Money Lessons: Highest Teacher Salaries in the USA, Part 5 – Special Education through Elementary School

Source

This article continues a series that begins with Money Lessons: Highest Teacher Salaries in the USA, Part 1 – Kindergarten.

Special education teachers instruct children who have emotional, physical or cognitive disabilities such as speech impairments, learning disabilities, mental retardation, hearing impairments, autism, and combinations of disabilities. Those specializing through elementary school cover kids from preschool until grade 6 or 8. Teacher salaries vary by employer and location. All information is from the US Department of Labor.

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin

Salaries and Employers

Special education teachers earn the following pay:

  • The 226,920 teachers through elementary school earn a mean $55,220 per year. The lowest 10 percent make a median $34,690 per year, while the top ten percent get $81,650 annually.
  • Elementary and secondary schools offer the highest employment with 212,640 teachers earning a mean $55,650 per year. Child day care services follow with $44,330 annually for 4,020 employees, and individual and family services are third at $46,660 per year for 3,460 workers.
  • The highest teacher salaries are in grantmaking and giving services at a mean $63,450 per year. Second are the offices of health practitioners other than doctors, which have 1,560 teachers receiving $59,060 annually. Ranking third are other schools and instructional services paying wages of $56,090 yearly for only 170 jobs.

Salaries and Employers

Special education teachers earn the following pay:

  • The 226,920 teachers through elementary school earn a mean $55,220 per year. The lowest 10 percent make a median $34,690 per year, while the top ten percent get $81,650 annually.
  • Elementary and secondary schools offer the highest employment with 212,640 teachers earning a mean $55,650 per year. Child day care services follow with $44,330 annually for 4,020 employees, and individual and family services are third at $46,660 per year for 3,460 workers.
  • The highest teacher salaries are in grantmaking and giving services at a mean $63,450 per year. Second are the offices of health practitioners other than doctors, which have 1,560 teachers receiving $59,060 annually. Ranking third are other schools and instructional services paying wages of $56,090 yearly for only 170 jobs.

Locations of the Best Teacher Salaries

Teacher salaries vary by location of employment.

  • The best employment for special ed teachers through elementary school is in high population states. New York is first with 24,680 jobs paying a mean annual salary of $66,850. California follows with 17,410 positions receiving $64,320 yearly, and Texas is third with 14,030 teachers getting $50,390 per year.
  • For teacher salaries, Alaska ranks first with mean wages of $72,770 per year for 640 jobs. Connecticut follows with $70,020 annually for 2,790 positions. And New York ranks third.
  • Not surprisingly, New York City, the nation’s most populous, has the most job opportunities with 13,770 positions receiving $68,250 per year. However, Atlanta, Georgia, follows with 5,690 jobs receiving $52,090 annually. Los Angeles is third with 5,410 teachers making $61,700 yearly.
  • As for metro areas with the highest pay, Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York boasts the highest numbers at $83,190 per year for 4,070 jobs. Chico, California, pays $78,680 annually for an unspecified number of jobs, and Salinas, California, is third with $78,080 yearly for only 130 spots.
  • Jobs are fewer in rural areas. The one with the best employment is the Kansas nonmetropolitan area with 870 jobs making $43,320 annually. The highest teacher salaries are in the Northern Mountains Region of California, with mean earnings at $70,550 per year for 200 jobs.

Outlook

Jobs for special education teachers through elementary schools are expected to grow by 20 percent from 2008 to 2018, predicts the Department of Labor. This faster-than-average increase is due to legislation demanding equal educational opportunities for all students. In addition, advanced technology allows diagnosis of special conditions at earlier ages. In addition, fast populations in the South and West will also require more teachers.

Series

Here are the rest of the articles the teacher salaries series:

If you’re a teacher, feel free to add more information about teacher salaries in the Comments box below.

More by this Author


5 comments

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Your hub is very informative. I always tell my interns to move to Florida or Georgia if they want to work. Special education jobs are more available because of the new laws however that soon will change because many new teachers are now getting their spec. ed. endorsements to fill this void.

I know that in Michigan there is not an increase in jobs in the coming years at any level of education. The increase in class sizes and reduction of funding for schools has cut teacher jobs drastically here.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks for that info cardelean. Jobs in general for special ed teachers will be increasing in the next few years.


Andrea 4 years ago

Your article is incredibly misleading. Special education teachers have the exact same contract as general education teachers. I suspect the reason the average salaries may be higher is because traditionally, special education teachers have had to have a master's degree to teach special education. This is no longer the case. I suppose it is possible that jobs in general will be increasing for special education, but that does not mean the demand will be increasing. As cardelean mentioned, many general education teachers are getting their special education endorsements. Also, far, far more teachers graduate than there is demand for. I am a special education teacher with four teaching certificates (elementary education, secondary English, emotional impairments, and learning disabilities). After getting laid off from my first teaching job in Michigan and then spending a year on unemployment, I finally left the state and am now working in Maryland were I get paid the exact same as a first year teacher (teachers here are on a 3 year pay freeze, so they backed me up a step).

Also, what "new laws" are you talking about? The laws that provides for an equal education for all has been around since the 70's. NCLB has encouraged schools into co-teaching models which actually means you need fewer special education teachers, not more. Caseloads are limited, so schools can't just get rid of special education teachers, but now it is much easier to have a full caseload than before. Furthermore, students with severe disabilities who require small settings is decreasing, not increasing. Your article is just flat out wrong or at best misleading.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

I appreciate the feedback and the clarification, Andrea. But as I state, the information comes directly from the U.S. Department of Labor, so your objection is with them.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Wow..I am retired now but this topic will always remain of interest to me. While there is a wide range in the amount teachers receive, it is far more than I received when I first began teaching. My salary for the year was $3 675. When I retired my salary was $58 000---and I had earned three degrees by then...the highest being an ed specialist.

I think of the high salaries some are receiving and know the cost of living eats it up in those areas. I also know that no matter how much teachers are paid, it is NEVER enough.

thanks for sharing this with us.

Sending Angels and blessings your way today :)ps

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