special needs.
  • Collaborate with other teaching professionals to develop educational programs.
  • Maintain student records.
  • Teach life skills.
  • Establish rules or policies governing student behavior.
  • Modify teaching methods or materials to accommodate student needs.
  • Discuss student progress with parents or guardians.
  • Discuss problems or issues with supervisors.
  • Direct activities of subordinates.
  • Set up classroom materials or equipment.
  • Prepare reports detailing student activities or performance.
  • Evaluate student work.
  • Prepare tests.
  • Administer tests to assess educational needs or progress.
  • Monitor student behavior, social development, or health.
  • Develop instructional objectives.
  • Monitor student performance.
  • Encourage students.
  • Assist students with special educational needs.
  • Assess educational needs of students.
  • Advise students on academic or career matters.
  • Plan educational activities.
  • Display student work.
  • Develop instructional materials.
  • Create technology-based learning materials.
  • Teach others to use technology or equipment.
  • Attend training sessions or professional meetings to develop or maintain professional knowledge.
  • Tutor students who need extra assistance.
  • Distribute instructional or library materials.
  • Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
  • Plan experiential learning activities.
  • Supervise school or student activities.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Instructing - Teaching people how to do something.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Learning Strategies - Using the best training or teaching strategies for learning new things.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Persuasion - Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Artistic - Occupations with Artistic interests frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and allow for developing unique approaches to conducting the work.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Instruct special needs students in academic subjects, using a variety of techniques, such as phonetics, multisensory learning, or repetition to reinforce learning and meet students' varying needs.
  • Develop or implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of disabilities.
  • Develop individual educational plans (IEPs) designed to promote students' educational, physical, or social development.
  • Confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, or other professionals to develop individual education plans (IEPs).
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies, or administrative regulations.
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification or positive reinforcement.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order among students.
  • Modify the general kindergarten or elementary education curriculum for special-needs students.
  • Confer with parents, guardians, teachers, counselors, or administrators to resolve students' behavioral or academic problems.
  • Employ special educational strategies or techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, or memory.
  • Monitor teachers or teacher assistants to ensure adherence to special education program requirements.
  • Prepare classrooms with a variety of materials or resources for children to explore, manipulate, or use in learning activities or imaginative play.
  • Prepare reports on students and activities as required by administration.
  • Meet with parents or guardians to discuss their children's progress, advise them on using community resources, or teach skills for dealing with students' impairments.
  • Prepare, administer, or grade tests or assignments to evaluate students' progress.
  • Observe and evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Establish and communicate clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects to students.
  • Encourage students to explore learning opportunities or persevere with challenging tasks to prepare them for later grades.
  • Provide assistive devices, supportive technology, or assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
  • Instruct students in daily living skills required for independent maintenance and self-sufficiency, such as hygiene, safety, or food preparation.
  • Teach students personal development skills, such as goal setting, independence, or self-advocacy.
  • Coordinate placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.
  • Interpret the results of standardized tests to determine students' strengths and areas of need.
  • Collaborate with other teachers or administrators to develop, evaluate, or revise kindergarten or elementary school programs.
  • Confer with other staff members to plan or schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula.
  • Guide or counsel students with adjustment problems, academic problems, or special academic interests.
  • Plan or conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
  • Organize and display students' work in a manner appropriate for their perceptual skills.
  • Prepare objectives, outlines, or other materials for courses of study following curriculum guidelines or school or state requirements.
  • Prepare assignments for teacher assistants or volunteers.
  • Present information in audio-visual or interactive formats, using computers, televisions, audio-visual aids, or other equipment, materials, or technologies.
  • Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment or materials to prevent injuries and damage.
  • Administer standardized ability and achievement tests to kindergarten or elementary students with special needs.
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, or teacher training workshops to maintain or improve professional competence.
  • Organize and supervise games or other recreational activities to promote physical, mental, or social development.
  • Visit schools to tutor students with sensory impairments or to consult with teachers regarding students' special needs.
  • Interpret or transcribe classroom materials into Braille or sign language.
  • Control the inventory or distribution of classroom equipment, materials, or supplies.
  • Plan or supervise experiential learning activities, such as class projects, field trips, demonstrations, or visits by guest speakers.
  • Perform administrative duties, such as assisting in school libraries, hall or cafeteria monitoring, or bus loading or unloading.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.