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Career Profile: Special Education Teachers, Preschool

Teach academic, social, and life skills to preschool-aged 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 20,800 people employed as special education teachers, preschool in the United States. The median annual salary is $61,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $34,780 per year and senior employees earn approximately $115,020 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

  • Read books to entire classes or to small groups.
  • Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification or positive reinforcement.
  • Communicate nonverbally with children to provide them with comfort, encouragement, or positive reinforcement.
  • Teach basic skills, such as color, shape, number and letter recognition, personal hygiene, or social skills, to preschool students with special needs.
  • Develop individual educational plans (IEPs) designed to promote students' educational, physical, or social development.
  • Confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, or other professionals to develop individual education plans (IEPs).
  • Teach students personal development skills, such as goal setting, independence, or self-advocacy.
  • Develop or implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of disabilities.
  • Observe and evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
  • Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment or materials to prevent injuries and damage.
  • Administer tests to help determine children's developmental levels, needs, or potential.
  • Employ special educational strategies or techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, or memory.
  • Prepare classrooms with a variety of materials or resources for children to explore, manipulate, or use in learning activities or imaginative play.
  • Monitor teachers or teacher assistants to ensure adherence to special education program requirements.
  • Encourage students to explore learning opportunities or persevere with challenging tasks to prepare them for later grades.
  • Meet with parents or guardians to discuss their children's progress, advise them on using community resources, or teach skills for dealing with students' impairments.
  • Confer with parents, guardians, teachers, counselors, or administrators to resolve students' behavioral or academic problems.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies, or administrative regulations.
  • Establish and communicate clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects to students, parents, or guardians.
  • Modify the general preschool curriculum for special-needs students.
  • Provide assistive devices, supportive technology, or assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
  • Organize and supervise games or other recreational activities to promote physical, mental, or social development.
  • Prepare objectives, outlines, or other materials for courses of study, following curriculum guidelines or requirements.
  • Establish and enforce rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order among students.
  • Attend to children's basic needs by feeding them, dressing them, or changing their diapers.
  • Prepare reports on students and activities as required by administration.
  • Arrange indoor or outdoor space to facilitate creative play, motor-skill activities, or safety.
  • Organize and display students' work in a manner appropriate for their perceptual skills.
  • Present information in audio-visual or interactive formats, using computers, television, audio-visual aids, or other equipment, materials, or technologies.
  • Collaborate with other teachers or administrators to develop, evaluate, or revise preschool programs.
  • Plan and supervise experiential learning activities, such as class projects, field trips, or demonstrations.
  • Prepare assignments for teacher assistants or volunteers.
  • Control the inventory or distribution of classroom equipment, materials, or supplies.
  • Coordinate placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.
  • Serve meals or snacks in accordance with nutritional guidelines.
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, or teacher training workshops to maintain or improve professional competence.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
20,800
Annual Openings:
1,800
Increase in Openings by 2030:
12%
Annual Salary Range:
$34,780 - $115,020
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree