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.
What they do:
Provide individualized physical education instruction or services to children, youth, or adults with exceptional physical needs due to gross motor developmental delays or other impairments.
On the job, you would:
Adapt instructional techniques to the age and skill levels of students.
Instruct students, using adapted physical education techniques, to improve physical fitness, gross motor skills, perceptual motor skills, or sports and game achievement.
Provide individual or small groups of students with adapted physical education instruction that meets desired physical needs or goals.
Education and Training
teaching and course design
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
therapy and counseling
figuring out how to use new ideas or things
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
teaching people how to do something
understanding people's reactions
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
use rules to solve problems
pay attention to something without being distracted
exercise for a long time without getting out of breath
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
Individualized Educational Program IEP software
Electronic mail software
bachelor's degree or certificate after college usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.