Lucrative Career Options if You Have a Special Education Degree

earn your special education degree online

Special education is a complex enterprise developed in response to the needs of exceptional children and individuals with disabilities. A career in special education can be professionally and personally rewarding as it allows you to eliminate the obstacles that keep people with disabilities away from learning and from full and active participation in school and society. 

Whether you are a recent graduate, an experienced teacher looking for a change, or someone having trouble finding work in this field, this article will help you understand the opportunities provided by special education degree programs.

Special Education Careers in A School Setting

Special education professionals work as a team in school settings to help children with distinct needs. They are responsible for assisting such students to access education, daily living routines, and interactions with friends. 

To work in a school setting as a special educator, one must hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in special education. Nowadays, many universities and colleges allow students to attain their bachelor’s or masters in special education online by providing degree programs on their websites. 

Through these programs, you can pursue the following careers in a school setting,

  • Special Education Administrator: Special education administrators supervise special education programs. They develop and direct curriculum to special education teachers. They also manage budgets and the hiring process of special education teachers. 
  • Instructional Coordinator: An instructional coordinator works beside struggling teachers to help create curriculum and lessons that meet the needs of exceptional students in inclusive classrooms.
  • Special Education Teacher: A special education teacher is responsible for creating modifications and adaptations to the curriculum to help students with disabilities achieve similar outcomes as their peers. 

By working one-on-one and in groups, teaching a wide range of subjects and fundamental skills like literacy, these teachers provide their students with the opportunities that only a few educational careers can offer.

Several types of special education teachers work in a school setting, such as,

  • Early Childhood Special Education Teacher
  • Special Education Preschool Teacher: Works with preschool students who have special needs. 
  • ESE (Elementary School Educator) Teacher: Works with students with two kinds of disabilities. 
  • High-incidence disabilities (such as resource and inclusion) and low-incidence disabilities involving disabilities, such as,
  • Emotional Or Behavioral Disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing 
  • Dyslexia 
  • Physical disabilities 
  • Special Education Case Manager: Special education case managers ensure that each child with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) gets the support they need. Moreover, they work with the school to fulfill the assigned responsibilities and meet each student’s legal obligations. 
  • Educational Diagnostician: An educational diagnostician conducts academic and emotional assessments to evaluate students with learning challenges and identifies particular issues they may have to formulate an intervention. 
  • Information And Communication Technology (ICT) Teacher: Similar to an educational technologist, an ICT teacher’s job is to teach and enhance basic ICT skills in students at all levels of education. 

To lead an inclusive class, they differentiate their lessons to accommodate the unique learning requirements of students with special needs.

  • Resource Specialist Teacher: A resource specialist teacher is responsible for providing education, development, and emotional opportunities for students with special needs and advocating for funding and support from the school and district. 

Special Education Careers Outside of Teaching

  • Early Intervention Specialist: An early intervention specialist assesses development and provides interventions to children (as young as four years old) who either have or are at risk of a developmental delay. 
  • Remedial Skills Instructor: While mainly being present in schools, a remedial skills instructor can work in nonprofit organizations as an instructor to teach basic skills programs to adults and school-age children who still need to graduate. 
  • Private tutor: Working as a private tutor might be perfect for special education teachers seeking employment outside the classroom. Furthermore, those with an entrepreneurial spirit can also offer tutoring services independently.
  • Special Education Advocate: A special education advocate is responsible for representing the best interests of their students in the legal system and seeking positive reform in education legislation at the state and national levels. 
  • Field Trip Coordinator: A field trip coordinator works for museums, libraries, and other facilities that offer school field trip programs. They handle tasks like marketing field trips to schools, coordinating schedules, and overseeing content. 
  • Publishing Company Trainer: With a special education degree, a publishing company trainer can work with publishing companies who train them to produce books and instructional materials designed for special education classrooms. 
  • Vocational coordinator: A vocational coordinator observes how individuals with developmental disabilities learn, implements interventions designed to adapt to diverse learners, oversees progress, and works with families to find resources specific to their situation. 
  • Corporate Trainer: A corporate trainer is concerned with providing employee development training for corporations. They help develop a curriculum and teach workers new skills, strategies, or systems, including those with disabilities. 

Career Opportunities with An Advanced Degree

If you have earned your bachelor’s degree in special education and are weighing employment and graduate school options. 

These are some of the career paths available to you.

    • Post Secondary Instructor (College Professor): Special education teachers with master’s degrees can work as adjunct instructors for two-year programs. The best opportunities will likely exist at universities or colleges offering diploma, certificate, and associate degree programs.
    • School Social Worker: With their unique knowledge and skills, school social workers can assist with mental health concerns, positive behavioral support, academic and classroom support, consultation with teachers, parents, and administrators, and provide individual and group counseling/therapy. 
    • Psychologist: Psychologists help students with emotional or behavioral challenges by assessing them and providing proper resources to help them address their challenges.
    • Occupational Therapist: Occupational therapists work with students and clients to learn skills, such as dressing, household chores, and hygiene, that they can use daily.
    • Speech-language pathologists: Also known as speech therapists, help students improve their literacy and communication skills by working on specific goals.
  • Physical Therapist: Physical therapists assist students and clients with physical challenges which prevent them from exploring the world like most other humans. 

Physical therapists with special education degrees often teach children to use the equipment that suits their needs.

Suppose you are considering starting a career working with special needs children or adults or trying to find something new in this rich field. 

In that case, it is essential to research and learn about the opportunities presented by special education degree programs.


While many special education graduates begin their careers in a classroom, they can find work in many other areas. The degree in special education offers specialization options, preparing one to work with clients of a particular age, specific educational needs, or in specific support areas that help improve the overall experience for people who require physical or mental assistance. 

We hope you learned something from this article. If we missed anything, please tell us in the comments below.