There will always be a high demand for qualified teachers. Teaching is one profession in which jobs remain steadily available across the country. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011, employment of teachers is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. In 2008, there were about 3.5 million kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school teachers in the country, with almost another 500,000 expected to be hired by 2018.
Nationwide, the need for teachers varies from school to school and district to district, with higher needs in the south and west, according to teach.com. The greatest demand for teachers remains in high needs or low-income schools and in certain academic subjects, both challenges that make recruiting and retaining teachers difficult. High needs schools are usually found in urban and rural areas, and are defined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. At least 30 percent of students in these locations come from families with incomes below the poverty line, and there is a high teacher turnover rate in these locations. Increasing trends in population shift and growth, as well as in immigration, have resulted in a need for certain subject matter. Teacher shortage areas for the 2015-2016 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education, are the following: bilingual/English as a second language, career and technical education, computer science, mathematics, science, and special education. Many districts around the country have increased stipends to attract and reward the most skilled and dedicated educators qualified to teach these subjects as well as to teach in high needs schools. Texas also provides differential pay support for educators teaching in high needs schools and for those teaching in shortage subject areas.
What do Texas teachers look like?
In Texas, the strong economy and booming population – which is expected to double by 2050 – are driving a record demand for certified teachers. As of August 2014, the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the branch of the state government responsible for public education, oversees 1,247 public school districts, juvenile justice districts, Texas School For the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Texas School for the Deaf. More than 5.2 million students are enrolled in Texas schools, with more than 85,000 new students currently admitted into Texas schools each year, according to Texas Teachers, an alternative certification program in Texas.
Today, there are approximately 600,000 Texas teachers and other school employees. As in other areas of the country, there is a shortage of Texas teachers, particularly in terms of the academic subjects of math and other sciences, foreign languages, technology applications, bilingual education and special education. A recent survey from the Texas Association of School Boards reports that 71 percent of the state's school districts pay a stipend to teachers in at least one critical shortage area. The increasing need and fierce competition between districts for qualified Texas teachers has pushed starting annual salaries to all-time highs, breaking $50,000 in numerous districts. The average elementary teacher salary in Texas is $51,090, while the average secondary teacher makes $53,160. Because the salary for teachers in Texas can vary based on many different factors, it is helpful to start with the state-mandated minimum salary schedule. According to TEA's 2015-2016 Minimum Salary Schedule, the salary for teachers in Texas can begin at a minimum of $28,080 for a teacher with no experience, a minimum of $32,440 for a teacher with five years of experience, a minimum of $38,080 for a teacher with 10 years of experience, and a minimum of $45,510 for a teacher with 20 or more years of experience.
Obviously, for individuals considering a teaching career in Texas, experience and knowledge count, whether postsecondary, K-12, or preschool. It also matters whether a teacher can fill a difficult position as well as the teacher’s level of education. A future or current classroom teacher wanting to boost his or her salary or wanting to move up the ranks to the district level may consider earning an online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. An M.Ed. focuses on teaching and managing within a school system. Public education administrators and leaders, such as principals, vice principals, superintendents, and assistant superintendents all help to ensure teachers are able to do their jobs and are properly instructing students.
Graduates with an M.Ed. in educational leadership and administration also can pursue careers as professors, program directors, and curriculum developers. The job outlook for educational administrators is excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities in this field will increase by 17 percent through 2018. Many M.Ed. graduates, however, decide to remain in the classroom, using their advanced knowledge and skills to ensure their students are getting the best education possible.
Learn more about UTA’s online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.
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