Education experts day there will always be teaching jobs. What kinds of teaching positions and what locations are best for teachers right now? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pre-school and vocational job openings are expected to increase in the next few years. The need for special education teachers is expected to increase faster than need for most other teachers. This is due to the rising number of students with disabilities.
As the average student enrollments increase between now and 2018, the need for vocational teachers will grow by 9% — this is about as fast as the average of all occupations in the U.S. The demand for secondary school vocational teachers will be higher than for middle school. Because of an increased focus on traditional academic subjects, jobs for teachers in vocational education overall will be somewhat limited.
Preschool teacher jobs are expected to be more plentiful due to high turnover, with a 19% increase in jobs through 2018. This is a higher growth rate than other positions on average. Early childhood education is being emphasized, and several states are initiating programs such as full-day preschool. The job market for child care workers and teachers assistants who work with preschool teachers will also be good.
As children of baby boomers graduate in the next few years, middle and secondary school enrollment will start to slow, but this varies greatly by region. For example, state in the south and west will actually see increased enrollments. Federal funding has increased for hiring teachers in lower income areas. Jobs for teachers in middle and secondary schools will open up as teachers retire or make career changes.
Teachers specializing in subject areas including math, science (especially chemistry and physics), bilingual education and foreign languages will be sought after. The Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) reports that there are not enough teachers with proper education in these subjects. In inner-city schools, for example, you will find many math teachers who did not minor or major in math in when they earned their degrees. The same is true for science teachers. One report shows a national shortfall of more than 280,000 math and science teachers in the next 4-5 years. To make these kinds of teaching jobs particularly attractive are incentives and strategies being put in place by school districts like California, where legislation is being considered to allow districts to offer extra pay to math and science teachers and allocate more funds toward classroom materials in these subjects.
Bilingual teachers especially will be in demand as the number of non-English speaking students continues to grow. Nearly 19 percent of all K-12 students in the U.S. have English as a second language. By 2030, this number is expected to jump to 40 percent. Bilingual teachers will be in high demand in California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois.
States with the largest enrollment increases are Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Georgia. Midwest enrollments are expected to remain steady. Northeastern schools are expected to see declining enrollments. If you are able to relocate and become certified in more than one subject, you will have the most job opportunities to choose from.
Teachers with experience and leadership qualities will continue to find opportunities as school principals and high-level administrators in grades K-12. This is a good career path for teachers who enjoy being involved with students, parents and community groups, and who have skills and an interest in budgeting, reporting and overseeing administrative and personnel duties. These positions usually require a master’s degree in education, or in educational leadership.
Online instruction and distance learning is growing as well, especially in K-12. Teachers who are well-educated in classroom technologies, internet and social network skills will have the best opportunities for teaching jobs. Along with teaching, the ability to design online instructional programs and materials will serve job seekers well.