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Career Profile: Special Education Teachers, Middle School

Teach academic, social, and life skills to middle school students with learning, emotional, or physical disabilities. Includes teachers who specialize and work with students who are blind or have visual impairments; students who are deaf or have hearing impairments; and students with intellectual disabilities.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 79,400 people employed as special education teachers, middle school in the United States. The median annual salary is $61,820. Entry level employees earn approximately $46,840 per year and senior employees earn approximately $100,310 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Prepare objectives and outlines for courses of study, following curriculum guidelines or requirements of states and schools.
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence.
  • Administer standardized ability and achievement tests and interpret results to determine students' strengths and areas of need.
  • Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials to prevent injuries and damage.
  • Attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required.
  • Plan and supervise class projects, field trips, visits by guest speakers, or other experiential activities, and guide students in learning from those activities.
  • Organize and supervise games and other recreational activities to promote physical, mental, and social development.
  • Organize and label materials and display students' work.
  • Perform administrative duties, such as assisting in school libraries, hall and cafeteria monitoring, and bus loading and unloading.
  • Select, store, order, issue, and inventory classroom equipment, materials, and supplies.
  • Supervise, evaluate, and plan assignments for teacher assistants and volunteers.
  • Provide additional instruction in vocational areas.
  • Visit schools to tutor students with sensory impairments and to consult with teachers regarding students' special needs.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records, and prepare reports on children and activities, as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
  • Develop and implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of handicapping conditions.
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification and positive reinforcement.
  • Confer with parents or guardians, other teachers, counselors, and administrators to resolve students' behavioral and academic problems.
  • Confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, and professionals to develop individual educational plans designed to promote students' educational, physical, and social development.
  • Observe and evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Employ special educational strategies and techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, and memory.
  • Collaborate with other teachers that provide instruction to special education students to ensure that the students receive appropriate support.
  • Teach students personal development skills, such as goal setting, independence, and self-advocacy.
  • Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children's progress and to determine priorities for their children and their resource needs.
  • Monitor teachers and teacher assistants to ensure that they adhere to inclusive special education program requirements.
  • Prepare materials and classrooms for class activities.
  • Prepare, administer, and grade tests and assignments to evaluate students' progress.
  • Coordinate placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.
  • Use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations.
  • Instruct through lectures, discussions, and demonstrations in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics, or social studies.
  • Establish clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects and communicate those objectives to students.
  • Guide and counsel students with adjustment or academic problems, or special academic interests.
  • Instruct students in daily living skills required for independent maintenance and self-sufficiency, such as hygiene, safety, and food preparation.
  • Confer with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula.
  • Provide assistive devices, supportive technology, and assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
  • Meet with parents and guardians to provide guidance in using community resources and to teach skills for dealing with students' impairments.
  • Prepare for assigned classes and show written evidence of preparation upon request of immediate supervisors.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and policies and procedures to maintain order among students.
  • Modify the general education curriculum for special-needs students based upon a variety of instructional techniques and instructional technology.
  • Develop or write Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
79,400
Annual Openings:
6,200
Increase in Openings by 2031:
4%
Annual Salary Range:
$46,840 - $100,310
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree