7 Careers You Can Pursue With a Degree in Special Education

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Special education is a critical field that prepares graduates for a wide range of careers that involve working with individuals with special needs. Students pursuing a degree in special education learn about the unique needs of individuals with disabilities and how to teach and support them to reach their full potential effectively. As the demand for professionals in this field continues to grow, the importance of special education has become increasingly apparent.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the exciting careers you can pursue with a degree in special education and how they contribute to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.

1. Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists examine and treat speech and language impairments in people of all ages. They may also work with people with difficulty swallowing or cognitive-communication disorders. With a projected growth of 21% from 2021 to 2031, this field offers a lot of potential for those interested in pursuing this career. As a speech-language pathologist, you may work in various settings that involve hospitals, rehab facilities, private practices, and schools. Your responsibilities may include conducting assessments, developing treatment plans, providing therapy, and monitoring progress. This profession requires a graduate degree in language pathology and a state license.

2. Behavior Intervention Specialist

As a Behavior Intervention Specialist, you would work with individuals, families, and other professionals to develop individualized plans to support individuals with behavioral challenges. It could include conducting assessments, developing behavior plans, training families and caregivers, and monitoring progress.

To become a Behavior Intervention Specialist, you would need a degree in special education or a related field and specialized training in behavior analysis and intervention. Many universities offer special education online classes and specializations in areas like Data Directed Student Progress, which can provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this field.

Online special education courses can be a practical and adaptable method to earn the specialized training needed to become a Behavior Intervention Specialist. Accredited universities offer programs that allow you to earn a degree or specialization in special education online while still providing the same quality education and training as traditional in-person programs.

3. Special Education Teachers

Working with students who have a range of disabilities and special needs are highly qualified professionals known as special education teachers, including physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges. With a degree in Special Education, you can pursue a career in this rewarding field. You will work closely with students to develop individualized education plans, monitor progress, and provide support to help them succeed.

The role of a Special Education Teacher involves a range of duties, such as developing curriculum materials, working with parents and other professionals, and providing guidance and counseling to students. The salary of a Special Education Teacher can vary depending on experience, location, and the level of education taught. The average yearly wage for Special Education Teachers in 2021 was $61,820, as the Bureau of Labour Statistics reported.

4. Occupational Therapist

As an occupational therapist, you will work with clients of all ages and abilities to improve their daily living and working skills. You will help clients overcome physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges by developing personalized treatment plans and providing guidance and support. With your special education background, you will be equipped to work with clients with various disabilities and developmental disorders, such as autism, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, and sensory processing issues.

The average salary for an occupational therapist in the United States is around $ 85,570 annually, but this can vary depending on location, experience, and industry. In addition, a career in occupational therapy allows you to have a significant impact on people’s lives and aid in their fulfillment.

5. Special Education Administrator

Special education administrators oversee the development and implementation of programs and services for students with disabilities. They collaborate with parents, educators, and other experts to make sure students receive appropriate accommodations and support. Some of the key responsibilities of special education administrators include the following:

  • Developing and implementing policies and procedures for special education programs
  • Coordinating and supervising special education services, such as assessments, individualized education plans (IEPs), and accommodations
  • Ensuring compliance with federal and state laws and regulations related to special education
  • Managing budgets and resources for special education programs
  • Hiring and training staff, including teachers, aides, and other professionals
  • Collaborating with parents, teachers, and other stakeholders to develop and implement effective strategies for supporting students with disabilities

6. Adaptive Physical Education Teacher

After earning a degree in special education, individuals interested in pursuing a career in adaptive physical education may choose to complete additional coursework or training specifically focused on this area. It might include classes in adaptive physical education techniques and hands-on experience working with students with disabilities in physical education settings.

As an adaptive physical education teacher, one would be responsible for designing and implementing physical education programs tailored to the specific needs and abilities of individual students with disabilities. It might involve working with students with mobility, visual, hearing, or cognitive disabilities.

7. Assistive Technology Specialist

An Assistive Technology specialist ATS is a professional who works with people with disabilities to help them use technology to improve their quality of life. It could include helping them use software, hardware, and other tools that can assist them with communication, mobility, and other activities of daily living.

As an ATS, your primary responsibilities would be to assess the needs of individuals with disabilities, recommend appropriate assistive technology solutions, and train them to use the technology effectively. You would also work closely with other professionals, such as occupational therapists, speech therapists, and educators, to ensure the technology you recommend complements and supports their existing interventions and goals.

An undergraduate degree in Special Education or a closely associated field, such as Rehabilitation Science or Assistive Technology, is often required to become an ATS. Some employers may also require you to have additional certifications or training in specific assistive technologies.


Pursuing a degree in Special Education opens up a wide range of career opportunities in education and beyond. Graduates can work as special education teachers, adaptive physical education teachers, behavior specialists, Behavior Intervention Specialists, and much more. With the increasing demand for special education professionals, individuals with a degree in Special Education have a chance to positively impact the lives of students with disabilities and their families. Additionally, the skills and knowledge gained from a Special Education degree can be applied to other fields, such as social work, psychology, and counseling, making it a versatile and rewarding career choice.