Graduates of Special Education enjoy excellent prospects. The educational and health services sector has had higher job opportunity rates than other industries. As of December 2017, according to the Job Openings report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate for job openings is at 4.6% for educational and health services, while the total for the same in all other industries is only 3.8%.
The areas of work are typically divided into two categories. First is the usual teaching route, wherein graduates work in schools. Second is the therapist route where work is primarily focused on an individual. Teachers enjoy workload stability but therapists get paid more, usually by the hour.
The most popular track for graduates will be as a general, special education teacher. Demand for special education teachers grows by 8% per year and as of 2017, the median wage was at $58,980, according to BLS data.
If you have a knack for work that requires you to be fully engaged in the experience, you can be a school social worker. These professionals earn by the hour and they receive between $35,000 and $58,000 annually.
Another excellent career path lies in the school counselor route. As they enjoy a median pay of $55,410 per year and a 13% job growth and demand increase, school counselors need to have a state license.
Schools are currently experiencing a shortage of social workers, rendering the growth rate for this role at an astounding 16%. Some schools require just a bachelor’s degree, but colleges and some high schools may be looking for clinical social workers, so a license is necessary together with a master’s degree.
As a requirement, Special Education graduates who are interested in working for public schools need to be holders of a bachelor’s degree and are state-certified. Private schools require a lot less of their employees, requiring only a bachelor’s degree. State certification is a plus for landing other jobs relating to discipline. In most colleges and universities, it is required that special education teachers have a master’s degree, but may accept teachers who have had at least a year of experience as a school counselor.
Special education graduates also get the job opportunity of entry-level recreational therapist, who commands a median salary of $22.92 per hour. Therapists work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other venues where their social and health services are needed.
Therapists also enjoy financially rewarding specialized careers. Special Education graduates who love to work with language can be speech therapists, educational audiologists for those with hearing disabilities, and even early intervention therapists for at-risk children. Most of the specialist jobs do require a license but are seeing 2-digit growth every year due to the demand and the limited pool of talents.
Therapists deal with little to no paperwork; “physical” and “social” tasks mainly characterize their job. Graduates also enjoy immense work-life balance since the role entails outings and events, like a trip to a swimming pool, and engaging patients in drama and music sessions.
Special Education is a very gratifying career. Entry-level jobs have above-average pay, and the work is rewarding. Every day, you will impact the life of someone is a positive way, and the world becomes a better place because of unsung heroes like you.