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Money Lessons: Highest Teacher Salaries in the USA, Part 6 – Special Education for Middle School

Updated on July 7, 2011

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

Special education teachers focus on children who have emotional, physical or cognitive disabilities. Those handling middle school specialize in grades 5 through 8 or in ages 10 through 13. Teacher salaries differ according to employer and location. All information comes from the US Department of Labor.

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin

Salaries and Employers

Salaries of special education teachers in middle school are as follows:

  • The nation’s 100,510 professionals earn a mean $56,500 annually, with median lows at $36,360 per year, and median highs at $82,860 yearly.
  • Elementary and secondary schools are the biggest employers with 99,520 jobs receiving a mean $56,540 per year. Educational support services come next with 390 positions at $51,940 per year, followed by other residential care facilities, where 120 teachers get $49,780 yearly.
  • The highest teacher salaries are in state government at a mean $62,350 per year for only 120 workers. Elementary and secondary schools are next, and ranking third are residential mental retardation, mental health and substance abuse facilities. Wages here run $55,580 per year for 120 jobs.

Locations of the Best Teacher Salaries

The location of the job can determine teacher salaries:

  • The state with the highest employment for special ed teachers in middle school is New York, where 10,790 professionals make a mean $70,680 per year. It is followed by Texas, with 6,670 teachers getting pay of $50,530 yearly. Number three is Georgia, with 5,620 employees making $50,740 annually.
  • For highest wages, New York tops the list, followed by Alaska at a mean $67,370 per year for 520 jobs. Connecticut is next at $67,250 for 1,310 positions.
  • For employment in cities, New York City shows the highest with 7,190 jobs earning a mean $72,080 annually. Atlanta, Georgia, is next with 3,820 positions earning $51,080 yearly, followed by Chicago, with 2,930 teachers receiving $62,070 annually.
  • The best paying metropolitan regions start with Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York, where pay is a mean $83,840 per year for 1,390 positions. Orange County, California, ranks second with $80,540 annually for 370 jobs. Niles/Benton Harbor, Michigan, follows with wages at $76,940 for 130 teachers.
  • In nonmetropolitan regions, other parts of North Carolina’s rural areas show the highest employment at 420 positions earning $43,120 per year. The rural regions with the best pay are Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard at $64,450 for 30 jobs.


The Labor Department sees jobs for special education teachers in middle school growing at 18 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than average. This should also provide faster-than-average increases in teacher salaries. Prospects will be best for those who work with children who have either multiple disabilities or severe disabilities such as autism. Population growth is fueling the increases in those categories of children.


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.


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