We examined reasons special educators are motivated to persist in the profession despite challenges that often lead to attrition for this group. Participants were 21 special education teachers with six or more years of teaching experience across multiple grade levels. Data were collected via the Zoom virtual meeting platform with four focus groups. Semi-structured interview techniques were used, and data were analyzed using deductive coding procedures. Participants shared external, employment, and personal factors associated with Billingsley’s (1993) career decision framework that influenced their persistence, such as supports from school administrators with expertise in special education law, passion for students and their achievement, and stressors related to the workforce that motivated them to persist in the profession. Implications for educational practice and future research are discussed.



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