Teacher Shortage Areas



Teacher Shortage Areas

Photo by cybrarian77

While many prospective and veteran teachers alike have suffered from the economic recession, especially in states where there have been mass layoffs, major turnover will soon occur, with more than 1 million teachers getting ready to head into retirement. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that student enrollment in elementary and secondary schools will rise from 55 million to 58 million between 2010 and 2019. Given these factors, future teacher shortages are inevitable in many geographic areas. Read on to learn more about the job market for teachers in the coming years.

Geographic Areas
Typically, teachers are in demand for urban and rural areas. Each year, the U.S. Department of Education issues a report listing the designated high-need areas in each state and U.S. territory. According to Monster, the following areas are presently in particular need for qualified teachers: Wichita, Kansas; Georgia (11 percent of current teachers are not certified); St. Louis, Missouri; Fall River District, Massachusetts; Blane County School District, Idaho; Maryland; Mississippi; Yuma, Arizona; Dallas, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Some of these areas even offer tuition reimbursement and other recruitment incentives. New York City and the state of Florida are both promising areas for prospective teachers.

In-Demand Certifications
Specific subject areas are in demand in almost every geographic location. Mathematics, science and special education teachers are in the greatest demand. With a boom in non-English speaking students, bilingual and ESL teachers are also greatly needed. Additionally, minority students represent at least 40 percent of the U.S student population, and those numbers are expected to rise, yet most teachers do not represent minorities. Therefore, minority teachers are in high demand.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teaching is a promising field, due to lagging math and science scores amongst American students. According to 2009 numbers, American high schools students were ranked globally at 23rd in science and 31st in math. The country has overhauled math and science standards in an effort to compete globally. The Obama administration has taken additional measures to find highly qualified STEM teachers with its “STEM Master Teacher Corps Initiative.” According to Education News, Obama’s plan is to begin with 50 teachers in 50 sites. The number of teachers will be increased to 10,000 in four years, and the “master teachers” will receive a $20,000 stipend, in addition to their salary, in exchange for their services. There has never been a better time to become a STEM teacher, given the increase in engineering and computer-related professions in the country.

Advanced Degrees
Since some high-shortage areas have been forced to hire teachers without certifications or to instruct in areas outside of their certifications, preference is given to teachers with aMaster of Arts in Teaching, a Master of Education or a similar graduate degree. Having a master’s degree can also equate to higher salaries and more leadership opportunities. With the federal push for highly qualified teachers, a master’s degree certainly gives candidates better opportunities. As the veteran teachers, who have delayed their retirements due to a lagging economy, prepare to exit the profession, new teachers with advanced degrees will be the first hired.

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