The Best Jobs for Those with Special Education Degrees

Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Special Education Teacher; M.S. SpEd

jobWe all know that special education teachers assist students with specific learning needs. Whether the problem is physical, psychological or mental, these students must be taught by individuals who are professionally trained in this field. State and federal law mandates that all students with disabilities are entitled to an adequate education. Some remarkable teachers are drawn to working with such students and subsequently pursue the appropriate training and certification necessary to seek employment in this field. Many of these professionals can choose from a broad range of careers with proper training and skill. Below are some of the best jobs for graduates with special education degrees:

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers typically work as part of a team of individuals who deliver education services to students with special needs. They may work with occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physical therapists, instructional assistants or resource room personnel. Specifically, such teachers help to implement something referred to as the student’s Individual Education Plan–IEP.

Special Education Teacher’s Assistant

Another option for someone who has acquired a degree in special education is to work as a teacher’s assistant. Such positions are available in essentially any school district and in private schools as well.

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Special Education Program Coordinator

A special education program coordinator plays a vital role in the classroom. He or she is responsible for working behind the scenes to ensure the physical, intellectual, and social success of special needs students. In certain instances, the presence of an education program coordinator may be requested during class, so that he or she can observe and evaluate a teacher’s performance. This position may also be referred to as an instructional coordinator.

Speech Pathologists

An individual with a degree in special education may also seek work as a speech pathologist. Those working in this capacity assist students to overcome speech impediments. The latter may be something with which the student was afflicted from birth or the result of trauma or injury.


Working in the field of audiology is also an option for those with a special education degree. Although in some states a doctorate degree is required in order to be licensed in this capacity, some states only require a master’s degree. Special educators in the field of audiology work with those who have hearing or other ear related problems that make learning difficult.

Early Intervention Special Educators

Due to recent legislation promoting early intervention, early childhood special educators are in high demand. Teachers in this field work with infants through preschoolers who have specials needs. They also sometimes assist autistic students or children with similar disabilities. In most cases, a master’s degree is needed to work in this capacity.

Governmental Jobs

Special education degree holders also have the option of working for the government or as lobbyists. In this way, they can influence policies and legislation, and play a role in the development of specific laws and regulations. Those who hold such a degree may also choose to work for a special education foundation or nonprofit group. Such work can be highly rewarding for teachers in this field.