For a quick look into the possibilities, check out this list of jobs you can get with a Master’s in special education.
What You Can Do With a Master’s in Special Education
Trying to figure out where you can go next with your career? Check out these possibilities.
Classroom Special Education Teacher
The most obvious job you can get with a special education degree is a position as a special education teacher. For most people who major in special education, this is their end goal.
As a special ed teacher, there are plenty of different ways you can fulfill your role. You may spend most of your time in your own special education classroom. You’ll have the opportunity to work with kids with any number of developmental or physical disabilities.
In some cases, you may serve as a resource teacher. In this case, you could offer a hand to students with disabilities in average classrooms. Some students can function in a regular classroom in certain subjects but need a touch of extra help.
It’s important to realize, though, that special education teachers have a high rate of burnout. They leave their profession at twice the rate of other educators. In case you struggle with burnout, it’s comforting to know that there are so many other jobs you can get with your degree.
Before kids can get their Individualized Education Plan (or IEP) and get into a special education class, the school needs a diagnosis.
With your Master’s in special education, you’ll have the skills you need to make those diagnoses.
In some cases, you may perform formulated tests to assess a student’s abilities. Other times you might conduct therapy-like discussion sessions and use your observations to determine a diagnosis.
You may be able to work for a school, a therapy practice, or another organization in this capacity.
Special Education Advocate
For parents whose child has a disability, the world of special education can be overwhelming. In many cases, they have to fight year after year to get their child the accommodations they need.
As a special education advocate, you’ll help these families in this endeavor. You’ll be able to work with schools to provide the placements and accommodations that fit your clients’ needs.
You can also counsel families about their kids’ rights regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws. As kids grow into adults, you can advocate for them in other stages of life as well.
Special Ed Career Counselor
Most of the jobs we’ve discussed relate to kids with disabilities. These students don’t stop needing services when they turn 18, though.
As a special education career counselor, you can help students with disabilities to take the next steps after they graduate. Some may be well suited to college and specialized careers.
For other students, an entry-level job like working at a retail store might be a better fit. You can help teenagers and adults find fulfilling jobs while helping them through the transition to adulthood.
Perhaps you enjoy learning about disabilities but you’re not a fan of teaching young kids. In this case, you could be well-suited for a career as an education professor.
With a job at a college or university, you can educate the next generation of teachers. You’ll be able to teach students who are majoring in special education as well as general education students who need to know how to teach kids with disabilities too.
Some professionals use this as a secondary job as well. You might teach special education or have another full-time job during the day while serving as an adjunct professor in the evenings.
Group Home Advisor
Some people find that as much as they enjoy working with people with disabilities, they don’t like being in educational settings. Rest assured that there are plenty of other places where you can put your skills to work.
One great option is to work at a group home. These facilities are designed for adults with disabilities who need help caring for themselves. They’re similar to assisted living facilities, but their residents tend to be younger.
As a part of the staff, you may be able to help design programs the residents will enjoy. You can also help to train other staff members who don’t have as much experience working with people with disabilities.
Advisor at Non-Profit Organization
As we discussed above, there are many unique challenges for people with disabilities. Fortunately, there are non-profit organizations who are here to help.
At these organizations, you can help to advocate for the rights that people with disabilities deserve. You might do this on an individual level or on a larger scale with legislative changes.
In other cases, these organizations help families secure funding for the therapies they need. It’s shocking how rare it is for health insurance to cover most services for people with disabilities. You can help with fundraising efforts and grants to give people the funding they need to improve their lives.
Setting Up Your Career with a Master’s in Special Education
Kids and adults with disabilities can be an absolute joy to work with. There is a special light they carry, and those who have the privilege to work with them are an honored few.
A Master’s in special education will set you up to work with these people in a variety of settings and capacities. You could stick to the education realm or you may prefer to branch out. Either way, your degree will give a strong earning potential and plenty of options.
For more help with your special education career, check out our special education resources.