Regardless of the sluggish economy and budget cuts that have been plaguing the nation’s education system over the past few years, the demand for teaching jobs is timeless. After all, our society will always need great teachers to educate the young minds of our children. With 3.5 million teachers already teaching in the nation’s elementary, middle and high schools, employment of teachers is projected to grow by 13 percent before 2018, which will add another 500,000 new openings. That being said, universities around the United States are producing twice as many elementary school teachers than are needed to fill demand, while critical shortages are found in other areas of education. Read on to learn about the three major teacher shortage areas that are currently creating the highest demand for teaching jobs to ensure you have the best prospects after graduation.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
Since today’s students will be the leaders of our future, teachers specializing in STEM education can expect to be among one of the field’s fastest growing and best paid of the 21st century. As the United States strives to keep up with STEM output from other countries, there is a rising demand for American students to become well-versed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. At the elementary or high school level, STEM teachers can be responsible for teaching astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, information technology, mathematics, physics, statistics, and many other related disciplines. Teachers who follow an alternative route to teacher certification by choosing an STEM-related major are considered to be the greatest assets to schools today.
Special Needs and Gifted Education
As a result of greater diagnostic attention being devoted to children with developmental delays and intellectual disorders like Autism and Down ’s syndrome, special education is another of the rapidly growing areas of demand for teachers. Since special needs children are being streamlined into traditional general education classrooms to create an inclusive environment, there is a high demand for teachers in special education to ensure all students’ needs are being met with adaptive learning. While universities prepare around 22,000 special education teachers each year, that is only about half the number that the nation needs. Therefore, special education and gifted resource teachers are extremely in demand for working with children with physical or mental disabilities.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Due to the increasing trends in immigration over the last decade, schools across the nation are experiencing a dramatic increase in bilingual students from diverse cultural backgrounds around the globe. Since students for whom English is not their first language are becoming extremely commonplace in America’s classrooms, there is a vast demand for TESOL teachers across all grade levels. While Spanish is considered the most popular language for opening doors in regions with large Latino populations, fluency is any foreign language can be a tremendous advantage for teachers wishing to market themselves. Beyond elementary and secondary schools, TESOL teachers are also in-need for working with college students and adults from other countries who are learning English.
Overall, there is a rising demand for qualified teachers to utilize their expertise by teaching in content-specific areas, work with students with disabilities, and educate English language learners across the United States, especially in rural and low-income urban areas. While the demand for teaching jobs in general elementary education continues to remain fierce, it is highly recommended that you consider branching out into one of these in-demand specialty areas to find a home for your teaching career and fulfill critical shortages nationwide.