Career Attributes

  • $45,731
  • 131,900
  • 3.1
  • 7.4%
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Special Needs Education
More Attributes


A special education teacher program is an natural choice for people who have a passion for teaching and working with children with special needs. This special breed of educator must be motivating, patient, understand children’s special needs, and be able to adapt teaching to each individual student. They must be able to handle stress and have excellent communication and teamwork skills, as well as be creative and adaptable.

It takes a lot of patience, caring, and understanding to be a good special education teacher. Working with special needs students can be a challenge, and many days will be a challenge, but there are many more days that will bring triumph and a great sense of accomplishment. Becoming a special education teacher is not that different from becoming any other type of teacher. There are different types of courses, but the process is still similar.

The road to becoming a special education teacher begins with receiving a bachelor's degree. Many students choose to get a degree in education, and there are several universities that offer a four-year degree in special education. A general education degree is not necessary as it is possible to take the education classes later on while obtaining your teaching certificate.

There are more specialized classes to take when preparing to become a special education teacher. Courses like educational psychology, legal issues in special education, and strategy courses for teachers of children with disabilities are all common. Students should take a lot of courses specializing in children with special needs.

After graduating from a bachelor's degree program, most states and provinces require that students return to school for a credential in special education before being allowed to teach. Some states and provinces allow students to teach while finishing a credential program, and a few don't require the extra year at all. After graduating from this program, students can finish up their teacher certification needed to become special education teachers.

All prospective teachers are required to take teacher competency exams before beginning their teaching careers. These assessment tests are designed to test students on their knowledge of teaching practices and, in this case, issues in special education. Some states require future teachers to take these tests before student teaching, but almost everyone interested in a teaching career has to take them eventually.

The last step to becoming a special education teacher is to apply for certification. After meeting all of the other requirements, this step is easy. There is usually a fee to be handed in with the paperwork, and then, upon approval, a teacher can begin his or her first year officially on the job. It is important to be aware of the fact that different places have different certification requirements.

What are Special Education Teachers like?


Based on our pool of users, Special Education Teachers tend to be predominately social people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Special Education Teachers by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 935 Sokanu users

Are Special Education Teachers happy?


Special Education Teachers rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 43rd percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Special Education Teacher Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Special Education Teachers

The most common degree held by Special Education Teachers is Psychology. 23% of Special Education Teachers had a degree in Psychology before becoming Special Education Teachers. That is over 3 times the average across all careers. Special Needs Education graduates are the second most common among Special Education Teachers, representing 21% of Special Education Teachers in the Sokanu user base, which is 76.3 times the average.

Special Education Teacher Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Special Education Teacher, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of Special Education Teachers % of population Multiple
Psychology 22.6% 6.9% 3.3×
Special Needs Education 21.0% 0.3% 76.3×
Elementary Education 9.5% 0.5% 20.0×
Sociology 6.9% 2.1% 3.3×
Teacher Education 6.7% 0.7% 9.0×
English Literature 6.4% 4.9% 1.3×
General Education 4.6% 0.6% 7.8×
Early Childhood Education 4.6% 0.5% 9.1×
Business Management And Administration 4.1% 6.5% 0.6×
Communications 3.1% 3.4% 0.9×
History 3.1% 2.2% 1.4×
Political Science 3.1% 2.9% 1.1×
Educational Administration And Supervision 2.8% 0.1% 23.0×
Liberal Arts 2.6% 1.9% 1.3×
Counseling Psychology 2.6% 0.4% 7.3×
Fine Arts 2.3% 2.0% 1.2×
Economics 2.3% 3.9% 0.6×
Educational Psychology 2.1% 0.1% 16.0×
Mathematics Teacher Education 1.8% 0.3% 6.7×
Secondary Teacher Education 1.8% 0.4% 5.0×
Community And Public Health 1.8% 0.8% 2.1×
Biology 1.5% 3.6% 0.4×
Linguistics 1.5% 0.8% 1.9×
Music 1.3% 0.8% 1.6×
Studio Arts 1.3% 0.5% 2.3×
Journalism 1.3% 1.2% 1.1×
Computer Science 1.3% 2.8% 0.5×
Social Science Teacher Education 1.3% 0.0% 28.7×
Anthropology And Archeology 1.3% 1.2% 1.0×
Family And Consumer Sciences 1.3% 0.1% 10.8×
Criminal Justice 1.3% 1.4% 0.9×
Social Work 1.3% 0.5% 2.7×
Social Sciences 1.3% 0.5% 2.6×
International Relations 1.3% 1.5% 0.8×
Intercultural And International Studies 1.0% 0.7% 1.6×
Philosophy And Religious Studies 1.0% 1.6% 0.6×
Photography 1.0% 0.4% 2.9×

Special Education Teacher Education Levels

87% of Special Education Teachers have a bachelor's degree. 13% of Special Education Teachers have a master's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 0%
Bachelor's degree 87%
Master's degree 13%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become a Special Education Teacher

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Career Attributes

  • $45,731
  • 131,900
  • 3.1
  • 7.4%
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Special Needs Education
More Attributes