What Does A Secondary School Special Education Teacher Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Secondary School Special Ed Teachers

Secondary School Special Ed Teachers teach secondary school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.

Salary
$66490
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Secondary School Special Ed Teachers teach secondary school subjects to educationally and physically handicapped students. Includes teachers who specialize and work with audibly and visually handicapped students and those who teach basic academic and life processes skills to the mentally impaired.

  • Develop and implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of handicapping conditions.
  • Observe and evaluate students’ performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and policies and procedures to maintain order among students.
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification and positive reinforcement.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Secondary School Special Ed Teachers prepare materials and classrooms for class activities. They use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations.

A typical day for a Secondary School Special Education Teacher will also include:

  • Maintain accurate and complete student records, and prepare reports on children and activities, as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
  • Establish clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects and communicate those objectives to students.
  • Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
  • Prepare students for later grades by encouraging them to explore learning opportunities and to persevere with challenging tasks.
  • Prepare for assigned classes and show written evidence of preparation upon request of immediate supervisors.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Secondary School Special Ed Teachers also attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required. They may also meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children’s progress and to determine priorities for their children and their resource needs.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Secondary School Special Ed Teachers attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence. They might also confer with parents or guardians, other teachers, counselors, and administrators to resolve students’ behavioral and academic problems.

In addition, they confer with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, and professionals to develop individual educational plans designed to promote students’ educational, physical, and social development.

To some Secondary School Special Ed Teachers, it is also their responsibility to provide additional instruction in vocational areas.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

73% said they were satisfied with their job and 73% said they found their job meaningful.


Phyllis G. Williams

I’m described as a (LIMM) Learning Impaired Mild to Moderate teacher which is simply a special education teacher. However, the Department of Defense loves their acronyms.

As a sped teacher, my key responsibility is generating and following an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for students with unique needs on my caseload and making sure that the general education teachers are also doing the same. An IEP is a legal agreement.

Some students with IEPs don’t need intensive help. They only need mild assistance. I teach both in my classroom and the general education classroom. It’s best to make co-teaching a team effort. Depending on the teacher, I walk around and assist all students at their desks. This may be redirecting or rephrasing or giving mini-lessons. It could also include pulling some students to a center for accommodations or remediation.

I also do more intense intervention in my room which is referred to as the resource room. As implied, it’s a resource and students don’t stay in the room all day. My goal is to expose them to the grade-level curriculum and also address their individual foundational needs. My assistants and I may work in three small groups. I use research-based programs and research-based methods to bridge the academic gaps. If students in the general education classroom are working on double-digit multiplication, one center may focus on multiplication fluency. Another center may focus on word problems at their current ability level, and I will lead the center from the curriculum that reads Tier-3 Intervention which focuses on double digit multiplication with hands-on material and possibly a video to explain differently.

Many people especially those who attended school before No Child Left Behind have a different image of special education. They imagine a special education teacher at her desk eating while students color all day or watch movies. This is far from the truth. We aim to have all students perform in the average range with accommodations and/or modifications.

In addition to teaching, there is paperwork galore. As a special education teacher, I often have to do paperwork that includes data collection, IEPs, and reports. It takes me about one and a half hours to write an IEP. Please keep in mind that we have a 45 minute planning. It takes me longer to complete because we have to collaborate with others, synthesize and analyze data, and complete the many sessions of the IEP.

Whenever I have a substitute, they often comment on the pinging about in the building. They don’t have to wear as many hats as I do since I plan their lessons. As a special education teacher, I feel mostly like a teacher, data processor, and a paralegal. Special education teacher “The Swiss Army Knife of Education” that sums it up. Since I like being resourceful and prepared, it’s the right fit for me.

My typical day

I start with checking emails and then go to duty. As a special education teacher, you always wear many hats. This year, I helped in the cafeteria. Afterward, I’m helping in the general education classroom and teaching in my classroom with my co-teachers. The student-to-teacher ratio is not overwhelming.

I’m a very animated person so I get to be silly in the classroom. Everyone else may think that I’m as exciting as a plain potato chip but my students and co-teachers know better. During my break, I work on paperwork of some sort. It may be a progress report, an IEP ( individual education plan), collection of data, or an educational performance report.

At the end of the day, I’ll end doing car duty.

Phyllis G. Williams
Progress Promoter


Pros

Suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Very good salary.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$66490 per year

Average hourly wage

$* per hour

Entry-level Secondary School Special Ed Teachers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $41,270 to $49,940 per year or $* to $* per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $101,050 $*
Senior (Top 25%) $80,210 $*
Median $62,320 $*
Junior (Bottom 25%) $49,940 $*
No experience (Bottom 10%) $41,270 $*

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Secondary School Special Ed Teachers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Elementary and Secondary Schools $66790 $*
State Government $66750 $*
Other Residential Care Facilities $63810 $*
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals $62290 $*
Local Government $59090 $*
Individual and Family Services $57240 $*
Educational Support Services $52360 $*
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities $50910 $*

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Secondary School Special Ed Teachers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Secondary School Special Ed Teachers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Elementary and Secondary Schools 136960 $66790 $*
Educational Support Services 1990 $52360 $*
State Government 1270 $66750 $*
Local Government 650 $59090 $*
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities 420 $50910 $*
Individual and Family Services 210 $57240 $*
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals 100 $62290 $*
Other Residential Care Facilities $63810 $*

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
13%

40 hours
13%

More than 40 hours
74%

Working schedule

93%

7%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
2%

Every day
98%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
54%

Every day
30%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
14%

Every day
86%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
6%

Once a year
31%

Once a month
7%

Once a week
10%

Every day
46%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
7%

Slightly competitive
12%

Moderately competitive
60%

Highly competitive
20%

Extremely competitive
1%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
8%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
88%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
75%

Once a year or more
10%

Once a month or more
9%

Once a week or more
3%

Every day
4%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
59%

Once a year or more
26%

Once a month or more
15%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
74%

Once a year or more
16%

Once a month or more
10%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
1%

Bachelor’s Degree
65%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
18%

Master’s Degree
16%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Education/Teaching of Individuals in Secondary Special Education Programs

A program that focuses on the design and provision of teaching and other educational services to children with special learning needs or disabilities who are in the secondary grades. Includes instruction in diagnosing learning disabilities; developing individual education plans; curriculum development, instructional strategies, and classroom management for secondary grades special education; content, methods, and modifications in specific subject areas; issues in vocational education; and promoting successful transitions to postsecondary settings.

Education/Teaching of Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults who are surviving and recovering from brain and brain stem injuries affecting their cognitive, perceptive, and motor functions. Includes instruction in neurophysiology and neuropathology; speech, other sensory, and motor pathologies; emotional and cognitive disabilities; physical and occupational rehabilitation techniques; developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising brain-injured students, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.

Education/Teaching of Individuals Who are Developmentally Delayed

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults who exhibit slow social, physical, cognitive, or emotional growth patterns related to age, or a combination of such factors that affect learning, and that prepares individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identification of developmental delay patterns, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising developmentally delayed students, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.


Education/Teaching of Individuals with Autism

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults with autism, and that prepares individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying students with autism, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising autistic students, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.

Education/Teaching of Individuals with Speech or Language Impairments

A program that focuses on the study and design of educational services for children or adults with speech and language impairments which adversely affect their educational performance and that may prepare individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying students with speech and language impairments, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising students with speech disabilities, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.

Education/Teaching of Individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults with specific learning disabilities which adversely affect their educational performance and that may prepare individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying students with specific learning disabilities, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising students with specific learning disabilities, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.


Education/Teaching of Individuals with Vision Impairments Including Blindness

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults with visual disabilities which adversely affect their educational performance and that may prepare individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying students with visual impairments, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising blind or visually handicapped students, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.

Education/Teaching of Individuals with Orthopedic and Other Physical Health Impairments

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults with orthopedic and other health impairments which adversely affect their educational performance and that may prepare individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying physically disabled students, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising students with orthopedic and other health impairments, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.

Education/Teaching of Individuals with Multiple Disabilities

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults with multiple disabilities which adversely affect their educational performance and that may prepare individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying students with multiple disabilities, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising students with multiple handicaps, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.


Education/Teaching of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults with intellectual disabilities which adversely affect their educational performance and that may prepare individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying students with intellectual disabilities, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising mentally handicapped students, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.

Education/Teaching of Individuals with Emotional Disturbances

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults with emotional conditions which adversely affect their educational performance and that may prepare individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying students with emotional disturbances, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising individuals with emotional disturbances, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.

Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments Including Deafness

A program that focuses on the design of educational services for children or adults with hearing impairments including deafness which adversely affect their educational performance, and that may prepare individuals to teach such students. Includes instruction in identifying students with hearing impairments, including deafness, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising hearing-impaired students, counseling, and applicable laws and policies.


Special Education and Teaching

A general program that focuses on the design and provision of teaching and other educational services to children or adults with special learning needs or disabilities, and that may prepare individuals to function as special education teachers in a collaborative or team environment. Includes instruction in diagnosing learning disabilities, developing individual education plans, teaching and supervising special education students, special education counseling, and applicable laws and policies.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
13%

1 month
1%

1 to 3 months
10%

3 to 6 months
10%

6 months to 1 year
34%

1 to 2 years
11%

2 to 4 years
10%

4 to 6 years
5%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
5%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
16%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
21%

3 to 6 months
11%

6 months to 1 year
16%

1 to 2 years
23%

2 to 4 years
9%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Helper

People with this personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.

The Builder
24%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
62%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
57%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
100%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
52%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
48%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
81%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
71%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
62%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
100%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
57%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
76%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


Don’t know which career to pursue?

Take the career quiz to find careers that match your personality type.

Take The Career Quiz