Special Education Careers

Special education teachers work with children and adolescents with a variety of disabilities. Some special education teachers work with students with severe cases of mental and physical disabilities or autism, teaching them the skills they need to function in daily life, as well as basic reading, writing and speaking. Most special education teachers work with children whose disabilities are not so severe, but do prevent them from learning at the same rate as their peers. In these cases, teachers will enhance and tailor the general education curriculum to meet each child’s individual learning ability and requirements. Today’s schools are increasingly blending special needs children into the general education classrooms, with special education and general education teachers working in tandem. Special education teaching can be an immensely challenging career choice, and one of the most rewarding.

Employment Opportunities

Special education professionals may work in a variety of environments, including:

  • Public and private, special education and general education schools
  • Residential facilities
  • Home or hospital environments


Special education professionals need a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Patience
  • Leadership
  • Excellent motivational skills
  • Creativity
  • Organizational skills
  • Computer knowledge
  • Accepting of differences
  • Strategic thinking

Industry Spotlight

3-5 sentences on the outlook for this profession (from bol.gov)

- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008