Special Education Teachers, Middle School
Teach academic, social, and life skills to middle school students with learning, emotional, or physical disabilities. Includes teachers who specialize and work with students who are blind or have visual impairments; students who are deaf or have hearing impairments; and students with intellectual disabilities.
Sample of reported job titles: Exceptional Children Teacher (EC Teacher), Exceptional Student Education Teacher (ESE Teacher), Inclusion Teacher, Intervention Specialist, Learning Support Teacher, Middle School Special Education Teacher, Self-Contained Special Education Teacher, Special Education Resource Teacher, Special Education Teacher, Teacher
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Establish and enforce rules for behavior and policies and procedures to maintain order among students.
- Modify the general education curriculum for special-needs students based upon a variety of instructional techniques and instructional technology.
- Develop or write Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students.
- Maintain accurate and complete student records, and prepare reports on children and activities, as required by laws, district policies, and administrative regulations.
- Develop and implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of handicapping conditions.
- Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification and positive reinforcement.
- Confer with parents or guardians, other teachers, counselors, and administrators to resolve students’ behavioral and academic problems.
- Confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, and professionals to develop individual educational plans designed to promote students’ educational, physical, and social development.
- Observe and evaluate students’ performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
- Employ special educational strategies and techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, and memory.
- Collaborate with other teachers that provide instruction to special education students to ensure that the students receive appropriate support.
- Teach students personal development skills, such as goal setting, independence, and self-advocacy.
- Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.
- Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children’s progress and to determine priorities for their children and their resource needs.
- Monitor teachers and teacher assistants to ensure that they adhere to inclusive special education program requirements.
- Prepare materials and classrooms for class activities.
- Prepare, administer, and grade tests and assignments to evaluate students’ progress.
- Coordinate placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.
- Use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations.
- Instruct through lectures, discussions, and demonstrations in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics, or social studies.
- Establish clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects and communicate those objectives to students.
- Guide and counsel students with adjustment or academic problems, or special academic interests.
- Instruct students in daily living skills required for independent maintenance and self-sufficiency, such as hygiene, safety, and food preparation.
- Confer with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons promoting learning, following approved curricula.
- Provide assistive devices, supportive technology, and assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
- Meet with parents and guardians to provide guidance in using community resources and to teach skills for dealing with students’ impairments.
- Prepare for assigned classes and show written evidence of preparation upon request of immediate supervisors.
- Prepare objectives and outlines for courses of study, following curriculum guidelines or requirements of states and schools.
- Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence.
- Administer standardized ability and achievement tests and interpret results to determine students’ strengths and areas of need.
- Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials to prevent injuries and damage.
- Attend staff meetings and serve on committees, as required.
- Plan and supervise class projects, field trips, visits by guest speakers, or other experiential activities, and guide students in learning from those activities.
- Organize and supervise games and other recreational activities to promote physical, mental, and social development.
- Organize and label materials and display students’ work.
- Perform administrative duties, such as assisting in school libraries, hall and cafeteria monitoring, and bus loading and unloading.
- Select, store, order, issue, and inventory classroom equipment, materials, and supplies.
- Supervise, evaluate, and plan assignments for teacher assistants and volunteers.
- Provide additional instruction in vocational areas.
- Visit schools to tutor students with sensory impairments and to consult with teachers regarding students’ special needs.
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- Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Microsoft SharePoint
- Computer based training software — Common Curriculum; EasyCBM; Padlet; Schoology (see all 5 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Blackboard software
- Device drivers or system software — Screen magnification software; Screen reader software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Multi-media educational software — Seesaw
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Apple macOS
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint ; Pear Deck
- Project management software — Google Classroom
- Spell checkers — Hand held spell checkers
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Video creation and editing software — Flipgrid; Video editing software
- Voice recognition software — Voice activated software
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
- Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
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- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
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- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
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- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Establish rules or policies governing student behavior.
- Modify teaching methods or materials to accommodate student needs.
- Develop strategies or programs for students with special needs.
- Design psychological or educational treatment procedures or programs.
- Develop educational programs.
- Maintain student records.
- Prepare reports detailing student activities or performance.
- Discuss student progress with parents or guardians.
- Teach life skills.
- Discuss problems or issues with supervisors.
- Collaborate with other teaching professionals to develop educational programs.
- Evaluate student work.
- Monitor student performance.
- Monitor student behavior, social development, or health.
- Assist students with special educational needs.
- Plan educational activities.
- Direct activities of subordinates.
- Set up classroom materials or equipment.
- Administer tests to assess educational needs or progress.
- Prepare tests.
- Apply multiple teaching methods.
- Create technology-based learning materials.
- Develop instructional objectives.
- Advise students on academic or career matters.
- Document lesson plans.
- Evaluate performance of educational staff.
- Supervise student research or internship work.
- Attend training sessions or professional meetings to develop or maintain professional knowledge.
- Teach others to use technology or equipment.
- Teach vocational courses.
- Serve on institutional or departmental committees.
- Plan experiential learning activities.
- Display student work.
- Supervise school or student activities.
- Distribute instructional or library materials.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Order instructional or library materials or equipment.
- Tutor students who need extra assistance.
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- Contact With Others — 93% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Electronic Mail — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 81% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 49% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “Some freedom.”
- Telephone — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 44% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Time Pressure — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 48% responded “Very important results.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 63% responded “Some freedom.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 60% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Deal With External Customers — 46% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 56% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Every day.”
- Public Speaking — 56% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 32% responded “More than half the time.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 33% responded “Every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 44% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 42% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 29% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 38% responded “Less than half the time.”
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|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor’s degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: SA Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
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- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
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- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$61,820 annual|
|Employment (2020)||78,500 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||6,500|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Alpha Delta Kappa International Honorary Organization for Women Educators
- American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- Council for Exceptional Children
- Council for Learning Disabilities
- Council of Administrators of Special Education
- International Dyslexia Association
- International Literacy Association
- Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education
- National Association of Special Education Teachers
- National Association of State Directors of Special Education
- National Education Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Special education teachers
- The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International
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