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Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers

Preschool and elementary school special education teachers, teach educationally and physically handicapped students and preschoolers. Their goal is to make sure students with disabilities reach their learning potential. The majority of special education teachers help children with mild to moderate disabilities.

Some preschool and elementary special-ed teachers specialize in working with visually and audibly handicapped students. Some teachers specialize in providing basic life processes and academic skills to those with mental impairments.

Special education teachers use teaching methods such as individualized instruction, small group work and problem solving assignments. They help create an individualized education program for every special education student. The programs establish personalized objectives for each student and are designed for an individual's needs and abilities.

Some of the sample job titles are preschool special education teacher, special education teacher, early interventionist, intervention specialist, early childhood special education teacher, EC special education teacher, teacher of developmentally delayed, severe emotional disorders elementary teacher, SED elementary teacher and mildly disabled student special education teacher.

Responsibilities

  • Utilize special education techniques and strategies
  • Teach academic subjects to students utilizing a variety of techniques
  • Modify the general education program for special needs students
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior
  • Discuss students' progress with parents and guardians
  • Collaborate with others to develop individual educational plans designed to advance students' educational, social and physical development
  • Establish goals for lessons and projects and communicate these goals to students
  • Maintain student records

Job Characteristics

Some special-ed teachers have their own classroom and only teach special education students, whereas others work as special education resource teachers and provide individualized assistance to students in general education classrooms. Some special education teachers work with general education teachers in classes that include general and special education students.

Their work can be very rewarding, however, at times, it can be physically and emotionally draining. The job may also involve a heavy workload and administrative tasks. Most special education teachers work 40 hours a week in a basic 10 month school year. Some special education teachers work all year.

Preschool and elementary school special education teachers need patience and compassion and they should enjoy helping people. They also need good organizational skills. Special education teachers should be able to motivate students.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 20 percent growth in employment from 2008 to 2018 for preschool, kindergarten and elementary school special education teachers. In 2008 the median annual earnings for special education teachers who work in preschools, kindergartens and elementary schools was $50,020.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs in special education are provided by a large number of colleges and universities. Some programs require specialization, however some colleges and universities provide generalized special education degrees.

In their last year of the program, students typically are involved in a student teaching role in a classroom setting under the supervision of a special education teacher. Special education teachers often partake in longer training periods than general education teachers.

All the states require special education teachers to acquire a license, which usually requires at least a bachelor's degree along with completing an approved special education teaching training program. Licensure varies by state. Many states provide general special education licenses in a variety of disability categories, whereas other states license several different specialties within special education. Most of the states provide alternative paths for entry for those that have a bachelor's degree but do not have training in education.

Resources

Major Employers

The top job providers are public schools, child day care services, individual and family services and educational support services.

Schools for Preschool And Elementary School Special Education Teachers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers

To find out more about building a career as Preschool And Elementary Special Ed Teachers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Education 211,840 93% $50,520
Social Service 9,420 4% $37,720
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Programs
  • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Special Education
  • M.A. in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross-Categorical (Leads to initial teacher licensure)
  • Are you ready to advance or start your career inspiring minds and changing lives? Apply to join GCU's prestigious teaching community.
  • GCU recognizes the diverse needs in education and creates meaningful experiences through all bachelor's and master's degree programs.
  • Traditional college or online programs, GCU offers education degrees for a variety of learning needs – take your pick!
  • Earn your master's or bachelor's degree online, on-campus or take individual courses for specific studies.
  • Join the GCU heritage and take advantage of the opportunity to engage, instruct and inspire.
Programs
  • M.Ed. - Program Specialist in Gifted Specialist
  • M.Ed. Teaching and Learning - Special Education
  • MA in Teaching - Special Education
  • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
  • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
  • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
Programs
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education

Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history, an environment of intellectual curiosity and discovery, and a supportive, student-centered approach to learning. Founded in 1869 as a land-grant school, the University is known today for its prolific faculty as well as a record of distinguished research and achievement in aerospace, engineering, technology, science, and math. Our goal is to educate and develop men and women of personal integrity and scholarly excellence.

Programs
  • Special Education - Doctor of Education
  • Special Education - Master of Education
  • Special Education - EdS
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Programs
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Autism Studies
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement
  • Pennsylvania PK-12 Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Certification

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person). The strong liberal arts foundation promotes an environment of open-minded investigation and debate and attends to developing students beyond their academic accomplishments, while maintaining high academic standards. The University strives to be recognized as the preeminent Catholic comprehensive university in the Northeast.

Programs
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: The Inclusive Classroom (SPED)
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies
  • M.Ed. in Career and Technical Education
  • Concordia pursues online learning with the same passion and commitment to excellence that has marked our 110-year history. Our online degrees provides the same high academic standards as our on-campus.
  • #1 in M.Ed Degrees awarded by a Non-Profit University with over 8,000 M.Ed degrees that have been awarded to Concordia Online Students (Based on 2013-2014 IPEDS data); #3 MBA Program in Oregon (2015).
  • Your diploma and transcript is exactly the same as what students receive from Concordia’s on-campus program and carries the same value as a traditional degree
  • Concordia offers a variety of scholarships, grants, and awards designed to make the cost of a quality liberal arts education more affordable. Military benefits are available to candidates who qualify.
  • Concordia offers outstanding student-focused support including technical support and student service teams to assist you from initial contact through graduation. 
  • Concordia University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Programs
  • Master of Education - TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Master of Education in Teaching & Learning
  • Master of Education (M.ED.)
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
Programs
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Ranked 21st among the Best Education Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Established in 1918 with the mission, “to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally, and globally.”
  • The first major research university to offer an online M.A.  in teaching program.
  • Offers certificate through doctoral programs in teaching, counseling, and more.
  • All programs taught with the guiding principles of leadership, learning, accountability, and diversity.
Programs
  • Education, Technology & Online Learning - Bachelors
  • Education, Technology & Online Learning - Masters
  • Higher Education - Bachelors
  • 100% Online Education Degrees - Ashford University
  • Break new ground in your education career with your BA or MA in Education.
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s & Associate's programs to prepare you for the invaluable role of guiding learners or shaping educational initiatives.
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Programs
  • M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential
  • Preliminary Education Specialist Credential
  • Multiple Subject English Learner Teaching Credential
  • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
  • Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
  • Equipped with over 17,000 titles in their library.
  • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
  • Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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