Special Education Teachers teach primary, middle or intermediate, and secondary school students with learning difficulties, hearing impairment and sight impairment, and promote students' social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is required. Nearly all workers have a university degree. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed. Registration with the relevant state or territory board of education may be required.

Tasks

  • assessing students' abilities and limitations with regard to intellectual, physical, social and emotional disabilities, exceptional intellectual gifts, or specific problems of language and culture
  • planning, organising and implementing special programs to provide remedial or advanced tuition
  • administering various forms of assessment and interpreting the results
  • teaching basic academic subjects, and practical and self-help skills to hearing and sight impaired students
  • devising instructional materials, methods and aids to assist in training and rehabilitation
  • advising, instructing and counselling parents and teachers on the availability and use of special techniques
  • stimulating and developing interests, abilities, manual skills and coordination
  • conferring with other staff members to plan and schedule lessons for special needs students
  • preparing and maintaining student data and other records and submitting reports

Job Titles

  • Special Needs Teacher
  • Teacher of the Hearing Impaired
  • Teacher of the Sight Impaired
  • Other Special Education Teachers
  • Special Needs Teacher

    Teaches academic and living skills to primary, middle or intermediate, and secondary school students with particular learning difficulties using various techniques. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Secondary School Teacher-Librarian

  • Teacher of the Hearing Impaired

    Teaches academic and living skills to hearing impaired students. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Behaviour Support Teacher, Remedial Teacher, Teacher of Gifted Students

  • Teacher of the Sight Impaired

    Teaches academic and living skills to sight impaired students. Registration or licensing is required.

  • Other Special Education Teachers

    Includes Aboriginal Education Teacher, Distance Education Teacher. Registration or licensing is required.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,506 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    very strong
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    24800
  • Unemployment

    average
  • Male Share

    11.9%
  • Female Share

    88.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    59.7%

Find Vacancies

This is a large occupation employing 24,800 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 10,001 and 25,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Special Education Teachers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They nearly all work in Education and Training.
  • Part-time work is fairly common, but more than half work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 40.2 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,506 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The workforce is fairly mature. The average age is 46 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 5 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • Around 9 in 10 workers are female.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was similar to the average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200514300
200614300
200715300
200813900
200918000
201017200
201119300
201220200
201317500
201424900
201524800
202030000

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsSpecial Education TeachersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings15061230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySpecial Education TeachersAll Jobs Average
Full-time59.768.4
Part-time40.331.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)40.240

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Education and Training93
Health Care and Social Assistance3.4
Public Administration and Safety2.3
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services0.7
Other Industries0.6

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateSpecial Education TeachersAll Jobs Average
NSW31.631.8
VIC24.225.5
QLD2719.8
SA76.8
WA511.2
TAS2.12
NT1.61.1
ACT1.51.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketSpecial Education TeachersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-191.3-5.45.4
20-241.1-9.99.9
25-3420.7-23.423.4
35-4425.5-21.721.7
45-5425.8-21.121.1
55-5914.5-8.78.7
60-646.8-5.95.9
65 and Over4.2-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategorySpecial Education TeachersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males11.9Males53.6
Females88.1Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationSpecial Education TeachersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate44.5-8.68.6
Bachelor degree49.8-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma5.7-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV0-18.918.9
Year 120-18.718.7
Years 11 & 100-17.717.7
Below Year 100-8.18.1

A Bachelor Degree or higher is required. Nearly all workers have a university degree. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed. Registration with the relevant state or territory board of education may be required.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Special Education Teachers who are caring, compassionate and empathetic and communicate clearly, with strong people skills.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Education and Training

    93% Important

    Teaching and course design.

  2. English Language

    89% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  3. Psychology

    79% Important

    Human behaviour and performance; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

  4. Clerical

    75% Important

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  5. Mathematics

    74% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Building Good Relationships

    86% Important

    Building and keeping constructive and cooperative working relationships with others.

  2. Scheduling Work and Activities

    82% Important

    Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

  3. Developing Objectives and Strategies

    81% Important

    Deciding on goals and the figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.

  4. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    81% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

  5. Documenting/Recording Information

    81% Important

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Occupational Information Network Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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