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What’s the Average Salary With a Masters in Special Education?

If you’re happy in your career, why bother going back to school, right? Well, actually, even if you love your current job in special education, if you get a master’s degree in this field, you’ll not only be qualified for higher-level positions, but you’ll also often be offered a higher salary in your current position. Getting a master’s degree in this field to be a more advanced special education teacher certainly takes time and can be expensive, but the average salary you can expect after you graduate often makes it worth your time and money.

The exact amount you’ll earn with a masters in special education depends on your career path, as well as a number of other factors. Here is a sampling of some of the different jobs you can take and that average starting salary for these careers if you have an advanced degree:

  • Pre-School or Kindergarten Special Ed Teacher: $44,331
  • Elementary School Special Ed Teacher: $51,304
  • Middle School Special Ed Teacher: $49,910
  • Secondary School Special Ed Teacher: $46,892

As you can see, you can usually expect a starting salary of $40,000 to $50,000 in the field of special education, which is about $10,000 per year more than you would make if you were teaching with just a bachelor’s degree. In addition, many schools offer bonuses to teachers, as well as cumulative vacation and sick days.

You can also earn more by moving up the ranks in the teaching world. Some teachers enjoy working one-on-one or in small groups with special education students. However, if your primary goal is to make more money, as well as have control over things like funding, program goals, and more, you should seek a position in administration or curriculum coordination.

Special education teachers can also expect higher salaries if they work at private schools. Private schools charge a fee to parents and usually do not get state funding, while public schools are free, but the benefit is that students with mental and physical handicaps can get very specialized learning from teachers. Many private schools only hire applicants who have a master’s degree or higher, so you may not even be eligible for these higher-paying jobs if you don’t go back to school for your degree.

Keep in mind that location makes a difference as well. If you’re working is a school district located in a challenging neighborhood, you may be offered more money. At the same time, school districts in cities often have very strict funding constraints. When it comes to special education, many schools get extra funding from the government to cover unique programs, so if you’re not rooted to one specific place in the country, “shop around” so to speak and check out school districts in a number of locations.

Even if you are content with your current job, getting your master’s degree in special education will definitively teach you more about how to be a good teacher to students with mental and physical challenges. So, even if you aren’t concerned about making more money, it can make sense to go back to school. Many school districts will even help you pay for an advanced education.

Top Master of Special Education Degrees

Special education is teaching that caters to the individual differences of students with special needs, including autism, communication difficulties, developmental disorders, learning difficulties, emotional disorders, and physical disabilities. Teachers of special education programs are usually required to have a master's degree in teaching, general education, or special education. The following schools each offer online degrees in these subjects.

Liberty University
MA: Teaching Special Edu w/Lic.
Liberty University – At Liberty University's Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education program (M.Ed. also available), teachers are prepared to pass the following endorsements: Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Special Education. The Advanced Master of Education degree likewise prepares graduates for a license in and Administration/Supervision, School Counseling, and Program Specialization.
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Concordia University
MEd: Special Education
Concordia University – The M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Special Education will hone necessary instructional skills needed for teaching in a special education classroom. Enrollees will learn to evaluate student learning progress, modify instructional plans accordingly and implement a curriculum special needs students.
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