Find Your Fit: Top Five Special Education Specialties

For compassionate and skilled educators, becoming a special education teacher is just one option. As classrooms have changed to reflect the needs of special education students, so too have the career options available. Check out the infographic below, which highlights the Top 5 Special Education Jobs.

Recreational Therapist

Job description:

  • Use arts, drama, music, dance, sport, and games to engage students
  • Develop treatment plans to meet students’ needs and interests
  • Help students develop social skills

Salary:

$$$$$

Range: $28,010 – $72,340

Average: $46,410

Required skills:

  • Resourcefulness: Ability to customize treatment plans to each student’s needs
  • Physical strength
  • Patience: Ability to work with students who require more or care and may be slow to progress

Stats on the job market:

  • By 2024, the job market demand is expected to increase by 7 percent
  • States with the highest concentration of jobs: District of Columbia, Connecticut, Utah

 

Occupational Therapist

Job description:

  • Design physical exercises to aid students in improving basic motor functions
  • Modify or recommend special classroom equipment; instruct students and teachers on how to use equipment
  • Help students improve decision-making, problem-solving and perceptual skills

Salary:

$$$$$

Range: $54,200 – $119,720

Average: $71,480

Required skills:

  • Communication: Ability to listen attentively to students and explain what tasks they want students to perform
  • Physical: Ability to move people or equipment
  • Compassion: Ability to be empathetic to the needs of students and their families

Stats on the job market:

  • By 2024, the job market demand is expected to increase by 27 percent
  • Elementary and secondary schools are the third-largest employers
  • States with the highest concentration of jobs: New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts

 

Speech Language Pathologists

Job description:

  • Aid students who have difficulties with speech, articulation, language or swallowing
  • Teach students how to make sounds, improve their voices, or develop muscles used to swallow
  • Identify treatment options and work with teachers and parents to carry out programs

Salary:

$$$$$

Range: $47,070 – $116,810

Average: $65,540

Required skills:

  • Analytical: Ability to arrive at an appropriate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan
  • Detail-oriented: Ability to take detailed notes on a patient and patient progress
  • Patience: Ability to work with students who require more or care and may be slow to progress

Stats on the job market:

  • By 2024, the job market demand is expected to increase by 21 percent.
  • 2 in 5 speech therapists work in schools
  • States with the highest concentration of jobs: Arkansas, West Virginia, North Dakota

 

Autism Spectrum Disorders Specialist

Job description:

  • Assess the skills and needs of students identified to be on the autism spectrum
  • Adapt general lessons and develop individualized education programs (IEPs)
  • May work in a self-contained classroom with additional teaching supports or in a regular education classroom

Salary:

$$$$$

Range: $37,760 – $93,090

Average: $57,910

Required skills:

  • Resourcefulness: Ability to customize treatment plans to each students’ needs
  • Communication: Ability to listen attentively to students and explain what tasks they want students to perform
  • Patience: Ability to work with students who require more care and may be slow to progress

Stats on the job market:

  • Autism is the fastest-growing development delay in American children; its prevalence has increased by nearly 120% since 2000
  • States with the highest concentration of jobs: West Virginia, New Jersey, New York

Ready to get started? Find a Special Education program that’s right for you.

Source of information: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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