Education majors have been warned of a teacher surplus for years, but the actual job outlook for teachers today is quite bright. According to The Washington Post, enrollment in collegiate teaching programs plummeted from 691,000 in 2009 to 451,000 in 2014. Lack of graduates, large numbers of retiring baby boomers, and increasing class sizes are creating a critical shortage of educators. The shortage of qualified teachers is expected to hit 100,000 by 2018 and continue growing thereafter. Hiring crises are especially pronounced in inner-city and rural schools, as well as in specialties like bilingual education. If you’re dedicated to educating the next generation, review the job prospects available at each teaching grade level below.
Early Childhood Education
Teachers certified in early childhood education work with children from birth through age eight to build comprehension in basic content like the alphabet and addition. Early childhood educators are needed to help young students meet developmental milestones or receive early intervention. Enrollment in early childhood programs, such as Head Start, is rising, so the hiring of PreK and kindergarten teachers will grow by 7 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics around 39,100 early education jobs will open through 2024.
Elementary school teachers in K-6 classrooms set students up for academic success by delivering engaging lessons in the fundamental subjects: language arts, math, science, and social studies. Elementary education is another recession-proof job where having licensed teachers to monitor kids’ progress, grade their assignments, and address their learning challenges will always be needed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in elementary education will jump by 6 percent to approximately 78,300 new positions through 2024
Certification to teach older students in grades 6-12 also has a positive job outlook as many educators reach retirement age. Middle and high school teachers teach more rigorous lessons in single-subject classes to prepare adolescents for vocations or college. Since America’s high school graduation rate was at an all-time high of 83 percent in 2015, secondary teachers are needed to keep students matriculated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s projected that secondary education will blossom by 6 percent for 92,700 jobs by 2024.
Special educators support youth with mild to severe disabilities from Kindergarten through their 21st birthday. The NCES reports that 8.3 percent of school-aged children have diagnosed disabilities, which creates demand for teachers to adapt curriculum to suit students’ unique IEP needs. They could specialize in Autism, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities, blind/visual impairments, and more. Becoming a special education teacher is a rewarding K-12 path projected to have 10-year job growth at 6 percent for 31,000 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Teachers with a master’s or Ph.D. find the biggest demand in academia instructing adults in vocational subjects after high school. College professors implement lessons according to their course syllabus and advise students on career skills while also conducting original research. The United States has 6.7 million students at two-year and 10.6 million at four-year colleges, so jobs in post-secondary education are booming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster-than-average growth of 13 percent will open 177,000 faculty positions by 2024.
The U.S. News and World Report featured education within its “10 Hot College Majors” because the need for quality teachers is never-ending. Teaching is the ideal profession for creative, inspiring role models with sharp speaking skills who love working with children and have a passion for their subject. Although the average teacher salary is just $56,383 for a heavy workload, the job outlook for teachers is sunny with great career stability.