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What Is the Salary of a Special Education Teacher?

Would you like to work with students who have learning disabilities, physical impairments, cognitive or emotional challenges, autism and other special needs? Keep reading to find out how much you can earn as a special education teacher and how salaries vary based on grade level, location and experience.

Overview

What teachers may sacrifice in salary, they gain in fulfillment and personal satisfaction. Additional degrees and the type of institution can also have an impact on salary as well, and there are many ways to supplement income when not teaching.

Important Facts About Special Education Teachers

Work Environment School, hospital, childcare center, home
Key Skills Communication, critical thinking, organization, patience, resourcefulness
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026) 8%
Similar Occupations Childcare worker, instructional coordinator

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salaries for Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary Teachers

Based on data from PayScale.com, one of the factors that affects your earning potential as a special education teacher is how many years of experience you have. As of 2019, special education teachers working in preschool, kindergarten or elementary schools had a median pay of $47,068 annually.

In 2019, PayScale.com reported the approximate median salary by experience for most preschool, kindergarten and elementary school special education teachers as follows:

  • 0-5 years: $39,895
  • 5-10 years: $47,010
  • 10-20 years: $52,301
  • Over 20 years: $59,554

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2018 that the five states paying the highest annual mean wage for preschool special education teachers were New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey (www.bls.gov). The top paying states for kindergarten and elementary special education teachers were California, the District of Columbia, New York, Oregon and Connecticut.

Salaries for Middle School Teachers

Payscale.com reported that the median salary for middle school special education teachers was $48,799 in June 2019. Middle school special education teachers earned the following approximate average salaries based on experience:

  • 1-4 years: $41,477
  • 5-10 years: $48,523
  • 10-20 years: $54,745
  • Over 20 years: $58,933

The five states in which these teachers earned the highest annual mean wage were New York, Oregon, Connecticut, California and Alaska, according to a May 2018 report by the BLS.

Salaries for Secondary School Teachers

In June 2019, Payscale.com reported that most special education teachers employed by secondary schools earned a median salary of $50,211. These teachers earned an approximate average salary based on their number of years teaching as follows:

  • 1-4 years: $40,794
  • 5-10 years: $49,239
  • 10-20 years: $55,718
  • Over 20 years: $63,414

In May 2018, the BLS reported that the five states offering the highest annual mean wages for these professionals were New York, Oregon, Connecticut, California and Alaska.