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Careers and Jobs in Special Education

Drexel University School of Education

Careers in special education can be both personally and professionally rewarding. This is because you can have a tremendous impact on the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Special education professionals work with a wide range of children and youth who have disabilities such as autism, learning disabilities or emotional support needs.

Special education teachers are professionals responsible for providing individuals with disabilities the accommodations they need to access school, daily living routines, and social interactions with friends. While most jobs in special education involve working with students between the ages of 3 and 21, there are a wide range of careers in the field.

In addition to working in a school setting, individuals also have the opportunity to pursue careers in special education besides teaching. This may include working in mental health facilities, government organizations, residential settings, and more. If you are thinking about starting a career working with special needs children or adults, it’s worthwhile to first understand the full range of opportunities made available through special education degree programs.

If you are considering a career in special education but are not sure where to start, take a moment to request information and a representative from the School of Education will assist you.

What Careers and Jobs Can You Pursue With A Special Education Degree?

Students who are interested in pursuing a degree in special education will find special education career paths and job opportunities can be quite diverse. From teaching positions to working with the legal system, there are countless career paths that open for people who possess the unique skills taught by a special education degree.

Special Education Careers in a School Setting

There are many jobs in special education one could pursue in a K-12 school setting. To be eligible, one must hold a teaching license and special education certification from their state’s department of education. Below are a few types of careers for special education teachers.

Special Education Teacher

A special education teacher is responsible for providing modifications and adaptations to the curriculum so that students with disabilities can achieve the same outcomes as all students. That includes students with a diverse range of physical, emotional, and developmental needs. Working one-on-one and working in groups, teaching a wide range of subjects and teaching basic skills like literacy, few educational careers provide so many opportunities to make such an important positive impact on the lives of their students.

Each state has their own licensing requirements. However, most states require a bachelor’s degree in special education, as well as meeting the state’s requirements for teaching certification. Special education teacher salary is also quite respectable, with a median annual income of $59,780.

Special Education Administrator

Job titles for special education administrators may vary depending on the school district, but these professionals typically oversee special education programs. They may develop and direct curriculum to special education teachers throughout their district. They may also manage budgets and the hiring of special education teachers. Unlike a special education teacher, an administrator would be working in a supervisory role.

Special education administrators usually have obtained Supervisor of Special Education certification from their state’s department of education. Nationally, special education supervisors earn an average salary of $90,560 per year. In Pennsylvania, the average annual salary for administrators is $74,380.

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators in special education typically work alongside special education teachers in school settings. Coordinators assist with developing curriculum and lessons to fit the needs of special education students who are learning in classrooms with non-special needs students. They are a vital resource for teachers who may be struggling with teaching special education students.

Instructional coordinators typically hold a degree or certification in special education. In some states, special education certification may be required. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, instructional coordinators earn an average annual salary of $63,740.

Special Education Careers Outside of Teaching

In addition to careers in K-12 schools, there are also plenty of job opportunities in special education available that take place outside of K-12 school settings. Below are a couple examples of careers in special education besides teaching.

Early Intervention Specialist

The earlier that a developmental delay is diagnosed, the more likely that delay can be addressed. An early intervention specialist works with young children who either have or are at risk of having a developmental delay. Working with children who are usually less than four years old, an early intervention specialist assesses child development and provides interventions.

The importance of providing early intervention to children with developmental delays is well established, which makes early intervention specialists an invaluable resource to the lives of children in need.

On a typical day, an early intervention specialist might travel between the homes of several children, or they may work with children attending typical preschool or day care centers. Their work includes helping children to learn developmentally important skills by playing games, and teaching parents how to help their children to practice these skills.

These careers require a bachelor’s degree and completing an accredited student teaching program. Like with teaching requirements, program requirements vary from state to state. Early intervention specialist salaries vary considerably by region, but their median annual income can be found in the neighborhood of $40,596.

Special Education Advocate

A special education advocate is someone who combines a background in special education with a background in state and federal law, along with education al experience, allowing them to represent the best interests of their students in the legal system.

In their day to day duties, a special education advocate might find themselves helping parents advocate for their child and helping them put requests in writing for school district officials. They might review documents, suggest student-appropriate accommodations, or otherwise try to find solutions to help students with their legal problems.

Special education advocates can earn a salary of $47,437 annually.

Special Education Degrees and Certificates Offered at Drexel University's School of Education

Drexel University’s School of Education offers a diverse portfolio of special education degree and certification programs to help students obtain the credential they need to advance in their career. Many programs are available 100% online to give students the flexibility to balance learning with their busy schedules. Click on any of the links below to learn more about Drexel’s programs.

Begin Your Career in Special Education at Drexel University's School of Education

Whether it is in a school or out of school, obtaining a career in special education begins with obtaining the proper degree or certification. You can start your journey towards a career in special education by contacting us for more information or starting an application.