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In the United States, the demand for teachers is skyrocketing. For instance, in California alone, teacher vacancies currently clock at over 14,000 positions. According to reports, the figures are set to grow in the forthcoming years. Experts see a noticeable increase, with a 19% increase in post-secondary school vacancies and 17% for preschool.
With more job openings in specific subject areas, there is no question that the country needs better teachers. Teachers with specialization in particular subject areas such as ESL, STEM, and special education needs are in high demand. Wondering where the best place to begin your teaching career is? See teacher shortage statistics for top five states below.
Teaching is a rewarding and impactful career, but the shortage remains a pressing issue in both public and private educational facilities. To date, statistics report critical levels of teacher shortage in the following states:
The table below shows the number of open jobs in each state.
The US offers a staggering number of job opportunities for teachers. Multiple locations have high attractiveness ratings — data that’s evaluated based on a number of key factors such as compensation, working conditions, qualifications, and turnover. According to the Learning Policy Institute, these are the top 5 states that offer the most advantages for potential educators.
5 = Highest, 1 = Least
Teacher Shortage Area or TSA is defined as an area of specific grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or a geographic area in which the Secretary determines that there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary school teachers.
The length of time to become a fully certified educator varies depending on your location and desired subject area. However, there are common rules that apply to all, such as getting a Bachelor’s degree beforehand. Through the years, teacher education requirements have changed dramatically in each state. While no two states have equal requirements, these are standard routes you can choose from when considering a career in teaching.
Earned through college or university, completion of this degree usually takes four years of regular schooling. The school needs to be accredited by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
An increasing number of states approve Alternative Certification programs to certify new teacher candidates that already have a Bachelor’s Degree in a subject other than education. Alt-Cert education programs like Teachers of Tomorrow enable career changers to enter the teaching profession, providing quality preparation and support. This route is often the most streamlined affordable pathway to a career in education.
It is possible for an aspiring teacher to teach early childhood education after finishing a four-year course. However, it might be different for one looking to teach in high school. In addition to a bachelor degree, you will need to sign up for a teacher certification and teacher education program to get required on-the-job hours.
A majority of states allow you to teach students at high school or middle school once you obtain a four-year degree, a subject endorsement, hours, and teaching certificate of completion. However, this can vary depending on the rules per state. To get an endorsement, you may have to add another semester or a few more classes to your existing units. It will likely take you five years if you’re changing major subjects or getting your certification after finishing a bachelor’s degree.
If your state of practice requires teachers of high school and middle school to get a master’s degree, getting that certificate will take you one to two years more. Some degree holders earn this while student teaching. This route seems to take a lot of time; however, you might like to reconsider if you want to get more freedom on choosing subjects to teach, higher compensation, and better opportunities when landing a job.
This typically involves completion of a major in the subject area you wish to focus on, along with a minor in education. Enrollment in a teacher education preparation program is also acceptable. Regardless of the choice, students generally complete mentorship or student-teaching after completion of bachelor’s degree.
Once you’ve earned your four-year degree, you will need to turn your attention to the requirements and exams that are necessary to earn teaching credentials. These vary depending on location, but in general, students take a basic skills exam, along with an exam for the subject they wish to teach. The test scores, college or university transcripts, teaching program certificates, federal background checks, and completed application are submitted altogether to the State Board of Education.
These are also great tools to gain additional teaching strategies and skills. Along with keeping up with the latest technology in education, you can use these sources to improve as a professional in the field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning additional credentials can help you get ahead when obtaining a teaching career. These certification programs, often offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, offer advanced teacher education credentials and certificates in various fields including mathematics, science, library media, health, physical education and others.
The next sections will introduce you to the top universities, subject areas, and certification requirements, along with compensation expectations for potential teachers.
Complete all required coursework and requirements for obtaining a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Education, or your concentration of choice with a minor in Education, from any accredited college or university. If you do not have a minor in education you can still use your four-year degree toward certification in most states.
When choosing your subject area, keep in mind that it will be easiest for you to begin your career teaching in an area that has a high need in your location. This gives you the best chance of getting hired as a teacher right away. At the moment, these are the most sought-after areas to consider:
Many non-English speaking students come to the US to learn English. School teachers are needed by these students so as to know how to speak and write the language fluently. Educators also help them adapt to a new campus and classroom. Aspiring teachers with a college degree and multi-lingual abilities have higher chances of getting a career in education. Some of the common foreign language skills needed in US schools are Spanish, French, German, Latin, and the list goes on.
Including subjects such as information technology, statistics, physics, chemistry, biology, and geometry, the need for teachers with concentration in these subject areas is exceedingly high. Many schools across the nation will offer generous stipends for teachers in these areas, especially at the secondary (high school) level. Thus, STEM teachers have plenty of career opportunities and are considered a valuable commodity in the world of education.
This refers to the special education needed by children with disabilities, including those with mild autism, dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, and other types of mental or behavioral issues. There is a dire need for teachers who can provide these services across the U.S. Not only physical schools but also online academies have many employment opportunities each school year.
It’s very common for parents to change careers when their children become school-aged. There’s really a demand for early childhood education jobs ranging from preschool to early elementary school. This is where educators teach children to be lifelong learners.
A teacher needs to meet certification and licensing requirements to jumpstart their teaching career. While requirements vary by state, these are the general teacher training prerequisites to date.
One of the basic requirements for state teacher is passing a standardized test. These exams, used by majority of US Public Schools, aim to measure a teacher’s knowledge and skills. Each state has their own standards. Therefore, the requirements may vary per state. For instance, if you passed the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations in New York and you want to teach in California, you will also need to ace California Basic Education Skills Test.
These tests are extensively used for teacher certification.
The job market for teachers may be hard to crack, but nothing is impossible for someone with solid determination. To land that first teaching gig, follow these steps.
The 3 Necessary Steps to Getting Your Teaching Degree by Matthew Lynch
The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Teaching Job Mid-Year by Jennifer Gonzalez
While teaching is not a “million-dollar” endeavor, it’s important to know how much money it can add to your wallet. Salary rates and schedules differ from one district to another. However, most states follow a general format.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of teachers per year is $55,000 approximately. 10% of teachers in the US get $36,930 annually, while other 10% earn as much as $ 85,690 annually. The difference in salaries is affected by a variety of factors, including location, years of experience, educational attainment, and type of school.
Please note that these are not starting salaries in these areas. Most teachers will have to teach a decade or more to hit these salaries, which makes a big difference in the attractiveness of the profession.
Highest paying US schools are located in these areas, sorted from highest to lowest.
Based on statistics in the past ten years, these are the average pension that newly retired teachers receive per state.
The graph above shows average pension for newly retired teachers from 2006-2015. However, amounts presented here may not reflect the actual amount that retirees earn, which depends on years in service, qualifications, location, and contributions.
Important note: To qualify for a state pension, a teacher has to meet minimum service requirements, ranging from 5-10 years. The figures above aim to show the average pension new retirees get at retirement, including only the teachers that qualify for a pension.
10 Things a Retired Teacher Wants You to Know by Jessica McFadden
Teaching and making a difference in students’ lives is rewarding on its own. But, it is more rewarding if you’re able to improve professionally and conceptualize teaching strategies for more efficient teaching. So how exactly do you upgrade yourself as a teacher? Read on.
A teaching philosophy defines what you want to become in terms of learning and teaching. This written statement should discuss how you intend to apply your beliefs by stating concrete examples of what you’re doing or planning to do inside the classroom. Why is this necessary? To achieve personal and professional growth.
When writing your very own teaching philosophy statement, take into account the following guidelines.
New teachers can make use of certain strategies to make teaching more valuable. Five of these strategies are:
When teaching new lessons, a good teacher begins by explaining the purpose and goals of learning it. They should demonstrate examples or models so students can figure out how the outcome really looks like.
Inducing class discussion.
An efficient teacher often steps up and mitigates classroom discussion. This way, students can interact and learn from one another. It’s also an ideal way to assess how well students are grasping new ideas and knowledge.
Providing student/teacher feedback.
Giving individual or group feedback is an excellent method to know how students are coping up with new educational concepts. Written or verbal, it pays to provide comments and keep them all together in writing to monitor student’s growth. Teachers must also allow students to do the same.
Doing systematic student assessments.
In order to come up with accurate student feedback, teachers need to spend a sizable amount of time creating systematic assessments. Evaluations should be done in a routine or regular basis.
During this process, students have the liberty to conceptualize, organize, ease their way to learning, and evaluate their own work down the road. By letting students take responsibility for their thoughts and learning, student ownership heightens. The good news is, metacognition can be taught to students of all levels.
Having in-depth knowledge of subject area.
Creating excellent curricula starts with a teacher whose specialization is correct for the field in question. By having complete knowledge of your area of focus, you’ll easily answer student questions and craft an effective lesson plan for them.
Using strong verbal and written communication skills.
Whether creating lesson plans, drafting exams, doing classroom discussion, or speaking to parents or colleagues, adept communication skills is key. When in doubt, pay close attention to this aspect and work on improvement. Surely, you’d be a great and effective teacher once successful.
There’s nothing more fulfilling than having awesome classroom fun. Here’s how to do it:
Explore new things with students.
Learning is much more fun when both teacher and students learn mutually. So drop down your authoritative side when appropriate, and join in the learning journey with them.
Add a hint of mystery.
Children love surprises, and this also applies inside the classroom. To make discussions more exciting, do not spill the information right away. Swathe it in mystery instead. Start with an intriguing detail and then ask questions. Your students will surely love it.
Show care and goofiness.
Sometimes, it’s okay to sacrifice authority if it means making your students happy and more enthusiastic. Bundled with authentic care from you, children will feel better knowing that their teacher is someone they can rely on and be funny with.
Take part in projects.
Think of this as a workshop where the leader plays a role with the team. Step down from your level, be part of the activity, and you’ll discover how your students got more focused and engaged with the task at hand.
Stop being monotonous.
Doing the same thing every single day is dull and boring – your students feel this. Break the monotony by exerting extra efforts, taking risks, trying new things, make mistakes and learn from them, and live each teaching day with positivity.
Review past class materials.
Integrating old materials with new ones is another great way to alleviate boredom. Go deeper into past lessons to see if any information is missed. Spend a couple of hours for this to enhance students’ memory and learning.
Talk about your passion.
Sometimes, passion can be really contagious. Spend some time sharing your passion with your students. Tell them a scenario where you had great fun doing something you’re passionate about. For sure, your students will inherit the same passion as you.
Have a good laugh with jokes in class.
Being a teacher doesn’t mean only you have the right to share your sense of humor, your students can, too! Let them share funny stories and have a good laugh about it. This way, you’ll enjoy one another.
Forget lectures. Say hello to conversations.
Teaching doesn’t have to be passive at all times. Most students find lectures repetitive and boring, that’s why you have to channel boredom into something more exciting. Speak to your students as you would with a good friend. Exchange thoughts and ask questions in such a way that you’re not the only one that does the responding.
Know your body language.
As the cliché goes, actions speak louder than words. This also applies when in a classroom discussion. According to experts, there is an ideal pace to move around the room, head position to let them the students know they got your attention, and manner to speak to students. Simply put, think of teaching as a performance where you have to be aware of yourself.
People who have high confidence and positive energy tend to attract more attention and respect. The same can be said to teachers. Express your passion in teaching by showing that you’re enjoying what you do. Nurture your inner self while nurturing your relationship with your students – they sure will have a great time as much as you do.
Picture yourself as a student again.
Your students will take it as a challenge if you sit as a student for a day and you let one or two of them to discuss in place of you.
Don’t take teaching conflicts too seriously.
Teaching and learning can be stressful to both teachers and students. Some students may take more than one courses and may need to balance work with studies. Teachers, on the other hands, have various responsibilities that do not stop with teaching or making lesson plans. This is the reason why you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself when things are not working as you expected. Things happen, but they pass so understand, empathize, and carry on.
Different teaching styles the affect students’ learning by Susan Day
10 Teaching Essentials by Tom Sherrington
Teaching Strategies for Dyslexic Kindergartners by Judy Hanning
Four Ways to Not Quit Teaching by Dan Meyer
40+ Brilliant Teaching Hacks by Vanessa Levin