Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become an Autism Spectrum Disorder specialist. Learn about training and licensure requirements, job duties, potential salary and job outlook to find out if this job is for you. Schools offering Special Education - Autism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist?

Autism Spectrum Disorder specialists offer services and support for individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Often, they are employed in educational settings as teachers, school therapists or student aides in order to help students affected by autism succeed in academic and social situations. They may also be employed at residential centers, where they help patients become more independent through skill-building workshops and therapy sessions.

If working with people with autism appeals to you, refer to the table below for more information.

Degree Required Master's degree preferred
Licensure Teaching certification required by all states; additional certification to work with students with disabilities varies by state
Key Responsibilities Conduct evaluations on people affected by autism to determine the disorder's severity, provide educational support, collaborate with other personnel working with people with autism to provide personalized plans of care, and develop data collection for progress monitoring of people with autism
Median Salary (May 2015) $56,800 for all special education teachers*
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 6% for all special education teachers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist?

Autism Spectrum Disorder specialist (ASDS) positions are available with schools, organizations, counseling centers and medical facilities. In this position, you work with people affected by autism or autism spectrum disorders. You may help them obtain needed services or educational support. You may conduct evaluations to determine the severity of the person's disorder, write recommendations or referrals, create individualized care or education plans and conduct meetings with other personnel working with the individual.

Your main goals are to help people with this disorder fit in at school or in the community and learn to live with the challenges this disorder may present. This disorder may affect a person's social skills and behavior, so you may offer training in skills that will help him or her to adapt to different social situations or to control behavior issues.

What Training Do I Need?

Typically, you need to have a teaching degree and be a licensed teacher to become an ASDS. You also need to earn a graduate certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorder or as an autism specialist. In a certificate program, you may learn about behavior analysis, child psychology, special education teaching methods, crisis intervention and communication methods. Additionally, programs usually offer courses on Autism Spectrum Disorder that explain theories, diagnosing procedures and treatment methods.

Do I Need To Be Licensed or Certified?

In many states, there are special requirements for those working with special education or autistic students. For example, the New York State Education Department requires teachers of special education students to hold a professional certificate in teaching students with disabilities (www.nysed.gov). According to the Delaware Administrative Code, teachers working with students who have autism must have a professional teaching certificate (regulations.delaware.gov).

What Is the Outlook for Employment and Salary?

The expected growth in jobs for special education teachers from 2014 to 2024 is 6%, about as fast as the national average. Jobs will become available as teachers leave the profession and as student enrollment increases.

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median annual wage of $55,810 for special education teachers in kindergarten and elementary schools. Teachers in middle schools earned a median annual wage of $57,280, as of May 2015, according to the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You might also be interested in becoming a school counselor. In this position, you would offer advice and guidance for students dealing with a wide range of issues, such as mental health concerns and family problems. If you work at a high school, you would also help students through the college admissions and/or job application process. School counselors need to have a master's degree and a license. Another option is a job as an occupational therapist. You would help individuals who are sick, injured, elderly or disabled increase their independence. This could include teaching patients particular exercises or prescribing medical devices like wheelchairs. Occupational therapists need to have a master's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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