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6 Reasons To Study Special Education

Teaching is among the most meaningful and impactful careers a person can have. But even more rewarding than regular teaching is special education teaching. 

Special educators have the privilege of empowering those with diverse needs to gain knowledge, skills, confidence, and independence. They make a lasting difference in their students’ lives. 

However, there is a severe nationwide shortage of qualified special education teachers. Those who pursue this field have immense opportunities to change lives by filling a vital societal role. 

Read on for six compelling reasons to pursue a master’s in special education and launch a career guiding exceptional students. Discover how you can forge lasting connections, find immense fulfillment, and build brighter futures by becoming a special education teacher.

1) Transform Lives Through the Power of Teaching  

All teaching has the power to change lives. Special education teachers have an even more direct and lasting impact on their students. Their patient guidance builds confidence and unlocks potential in students who may have otherwise fallen through the cracks.

Seeing struggling children blossom under their care is an unmatched feeling. Graduates consistently cite watching their students achieve milestones as the most rewarding aspect of special education teaching.

Be the teacher who helps a nonverbal child say their first word. Guide a student with dyslexia to fluent reading. See an anxious child with autism make a friend for the first time. Special educators cultivate these small miracles daily through their commitment. 

Beyond academics, special education teachers impart social-emotional skills, strengthening their students’ self-esteem, communication, and coping abilities. This holistic nurturing helps exceptional youth build satisfying lives. Special educators literally transform trajectories by ensuring all students, regardless of disability, have opportunities to learn, grow, and belong. An online masters in special education provides the ideal training to empower these transformations. Dedicated online programs allow working educators to acquire advanced skills and licensure for special needs teaching on a flexible schedule. 

2) Make a Lasting and Personal Impact Through Relationships:  

More than regular education, special education teaching involves forging close connections with students based on trust and understanding. The lower student-to-teacher ratio allows for relationship building. Teachers often work with the same small cohort for multiple years, providing continuity. This fosters deep mutual care.

These meaningful relationships lead to students retaining information better when taught by someone familiar who knows their needs. Students feel comfortable asking questions and seeking help from teachers who know them well. And special educators gain similar fulfillment from guiding children they connect with over the long term.

Watching students evolve, gaining skills, and feeling cared for as individuals fuel teachers’ passion. Teachers become family to some students. After graduation, many special educators maintain ties as mentors. Graduates report that seeing their former students living successfully is the greatest joy of teaching special education. Their influence resonates across their students’ lifespans.

3) Tap Into Creativity Through Differentiated Instruction:  

Teaching special education requires immense creativity. Teachers must individualize instruction utilizing multi-sensory modalities tailored to each learner’s strengths and needs. Rather than following a single lesson plan, special educators flexibly switch gears utilizing a variety of novel activities and approaches to optimize retention and growth.

This demands constantly developing fresh, outside-the-box ways to present information. However, the ability to innovate consistently and find new strategies to reach challenging students makes special education teaching endlessly stimulating. No two student needs are alike, so no two lessons will ever be the same.

Whether developing vibrant visual aids, incorporating a student’s special interest into math story problems, setting up hands-on discovery stations, or making vocabulary reviews into a game, special educators exercise creativity muscles daily by devising customized lessons. For those who love variety and thinking on their feet, special education fosters constant innovation.

4) Become an Expert in Child Development and Psychology:

Special education teachers gain deep insight into childhood development, exceptionalities, and educational psychology. Required coursework covers topics like:

  • Disabilities: causes, characteristics, impacts on learning for conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hearing impairment, etc.
  • Child cognition: theories of intellectual, social, and emotional development at different ages and stages.
  • Educational psychology: principles of learning, motivation, standardized testing, giftedness, and more.
  • Behavioral management: techniques to improve focus, reduce disruptions, and promote positive behavior. 
  • Assessment - using testing to identify disabilities, gauge skill levels, and monitor student progress.

This immersive education provides a grounding in the science behind learning differences. Teachers understand these complexities and see their students’ full potential. It is deeply fulfilling work for those intrigued by the psychology and neuroscience behind learning.

5) Collaborate with Dedicated Teams:

Unlike some teaching fields, special education involves strong teamwork. Special educators partner with general education teachers, paraprofessionals, speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, occupational therapists, parents, and administrators to holistically serve each student. This collaborative approach ensures they build on others’ insights.

For example, the special educator might meet with a general education teacher to modify the curriculum or coordinate accommodations for a mainstream student. They may plan lessons with a speech therapist targeting reading and articulation skills. Parent outreach helps gain a deeper perspective on effective techniques used at home.

Working cooperatively with passionate colleagues toward the shared purpose of nurturing kids creates a supportive community. Educators can learn different approaches from their teammates while providing their own expertise. This teamwork combats isolation and burnout. Special educators touch more lives by collaborating across disciplines. 

6) Make a Fair Salary with Increased Earning Potential 

Given the immense importance and difficulty of their work, special education teachers earn fair pay that increases with experience and specialization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for special education teachers is $62,950 annually. 

In high-need districts, salaries often exceed these averages, especially for applicants with multiple endorsements. Teachers early in their careers can expect consecutive pay increases in most school systems as they gain seniority. Obtaining a master’s degree bumps educators up the salary scale. 

Beyond base pay, special educators who take on leadership roles like department chair or curriculum coordinator qualify for higher stipends. Many pursue summer school or after-school program teaching for extra income. For teachers who value job stability and rewarding work over maximizing earnings, special education offers suitable compensation.


From building lifelong relationships with students to exercising creativity through innovative lessons, special education promises immense personal and professional fulfillment. By dedicating themselves to empowering students with diverse learning needs, special education teachers provide better outcomes and opportunities for the children most at risk of being left behind. Answer the call and embark on this meaningful career path if you feel compelled to make a positive difference in the lives of exceptional learners.