What are the Highest Paying Jobs in Special Education?

caerersjobsMany people are motivated to work with special-needs students due to their sincere desire to enrich the quality of their lives. When considering a career, however, many believe that in addition to personal fulfillment, there are other factors to consider like salary.

Earning a decent living is especially important in today’s tough economy. Many professionals working in the field of special education spend years getting college degrees and completing  licensing requirements, and then continue their studies within specialized certifications and advanced educational/training programs. But ultimately, people do the job because they love it, not for the money. That being said, some jobs pay more than others. And any of these rewarding careers will ensure individuals get to do what they love while still being able to make ends meet, paying back student loans and building a future in education.

Speech-language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, assess, diagnose and treat students with speech and communication disorders. Special education professionals interested in this field must earn a master’s degree in speech and language pathology.

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An education typically takes about six years to complete and includes classes in special needs, speech disorders and alternative modes of communication. In most states, speech and language pathologists must obtain a license. In addition, they seek certification through accrediting bodies such as American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The median annual salary for speech and language pathologists was $79,120 for 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The job outlook for 2019-2029 projects growth of 25%, or 40,500 jobs, which is much faster than average.

Featured Programs To Qualify As Speech and Language Pathologists

  1. The Top 10 Master’s of Speech Pathology Degree Programs
  2. The Utah State University’s Online Bachelor of Communication Disorders
  3. Top 10 Bachelors of Communicative Disorders Degree Programs
  4. Top 10 Special Education Masters Degree Programs
  5. Top 10 Special Education Masters Degree Programs Online
  6. Top 15 Accredited Special Education Masters Degree Programs Online

Educational Audiologist

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in special education, some students decide to spend another four years in college, learning to work with hearing impaired students. Educational audiologists typically hold a doctorate in audiology. Typical coursework includes anatomy, physiology and communication development.

As of 2013, all states required educational audiologists to earn a license. Typically, they also seek certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or the American Board of Audiology to add to their credibility and fulfill part of their licensing requirements. Educational audiologists visit students at school and take referrals in their clinics to assess clients’ degree of hearing loss and help manage hearing disabilities in the classroom.

Educational audiologists earned a median annual salary of $77,600 as of May 2019, according to the BLS. Job outlook projections are positive for the next decade as more audiologists will be needed as the Baby Boomer generation ages. BLS projects growth at 13 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Featured Programs To Qualify As Educational Audiologists

  1. University of Western Kentucky’s Online Masters in Speech Language Pathology
  2. Top 15 Accredited Online Special Education Doctoral Degree Programs of 2016
  3. Top 15 Accredited Schools Online Offering Doctoral Degrees In Special Education
  4. Top 10 Online Special Education Certificate Programs
  5. Top 10 Doctor of Audiology (AuD) Degrees

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with children with a wide range of disabilities including autism, emotional disorder, behavioral disorder, learning disability or speech disorder. To become a special education teacher, you’ll need to earn your bachelor’s degree in education, special education or a specialized field, such as math or biology. During college, you’ll also complete fieldwork, including student teaching. Every state requires public special education teachers to have a license, which typically requires providing certified evidence you completed your degree and passing an examination.

The median pay for special education teachers as of 2019 was $61,030, according to the BLS. Salary greatly depends on the grade level an individual teachers with teachers at the secondary level typically making more than at the elementary level. The BLS estimates 3% employment growth during the decade from 2019 to 2029, but Education Week said that 17% of special education teachers left the field from 2008 to 2018.

Featured Programs To Qualify As Special Education Teachers

  1. Western Governor’s Online Bachelor’s of Arts in Special Education
  2. Top 10 Special Education Masters Degree Programs
  3. Top 10 Special Education Masters Degree Programs Online
  4. Top 15 Accredited Special Education Masters Degree Programs Online

Adaptive Special Education Teacher

Adaptive special education teachers enjoy helping people with disabilities overcome their challenges to achieve physical goals. These professionals develop, implement and monitor a special needs student’s physical education program.

Approximately 13 states require adaptive special education teachers to have a separate license in addition to a teaching degree. While requirements vary by state, typically you have to demonstrate taking a certain number of semester hours in adaptive physical education and pass an examination. Once you are hired, adaptive special education teachers must follow the adapted physical education national standards.

As of 2021, the average salary for adaptive special education teachers was $45,726, according to Glassdoor.

Featured Programs To Qualify As Adaptive Special Education Teachers

Early Intervention Specialist

If you’re interested in helping small children with disabilities, consider parlaying your special education career into a rewarding career as an early intervention specialist. These special education professionals work with children and young adults to diffuse crises, help problem-solve before a situation escalates and teach new skills. You’ll focus on problems including academic difficulties, teen pregnancy and behavioral issues.

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After achieving your certification as a special education teacher, earn your certificate in early intervention by taking a college course, which is typically about 15-20 semester hours. This training typically requires an internship. As of 2021, the median salary for early intervention specialists was $61,172, according to Glassdoor.

Featured Programs To Qualify As Early Intervention Specialists