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What Is a Special Needs Teacher?

Learn about Special Education Teachers

By Lester Morris

Updated June 24, 2014

Teacher and student using laptop in library
Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Getty Images
A special needs teacher is one of those jobs in special education that can be extremely challenging and rewarding at the same time. Not everyone has the personality to be a special needs teacher, but those that do can carve out a very rewarding career. Here's a quick rundown of the details of this very important job.

Special Needs Students

A special needs teacher typically works with a variety of special needs children. These needs may be mental, emotional, physical or a combination of the three. Some students will have sensory issues like blindness or deafness, and others may have autism spectrum disorders.

Job Duties

The job duties of a special education teacher may vary quite a bit, depending on the particular students they are teaching. Standard teaching duties such as preparing class schedules and lessons are part of the job, as are extra duties. Special needs teachers may:

Both routine and unexpected issues will likely be part of every school day with special needs students, and the teachers must always be prepared.

Personality Traits

Aside from having the necessary teaching and professional skills, a special needs teacher must have some specific personality traits in order to find success in this field. Virtually all jobs in special education require some basic personal characteristics.

Special needs teachers must have an abundance of patience and be able to maintain a positive outlook no matter how frustrating a situation becomes. They must have superior organizational skills, above average physical strength and beable to work closely with a wide variety of different professionals. In essence, a special needs teacher must be relatively 'unshakable'.


It stands to reason that the special skills required for jobs in special education will require a special education. In most places, the standard Bachelor of Education is required, as is further schooling relating to special needs and special education. Many teachers who specialize in one specific area such as autism will require specialized skills in that area before entering the job force.

To say not everyone is cut out for being a special needs teacher is quite the understatement. You must be dedicated and focused and ready to devote a large portion of your life to your profession. If you have the devotion and the desire, you're on your way to a rewarding career.

The preceding article was submitted by guest author, Lester Morris, who writes for www.procaretherapy.com where school therapists can launch their careers and find jobs in special education to help children in need meet their true potential.


As Lester Morris points out, special education careers can be personally rewarding and at the same time quite demanding in terms of time, physical energy, intellectual challenges, and sometimes emotional stamina. Many special education teachers will attest to the fact that there is no satisfaction quite like that of knowing that you helped a special needs child to learn and grow. They also report that although there are challenges, special education teachers often enjoy a strong sense of camaraderie with other special education teachers that is often lacking in other professions. If you are interested in becoming a special education teacher, check out these articles for more information:

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