Along with a bachelor's degree, special education teachers working in middle schools should have excellent communication skills, exercise great patience and be organized. Advanced screening for detecting children with disabilities contributes to this field's growth.
Middle school special education teachers work with students, typically in grades 6-8, who have special needs and require extra attention. Special education teachers normally need to earn a bachelor's degree in special education or in a content area; these programs typically include a student teaching component and prepare individuals for state certification or licensure. Aspiring special education teachers may also opt to complete an alternative certification program.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement; some states require a master's degree for certification|
|Other Requirements||State licensure and/or certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||6%*|
|Average Salary (2015)||$60,300*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Salary Information for Middle School Special Education Teachers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, as of May 2015, most middle school special education teachers earned between $45,920 and $72,310 annually, with an average salary of $60,300. Teaching salaries vary depending on the location. For example, according to the BLS, middle school special education teachers in New York earned an average of $78,280, while those working in Texas had an average salary of $54,640 annually. The highest paying states in May 2015 included Alaska, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
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Duties of Middle School Special Education Teachers
The Occupational Information Network noted that middle school special education teachers develop methodologies for teaching students with diverse educational needs. They communicate goals for each student to accomplish as they learn about one or more subjects. Special education teachers keep student records and report to parents or other educational professionals about student progress, including whether testing or differentiated instruction is needed.
In addition to helping special needs students academically, special education teachers also teach their students social skills. They meet with parents to discuss learning and behavior solutions for the home environment and to connect them with student resources outside the school setting.
Employment Outlook for Middle School Special Education Teachers
The BLS reported there were 91,050 middle school special education teachers working in May 2015, and it estimates there will be growth of about 6% in the employment of these middle school teachers between 2014 and 2024. This increase is partially due to a greater need for these professionals thanks to earlier detection of learning disabilities and education improvements. Special education teachers who specialize in certain disabilities or education fields may find more job opportunities available to them, as well as those who opt to work in urban or rural areas.
Special education teachers usually have some kind of educational focus on special ed, in addition to their teaching certification. Salaries for middle school special education teachers could reach almost $80,000, depending on the location. Growth in this field is about fast as average through 2024.