What you should know about the teaching job market outlook is that there are tremendous career opportunities for excellent educators. The future for teachers is very bright.
By Wafa Hozien, Ph.D.
You’ve earned your new degree, and your professional teaching certifications are in order. You are now a professional teacher, prepared to take control of your own classroom. Like many other hopeful candidates who are launching a career in education, you’re ready to make a real difference in the world by teaching kids. If you’re like 66% of college grads, you may also have some staggering debt from college loans.
It’s only natural to wonder what the education job market is like and whether you’ll be able to find your niche in teaching. You may be wondering what the competition for your job will be like.
The National Education Association (NEA) reports that fewer college graduates than ever before have chosen education as a career path — only 4.2% have majored in education, which is a significant decrease from the 11% who majored in education in 2000. Schools must replace retiring teachers and those who leave the field for other pursuits, and they must also keep up with a growing population of students.
There’s no doubt you will find available education jobs, especially if you teach a high-need subject, focus on a particular level, are willing to work in geographically unpopular areas or will consider nontraditional teaching employment.
High-Need Subject Areas
You are most likely to find teaching jobs in highneed areas like special education, English as a Second Language (ESL), and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. Subjects like PE, social studies and English are not considered high-need areas, unless combined with a specialty, like special education.
For example, nearly 3 million special-education students have created a demand for 31,000 special-education teachers across the country.
Elementary vs. Secondary Teaching Positions
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, (OOH) the job outlook for elementary teachers and secondary teachers of middle and high school students is positive, with a predicted 6% growth rate. This growth rate meets the average across all fields, including that outside education. The median pay is $54,550, $55,860 and $57,200 per year, respectively, for each of these teaching levels.
The greatest growth rate for teaching jobs, however, lies with postsecondary teaching, which is growing at 13%.
The other choice you can make to increase your likelihood of getting hired is to seriously consider relocating to areas in desperate need of highly qualified teachers, especially minority teachers. Projections indicate that the South and the West will be in dire need of teachers. California, Texas and New York have plentiful teacher openings, as do inner-city schools across the nation.
By being willing to teach in a geographically unpopular area, you may have unprecedented opportunities for not only teaching, but also career expansion.
Although it may be a controversial topic, school choice broadens the field for teachers. With more than 4,500 charter schools in the nation, educators are finding opportunities to establish their careers in these learning environments as well.
Public charter schools may pay a little less than traditional schools, but they are known for favoring innovative teaching methods. Charter schools contract with their state education agency to educate at-risk or special-population children. Teachers and administrators often experience less bureaucracy in charter schools, making this environment highly desirable for teaching.
Less than 20% of the teaching force is made up of teachers of color, even though more than half of the student population is racially diverse. Schools would do well to hire minority teachers who can inspire their students and serve as role models. You are part of the new teaching force that can meet these students’ needs.
In summary, not all teaching positions are in high-demand areas, but there’s a demand for minority teachers who have the passion and energy to teach not only all students, but especially minority students in particular subject areas. The teaching job outlook for education graduates appears bright.