Special Education Teachers
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.
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
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 34,300 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 59% of people employed as Special Education Teachers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 7 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 44 hours per week in their main job. This is the same as the all jobs average.
More than half of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021.
Most Special Education Teachers work in the Education and training industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Special Education Teachers||All Jobs Average|
Around 46% of Special Education Teachers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Queensland has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Special Education Teachers is 46 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 86% of the workforce. This is 38 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Special Education Teachers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||4.5||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor degree in education majoring in special education is needed to work as a Special Education Teacher. Qualified teachers may complete postgraduate qualifications to specialise as a Special Education Teacher.
Registration or licencing is required.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Special Education Teachers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||39.3||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||0.8||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Special Education Teachers who are caring, compassionate and empathetic and communicate clearly, with strong people skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Reading work related information.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Talking to others.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
52%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Teaching people how to do something.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
48%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Looking for ways to help people.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
41%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
41%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
80%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
64%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
57%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
57%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
47%History and archeology
Events of the past, their causes, how we learn about them, and how they influence the way we live today.
46%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
45%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
45%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
43%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
40%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
34%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
26%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Read and understand written information.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
54%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
See details that are far away.
39%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
39%Speed of recognition
Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Remember things like words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
73%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
68%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
66%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
66%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
62%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
62%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
62%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
60%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
59%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
58%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
58%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
58%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
58%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
56%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
55%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
55%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
53%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
50%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
49%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
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.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Work with people in a group or team.
96%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Use electronic mail.
85%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
83%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
80%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
80%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
78%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
78%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
76%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
Talk to a group of people.
75%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
73%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
Work to strict deadlines.
Talk on the telephone.
68%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
65%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 25-2053.00 - Special Education Teachers, Middle School.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.