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Occupation Profile

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Special Education Teachers, Secondary School
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Description: what do they do?
Teach secondary 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:
Interrelated Special Education Teacher, Career and Transition Teacher, Learning Disabilities Special Education Teacher (LD Special Education Teacher), Special Education Resource Teacher, High School Special Education Teacher, Special Day Class Teacher (SDC Teacher), Resource Teacher, Teacher, Learning Support Teacher, Special Education 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
2,200
2016 Employment
2,480
2026 Employment
13%
Percent change
190
Annual projected job openings
United States
131,900
2016 Employment
141,600
2026 Employment
7%
Percent change
10,500
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, Secondary 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%$42,920$40,560
25%$46,820$48,630
Median$52,430$60,600
75%$60,750$77,820
90%$72,860$98,290


    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.
  • Evaluate student work.
  • Monitor student behavior, social development, or health.
  • Monitor student performance.
  • Establish rules or policies governing student behavior.
  • Teach life skills.
  • Prepare reports detailing student activities or performance.
  • Maintain student records.
  • Discuss problems or issues with supervisors.
  • Apply multiple teaching methods.
  • Discuss student progress with parents or guardians.
  • Modify teaching methods or materials to accommodate student needs.
  • Set up classroom materials or equipment.
  • Collaborate with other teaching professionals to develop educational programs.
  • Develop instructional objectives.
  • Plan educational activities.
  • Direct activities of subordinates.
  • Encourage students.
  • Advise students on academic or career matters.
  • Administer tests to assess educational needs or progress.
  • Prepare tests.
  • Document lesson plans.
  • Teach vocational courses.
  • Teach others to use technology or equipment.
  • Create technology-based learning materials.
  • Assist students with special educational needs.
  • Attend training sessions or professional meetings to develop or maintain professional knowledge.
  • Tutor students who need extra assistance.
  • Plan experiential learning activities.
  • Serve on institutional or departmental committees.
  • Supervise school or student activities.
  • Coordinate student extracurricular activities.
  • Order instructional or library materials or equipment.
  • Distribute instructional or library materials.
  • Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.

    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:
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

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

    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:
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Originality - Creating new and original ideas.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.

    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.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.

    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
  • Develop and implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of handicapping conditions.
  • Observe and evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and policies and procedures to maintain order among students.
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification and positive reinforcement.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records, and prepare reports on children and activities, as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
  • Meet with other professionals to discuss individual students' needs and progress.
  • Instruct through lectures, discussions, and demonstrations in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics, or social studies.
  • Employ special educational strategies and techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, and memory.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children's progress and to determine priorities for their children and their resource needs.
  • Modify the general education curriculum for special-needs students, based upon a variety of instructional techniques and technologies.
  • Prepare materials and classrooms for class activities.
  • Coordinate placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.
  • Teach personal development skills, such as goal setting, independence, and self-advocacy.
  • Confer with parents or guardians, other teachers, counselors, and administrators to resolve students' behavioral and academic problems.
  • Confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, and professionals to develop individual educational plans designed to promote students' educational, physical, and social development.
  • Establish clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects and communicate those objectives to students.
  • Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
  • Monitor teachers and teacher assistants to ensure that they adhere to inclusive special education program requirements.
  • Prepare students for later grades by encouraging them to explore learning opportunities and to persevere with challenging tasks.
  • Guide and counsel students with adjustment or academic problems, or special academic interests.
  • Prepare, administer, and grade tests and assignments to evaluate students' progress.
  • Administer standardized ability and achievement tests and interpret results to determine students' strengths and areas of need.
  • Instruct students in daily living skills required for independent maintenance and self-sufficiency, such as hygiene, safety, and food preparation.
  • Confer with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula.
  • Prepare for assigned classes and show written evidence of preparation upon request of immediate supervisors.
  • Prepare objectives and outlines for courses of study, following curriculum guidelines or requirements of states and schools.
  • Provide additional instruction in vocational areas.
  • Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials to prevent injuries and damage.
  • Use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations.
  • Collaborate with other teachers and administrators in the development, evaluation, and revision of secondary school programs.
  • Provide assistive devices, supportive technology, and assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to provide guidance in using community resources and to teach skills for dealing with students' impairments.
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence.
  • Provide interpretation and transcription of regular classroom materials through Braille and sign language.
  • Visit schools to tutor students with sensory impairments and to consult with teachers regarding students' special needs.
  • Plan and supervise class projects, field trips, visits by guest speakers, or other experiential activities, and guide students in learning from those activities.
  • Attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required.
  • Perform administrative duties, such as assisting in school libraries, hall and cafeteria monitoring, and bus loading and unloading.
  • Sponsor extracurricular activities, such as clubs, student organizations, and academic contests.
  • Select, store, order, issue, and inventory classroom equipment, materials, and supplies.

    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.