How To Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education

Bachelor Degree in Special Education

Earn your Bachelor's Degree in Special Education

A bachelor's degree in special education can traditionally be completed in four years of full-time study. Alternatively, professionals who combine college with a career may take longer to complete the required classes. Universities commonly require aspiring special education teachers to complete a student teaching component. This allows students to teach in a classroom under the supervision, guidance and mentorship of an experienced teacher. After earning their degrees and gaining state licensure, new graduates may be qualified to enter a teaching role in a variety of settings.

Career Paths

Special education teacher is perhaps the most common career path for graduates with this degree, but that doesn't mean all special education teachers have the exact same job description. These educators can work with students of all ages who exhibit a variety of disabilities, helping them achieve their learning goals. Where they teach can differ greatly as well. Special education teachers can be found in public, private and religious schools, among other education settings, and some may even teach at a student's home according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

In school environments, some special education teachers work in general-learning classrooms and adapt the material for their students, while others teach special education students in separate classrooms. Special education teachers also help develop and implement Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for their students. The BLS expects a 17 percent national job growth rate between 2010 and 2020 for these teachers, which is slightly faster than average (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

Graduates who want to go into teaching must be licensed by the state to work in a public school (private schools are exempt). The requirements and regulations can vary between states, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your state's exact requirements, which can be found through teach.org.

Career Earnings

The BLS (bls.gov/oes, 2013) reports the following median national annual wages for special education teachers, current as of May 2012:

Preschool: $52,480

  • Lowest 10 percent: Up to $33,010
  • Highest 10 percent: Up to $92,880

Kindergarten and Elementary School: $53,820

  • Lowest 10 percent: Up to $35,700
  • Highest 10 percent: Up to $84,400

Middle School: $55,780

  • Lowest 10 percent: Up to $37,900
  • Highest 10 percent: Up to $88,570

Secondary School: $56,830

  • Lowest 10 percent: Up to $38,390
  • Highest 10 percent: Up to $89,770

All Other Special Education Teaching: $51,980

  • Lowest 10 percent: Up to $31,210
  • Highest 10 percent: Up to $89,220

If this information has piqued your interest in the career of special education teaching, which can really make a difference in children's lives, then have a look at the list of universities below and contact them to obtain more information.

Sources:

  1. "Special Education Teachers," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm
  2. "Special Education Teachers, All Others," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252059.htm
  3. "Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary Schools," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
  4. "Special Education Teachers, Middle School," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
  5. "Special Education Teachers, Preschool," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
  6. "Special Education Teachers, Secondary School," May 2012 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm

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B.S. in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)
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BED: Licensure: Special Education
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BA: Elementary Education
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Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education*
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