The Best States for Elementary Special Education Teachers

We know that teaching is one of the most demanding professions out there. However, it’s also one of the most fulfilling. According to an April 2015 survey by the University of Phoenix, nearly 9 in 10 teachers (88%) are satisfied with their jobs, while 68% would recommend teaching as a career to others. The main […]

BY Paul Southerland

The Best States for Elementary Special Education Teachers

We know that teaching is one of the most demanding professions out there. However, it’s also one of the most fulfilling. According to an April 2015 survey by the University of Phoenix, nearly 9 in 10 teachers (88%) are satisfied with their jobs, while 68% would recommend teaching as a career to others.

The main reason teachers are so fulfilled by what they do? According to survey results, it’s the effect they have on students’ lives (68%). There’s no question that great teachers impact their students – and the communities they live in – in a huge way. And that’s especially true for special education teachers.

That’s why we wanted to find places that give as much back to special education teachers as those teachers give to them. To do that, we evaluated every state in the U.S. (plus the District of Columbia) on the following metrics:

  • Median elementary school special education teacher salary
  • Job availability (profession density, available jobs and job competition)
  • Average rent
  • Housing affordability index (percent of income spent on rent)
  • Amenities per 1,000 housing units (including arts, entertainment and recreation)
  • CEIS funding per student

The last metric, CEIS funding per student, represents how much funding each state provides for students in Coordinated Early Intervening Services. These services are available to students in kindergarten through grade 12 (with a focus on kindergarten through grade 3) who are not currently identified as needing special education or related services, but who may need additional support and resources to succeed in school. CEIS funding may be used toward professional development for teachers and other school staff, as well as educational and behavioral evaluations, services, and support.

Read on to see the top states for elementary school special education teachers and the top states in each category, and check out our data!

I. The Best States for Elementary School Special Education Teachers

 

[metaslider id=735]

Embed on your website

 
infographic

II. The Data

Rank State GoodCall Score Population Median Salary Job Availability Rank Average Rent Housing Affordability Index Amenities per 1,000 Housing Units CEIS Funding per Qualified Student
1 Alaska 42.20 736,732 $66,170 10 $1,257 22.79% 3.74 $505
2 Rhode Island 41.85 1,055,173 $69,950 11 $1,240 21.27% 29.25 $406
3 Connecticut 38.50 3,596,677 $72,120 13 $1,389 23.11% 5.29 $496
4 Montana 35.65 1,023,579 $50,810 32 $887 20.96% 5.51 $684
5 Massachusetts 35.30 6,745,408 $64,960 7 $1,337 24.70% 3.52 $442
6 North Dakota 34.00 739,482 $50,250 20 $834 19.91% 5.35 $419
7 Michigan 33.95 9,909,877 $59,700 18 $1,000 20.10% 0.73 $535
8 Oregon 33.65 3,970,239 $59,100 8 $1,120 22.74% 5.33 $282
9 Delaware 33.35 935,614 $61,200 45 $1,173 23.01% 8.30 $418
10 South Carolina 32.35 4,832,482 $53,960 29 $911 20.26% 2.43 $646
11 Wyoming 32.20 584,153 $57,930 38 $947 19.62% 59.40 $0
12 Vermont 29.85 626,562 $51,070 17 $1,151 27.05% 36.41 $356
13 New Mexico 29.50 2,085,572 $47,750 2 $889 22.34% 2.83 $460
14 Idaho 27.20 1,634,464 $44,700 4 $941 25.26% 1.99 $636
15 Kentucky 26.70 4,413,457 $51,070 49 $826 19.40% 1.28 $426
16 Alabama 26.55 4,849,377 $51,260 42 $856 20.04% 0.57 $543
17 Indiana 25.80 6,596,855 $50,430 25 $911 21.68% 0.68 $480
18 Iowa 25.20 3,107,126 $49,300 28 $892 21.71% 2.19 $387
19 New Hampshire 24.90 1,326,813 $54,750 12 $1,310 28.72% 2.40 $357
20 California 24.75 38,802,500 $67,480 19 $1,369 24.35% 0.13 $449
21 Virginia 24.10 8,326,289 $56,950 21 $1,237 26.05% 1.01 $396
22 Louisiana 23.85 4,649,676 $46,340 30 $856 22.16% 2.90 $419
23 Nebraska 23.75 1,881,503 $49,460 44 $941 22.84% 3.04 $316
24 Arkansas 23.10 2,966,369 $45,460 3 $774 20.43% 0.71 $376
25 Maine 22.75 1,330,089 $49,530 26 $999 24.20% 8.09 $215
26 South Dakota 20.65 853,175 $39,040 31 $854 26.25% 16.27 $389
27 Mississippi 20.50 2,994,079 $42,830 43 $791 22.17% 5.94 $401
28 Ohio 20.40 11,594,163 $56,090 47 $965 20.65% 1.18 $355
29 Kansas 20.20 2,904,021 $48,700 22 $951 23.42% 1.17 $296
30 Oklahoma 20.10 3,878,051 $40,630 14 $844 24.94% 3.29 $388
31 Georgia 19.90 10,097,343 $52,750 40 $1,057 24.05% 0.22 $581
32 New Jersey 19.55 8,938,175 $61,900 39 $1,465 28.41% 1.30 $656
33 District of Columbia 19.40 658,893 $55,800 5 $1,378 29.64% 2.84 $123
34 Tennessee 19.30 6,549,352 $48,150 35 $903 22.50% 0.41 $378
35 Utah 19.25 2,942,902 $41,790 23 $1,111 31.91% 18.34 $395
36 West Virginia 18.90 1,850,326 $40,560 51 $682 20.18% 7.28 $0
37 Minnesota 18.45 5,457,173 $51,370 27 $1,116 26.06% 16.17 $350
38 Washington 18.30 7,061,530 $59,000 9 $1,224 24.89% 1.57 $0
39 Colorado 17.55 5,355,866 $49,910 16 $1,187 28.54% 2.94 $291
40 Nevada 16.90 2,839,099 $49,160 6 $1,179 28.78% 1.54 $214
40 Pennsylvania 16.90 12,787,209 $59,500 36 $1,040 20.98% 0.12 $0
42 Texas 16.55 26,956,958 $50,830 24 $1,034 24.41% 0.62 $437
43 Hawaii 15.65 1,419,561 $46,490 48 $1,380 35.62% 1.73 $398
44 North Carolina 14.85 9,943,964 $42,370 37 $967 27.38% 0.34 $491
45 New York 14.75 19,746,227 $65,510 33 $1,259 23.06% 0.16 $382
46 Illinois 14.20 12,880,580 $55,750 15 $1,173 25.25% 0.29 $346
47 Arizona 14.05 6,731,484 $44,290 1 $1,066 28.87% 1.30 $256
48 Missouri 12.30 6,063,589 $44,760 41 $928 24.87% 0.74 $368
49 Wisconsin 10.60 5,757,564 $51,320 46 $1,051 24.57% 1.85 $0
50 Maryland 10.15 5,976,407 $50,630 34 $1,381 32.74% 1.21 $366
51 Florida 7.35 19,893,297 $46,900 50 $1,115 28.53% 0.39 $358

 

Expert Opinions

Although teachers report being satisfied with and fulfilled by the work they do, many are lured away from the profession by higher salaries (and less stress) in other careers. And that’s especially true for special education teachers – according to recent reports, turnover for special education teachers hovers around 20%, as compared to 13% for other kinds of teachers. GoodCall asked education experts:

Turnover is higher than average for special education teachers, who face unique challenges in the educational workplace. What can schools do to recruit and retain special education teachers?

Click on the pictures below to see their responses!

Katie Schellenberg
Dr. Chester Goad
Timothy Bellavia, M.F.A.
Add a little bit of body text (3)
Dena Evelo


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

IV. Methodology

GoodCall analyzed all 50 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, and came up with an overall ranking based on median special education teacher salaries, job availability, housing affordability, amenities, and CEIS funding.

  • Median elementary school special education teacher salaries were taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics tool and represents the annual median wage for special education teachers in 2013. This represents 30% of our overall score.
  • Job availability rank is based on a combination of job density (special education teacher jobs per 1,000 jobs), which was taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, plus available special education teacher jobs job competition (resumes per available job), which were taken from Indeed.com. This metric, which shows how attractive an area is for job seekers, represents 30% of our overall score.
  • The housing affordability index was taken from the U.S. Census American Fact Finder. This is the average percentage of income spent on housing, and represents 15% of our overall score.
  • CEIS funding per student represents the amount of funding each state provides for eligible students in CEIS (Coordinated Early Intervening Services) programs. This information was taken from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and represents 15% of our overall score.
  • The amenities represents number of amenities per 1,000 housing units, and was calculated using data from the U.S. Census American Fact Finder. It includes arts, entertainment and recreation, and represents 10% of our overall score.

A special thank you to our contributing experts:

Katie Schellenberg, CEO and founder of BeyondTutoring.com and Learning Lab LA
Dr. Chester Goad, Director of Disability Services and Graduate Instructor at Tennessee Technological University
Timothy Bellavia, M.F.A., Assistant Professor, Touro College Graduate School of Education
Dr. Carole Patrylo, Professor of Education at LaSalle University
Dena Evelo, Supervisor of Special Education at Rancocas Valley Regional High School

Images: Tree-Nation.com, Pinterest.com, MattressDisposalPlus.com, AristocatTransportation.com, ParkRec.ND.gov, IAES.org, Fodors.com, GreatBigCanvas.com, NewportRIWatersports.com, PostalHistoryMuseum.org, ATalkingDonkey.Blogspot.com