There will always be a need for great teachers. Regardless of temporary economic conditions, hiring practices, budget cuts or any other factors that impact the education system, the need for teachers is timeless and universal. Society will always need educators, and in that respect, teaching is one career in which you can be confident you will always have a purpose.
In fact, the need for teachers is quite real. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011, employment of teachers is expected to grow by 13% between 2008 and 2018. In 2008, there were about 3.5 million kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school teachers in the country, so we can expect almost another 500,000 to be hired by 2018. Also indicative of the high demand for teachers is the large volume of grants available for teachers.
The specific needs of schools vary from district to district. Some areas, particularly in high-needs schools in the south and west, have higher needs for teachers. There is also a demand for teachers by subject, with certain academic areas needing teachers more than others. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is a great example of an area where there is a high demand for great teachers. Take a look at your state to find out about specific subject teacher shortage areas. But across the board, the general consensus is that we need great teachers.
Where Are Teachers Needed?
The need for teachers is specific to schools and districts, but there are overarching trends in the demand. Certain areas across the country need teachers more than others. These are known as high-needs schools, and they constitute the schools in the country with the most difficulty retaining teachers. High needs schools are usually in urban or rural areas, and are defined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 as “within the top quartile of elementary and secondary schools statewide, as ranked by the number of unfilled, available teacher positions; or is located in an area where at least 30 percent of students come from families with incomes below the poverty line; or an area with a high percentage of out of-field-teachers, high teacher turnover rate, or a high percentage of teachers who are not certified or licensed.”
There is also demand for certain subjects. The NCES’ table of job vacancies categorizes the need for teachers in terms of academic subjects; math, chemistry, physics and other sciences, are some of the subjects in highest demand. People are simply not becoming certified or are not qualified to teach these subjects.
Increasing trends in immigration have led to an increase in the enrollment of bilingual students. Students for whom English is not their first language are becoming more common in the classroom, and there is a huge demand for Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). Many schools need teachers who are certified to teach English as a Second Language (ESL), and to accommodate a culturally diverse student body. Special Education is also another area that needs more qualified teachers.
Find out how you can become a teacher where you are needed most.