The most recent available data shows that a special education teacherin Texas makes an average mean wage of between $49,670 and $61,430.
The role of a special education teacher is critical in today’s education system. Special education teachers work with students who have learning, mental, emotional or physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects to students with mild to moderate disabilities, but also may teach basic skills to students with disabilities that are more severe.
Nearly 1 in 10 Texas students receive special education services from teachers within their school district. However, what a special education teacher earns in the classroom is based on a number of factors, from grade level to location and years of experience.
If you’re considering becoming a special education teacher and want to find out your earnings potential, simply typing “average special education teacher salary Texas” into your Google search bar won’t yield the most accurate results since there are so many factors at play.
Special Education Teacher Salary Texas: Grade Level
According to the most recent available data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, special education teachers at the secondary level in Texas have the highest annual mean wage at $61,430.
Most other grade levels follow closely behind, with the exception of preschool:
$60,030: Kindergarten and elementary school
$60,240: Middle school
Most of these figures align with national averages, according to the BLS salary data. In the United States, the median annual wage for special education teachers was $61,820 in May 2021 (though it’s important to note that the BLS reports these figures as the median, rather than the mean or average salary).
Special Education Teacher Salary Texas: Minimum Salary
If you’re just beginning your career as a special education teacher, it’s likely that your salary won’t be as high as those with significant experience. However, the state of Texas sets a minimum base salary schedule based on years of experience. This state base salary schedule provides a good starting point for what you can expect to earn.
This salary is based on a 10-month contract that must include a minimum of 187 days of service unless a furlough program is implemented, according to Section 21.401 of the Texas Education Code.
This table only reflects the minimum you must earn as a special education teacher in Texas.
Special Education Teacher Salary Texas: Location
The location of the school district where you teach can be a major factor in the salary you will receive as a special education educator.
School districts in metropolitan areas often offer higher salaries than those in rural areas, for example. According to a salary report database that the Texas Education Agency maintains, an elementary teacher (grades 1-6) in Region 4, which includes the populous city of Houston, earns an average base pay of $64,966.
In Region 20, which includes San Antonio, an elementary teacher earns an average base pay of $58,371. In Region 19, which includes El Paso and smaller communities like Dell City, that number drops even further to $55,906.
Although this employment data doesn’t offer a salary breakdown by district for special education teachers, it can be helpful to note salary trends based on geographical location as well as communities experiencing a high growth rate.
Special Education Teacher Salary Texas: Other Factors
One of the most in-demand teaching jobs in Texas is in special education. Each year, the state of Texas releases a list of teacher shortage areas.
Special Education - Elementary and Secondary Levels
Bilingual/English as a Secondary Language - Elementary and Secondary Levels
Career and Technical Education - Secondary Level
Technology Applications and Computer Science - Elementary and Secondary Levels
English Language Arts and Reading - Elementary and Secondary Levels
Mathematics - Secondary Level
Science - Secondary Level
If you teach in one of the above areas, it can influence your earnings potential two-fold.
First, because there is generally a greater demand for special education teachers, you may have more bargaining power as a candidate when it comes to your salary.
Secondly, teachers with certain types of student loans may qualify for partial loan forgiveness, deferment or cancellation benefits, according to the TEA. Eligibility for these benefits also depends on whether the teacher is serving in a designated low-income school. Partial loan forgiveness may help you pay off your student loans faster or free up more pay in your monthly income.
Another factor that can influence your earning potential is your benefits package. School districts that cover a high percentage of an employee’s premium can lead to larger take-home pay for special education teachers.
Lastly, because a teacher’s contract typically only accounts for 10 months of work, there are additional opportunities to earn extra income over the summer months, such as tutoring or teaching summer school. During the school year, there may be opportunities to teach extracurricular activities like sports or clubs. School districts typically compensate teachers who do this in the form of stipends.
Scott is the Deputy Executive Director and Program Consultant. Scott earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from Texas Woman's University and a Master of Education from Texas Woman's University. Scott has extensive experience in both the classroom and as an administrator in districts in North Texas.
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