Special Education Teachers, Preschool
Teach academic, social, and life skills to preschool-aged 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: Early Childhood Special Education Teacher (ECSE Teacher), Early Intervention Teacher, Exceptional Student Education Teacher (ESE Teacher), Handicapped Teacher, Preschool Special Education Teacher, Resource Teacher, Severe/Profound Mental Handicaps 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 | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Employ special educational strategies or techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, or memory.
- Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing techniques such as behavior modification or positive reinforcement.
- Communicate nonverbally with children to provide them with comfort, encouragement, or positive reinforcement.
- Teach basic skills, such as color, shape, number and letter recognition, personal hygiene, or social skills, to preschool students with special needs.
- Develop individual educational plans (IEPs) designed to promote students’ educational, physical, or social development.
- Confer with parents, administrators, testing specialists, social workers, or other professionals to develop individual education plans (IEPs).
- Teach students personal development skills, such as goal setting, independence, or self-advocacy.
- Develop or implement strategies to meet the needs of students with a variety of disabilities.
- Observe and evaluate students’ performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.
- Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment or materials to prevent injuries and damage.
- Administer tests to help determine children’s developmental levels, needs, or potential.
- Establish and enforce rules for behavior and procedures for maintaining order among students.
- Attend to children’s basic needs by feeding them, dressing them, or changing their diapers.
- Prepare classrooms with a variety of materials or resources for children to explore, manipulate, or use in learning activities or imaginative play.
- Monitor teachers or teacher assistants to ensure adherence to special education program requirements.
- Encourage students to explore learning opportunities or persevere with challenging tasks to prepare them for later grades.
- Meet with parents or guardians to discuss their children’s progress, advise them on using community resources, or teach skills for dealing with students’ impairments.
- Confer with parents, guardians, teachers, counselors, or administrators to resolve students’ behavioral or academic problems.
- Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by laws, district policies, or administrative regulations.
- Establish and communicate clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects to students, parents, or guardians.
- Modify the general preschool curriculum for special-needs students.
- Provide assistive devices, supportive technology, or assistance accessing facilities, such as restrooms.
- Organize and supervise games or other recreational activities to promote physical, mental, or social development.
- Prepare objectives, outlines, or other materials for courses of study, following curriculum guidelines or requirements.
- Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, or teacher training workshops to maintain or improve professional competence.
- Read books to entire classes or to small groups.
- Prepare reports on students and activities as required by administration.
- Arrange indoor or outdoor space to facilitate creative play, motor-skill activities, or safety.
- Organize and display students’ work in a manner appropriate for their perceptual skills.
- Present information in audio-visual or interactive formats, using computers, television, audio-visual aids, or other equipment, materials, or technologies.
- Collaborate with other teachers or administrators to develop, evaluate, or revise preschool programs.
- Plan and supervise experiential learning activities, such as class projects, field trips, or demonstrations.
- Prepare assignments for teacher assistants or volunteers.
- Control the inventory or distribution of classroom equipment, materials, or supplies.
- Coordinate placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.
- Serve meals or snacks in accordance with nutritional guidelines.
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- Computer based training software — Children’s educational software
- Data base user interface and query software — American Sign Language Browser
- Device drivers or system software — Screen magnification software; Screen reader software
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Drawing software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
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- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- 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.
- 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.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
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- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- 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).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- 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).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- 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).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- 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.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- 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.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- 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.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Develop strategies or programs for students with special needs.
- Teach life skills.
- Collaborate with other teaching professionals to develop educational programs.
- Encourage students.
- Monitor student performance.
- Evaluate student work.
- Monitor student behavior, social development, or health.
- Teach others to use technology or equipment.
- Provide for basic needs of children.
- Administer tests to assess educational needs or progress.
- Establish rules or policies governing student behavior.
- Set up classroom materials or equipment.
- Direct activities of subordinates.
- Develop instructional objectives.
- Discuss student progress with parents or guardians.
- Discuss problems or issues with supervisors.
- Maintain student records.
- Modify teaching methods or materials to accommodate student needs.
- Assist students with special educational needs.
- Develop instructional materials.
- Attend training sessions or professional meetings to develop or maintain professional knowledge.
- Plan educational activities.
- Read to students.
- Prepare reports detailing student activities or performance.
- Display student work.
- Create technology-based learning materials.
- Plan experiential learning activities.
- Distribute instructional or library materials.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
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- Contact With Others — 98% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 66% responded “Extremely important.”
- Electronic Mail — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 72% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 71% responded “Some freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 49% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 35% responded “Very important results.”
- Telephone — 28% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 30% responded “Very important.”
- Letters and Memos — 51% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling — 36% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Spend Time Standing — 48% responded “About half the time.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 28% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 32% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 24% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 41% responded “Important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 54% responded “40 hours.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 32% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 32% responded “About half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 34% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
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|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
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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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- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- 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.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
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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.
- 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.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$61,400 annual|
|Employment (2020)||20,800 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Faster than average (10% to 15%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||1,800|
|Top industries (2020)||
Health Care and Social Assistance
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.
- American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
- Council for Exceptional Children
- National Association of Special Education Teachers
- National Education Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Special education teachers
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