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Teaching Special Education in Texas

Friday, April 01, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Teaching special education in Texas can be a financially rewarding career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for special education teachers is around $55,000. The largest salaries tend to go to those teaching special education in high schools, and salaries decrease as you move down in grade level, with preschool special education teachers making around $52,500. Those teaching special education, though, face unique challenges.

Graduation rates

Although No Child Left Behind sets standards that states must achieve, these standards often come with little extra help. According to Education Week, the largest proportion of special needs students — those classified with having “specific learning disabilities” or “speech and language impairments” — “are expected, with appropriate supports, to achieve at grade-level standards.” This means that teaching special education faces more challenges to meet the same standards.

Achieving with less

Fortunately, Texas teachers are resourceful. According to the Texas Association of School Boards, although Texas ranks 48th in per capita funding, teachers in Texas have ensured that a full 93 percent of students graduate. These figures ensure the job security of those teaching special education. According to Special Education Guide, although Texas has a smaller percentage of special education students (9 percent) than the rest of the country (13 percent), “due to Texas’ large size and multiple urban areas with dense populations, the state employs nearly 20,000 special education teachers to serve in its 1,265 districts.”

Getting there

One route to teaching special education in Texas is a master’s degree in special education. A handful of programs are available across the state, some of which are available as online degrees. Further, special programs such as student loan deferment or cancellation can offset the cost of a master’s degree in special education since the U.S. Department of Education considers special education a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA).

While teaching special education presents unique challenges for educators, there are programs to assist those who choose this challenging career. Special education students need help from qualified, dedicated teachers. A master’s degree in special education may be the right choice for someone looking to make a difference while maintaining job security.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online M.Ed. in Special Education program.


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