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The Education Job Market: How Does It Compare to Your Job Market?

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Welcome to the Career Corner! I'm BJ Bryant and as the Executive Director of the American Association for Employment in Education, it is exciting to be a partner with Agent K-12 to discuss the issues of careers in education and of employment in the teaching profession.

Our association has researched educator supply and demand for the past 30 years. In 2006, we continued to see a steady, positive increase in the demand for education candidates. Certainly, in fields like special education, math, and science, there are shortages of educators around the country. However, we know that there are great differences depending upon the teaching field and the region of the country. Even one state can have several different job markets within its boundaries. Yet, we all know that the job market comes down to the individual and to the school system. What are you seeing in your job market? BJ

9 Comments

Even though I have an Eds. in administration and 16 yrs. of experience as a teacher and a 3.8 gradepoint average along with a 185 on the national leadership test, I've given up on applying to be an administrator. The district I work for probably needs me worse as a special education teacher and I'm not the right sex (male) or color (anything other than white) or age ( anything other than over 50). It's a great deal of work to apply every year hoping to get a position and knowing the most you'll get is the mandatory interview. I'll teach another five years and retire. I don't have any bitterness about it, it just isn't worth the effort to keep applying over and over again. I'm sure there are others that have reached the same decision.

As a school district recruiter for teachers and administrators, I have had honest conversations with candidates about their chances for positions in our district. I would suggest that you have a face-to-face with someone in your district that could give you an honest assessment of your candidacy. It may be that your talents and experience might be more valuable elsewhere.

Unfortunately, GPA and tests scores do not get people into jobs in administration. I have degrees from Big Ten and Ivy League universities, great test scores, and a wide range of teaching and other experience in education. I had to change jobs and districts multiple times to get an administrative position. Now that I have experience, I have found that getting interviews in no easier than it was when I had no experience. I have learned through watching some of my peers get positions, that everything comes down to how you are connected to others. In other words, it is all about who you know. Very few jobs are truly open or go to the person with the most impressive resume. There is usually some agenda or inside candidate in the mix as well.

Using race and gender as an excuse is convenient, but the reality is there is something that is preventing you from moving forward in your district. As the last poster stated, find out what it is and either move on or adjust what you are doing.

The job market in my area is saturated. There are several colleges and universities with education programs here. I would like to hear from people who have comments about whether trying to get a teaching assistant position is a good stepping stone toward getting an elementary teaching position. I thought my good grades (4.0) and hard work (research project) in graduate school as well as my volunteer activities (literacy tutor, Big Sister) would help me stand out from the crowd, but so far it seems that I have to sub in a district before I'll even be considered. How can I get known in a district while not putting all my eggs in one basket? Maybe TA experience would be even more valuable? But I'd always had the impression that TA's were viewed as somewhat second class. Would people just think of me as "just" a TA even though I am certified to teach, and pass me over?

I spent two years after my undergrad looking for a teaching position in Michigan. I was told all through school that being male and an early childhood major would make me stand out in crowds. however after two years I ended up leaving Michigan to teach in Florida and than kind of fell into an elementary teaching job in Michigan. Being an educator is hard especially if you are in an area or state that is saturated with full time teachers and experiencing slow growth. I recommend subbing aa lot in one district to get yourself known throughout the district and apply for every job that opens in and around that district. If all else fails be ready to move to another state like Arizona, Georgia, Florida, and Nevada.

I really don't think that anyone should have to substitute or become an teacher assistant to get a job in education, with all the job shortages. Though, you may have to move out of the area that is saturated with teacher to land the perfect job you want. You have a great resume and a district would love to hire you.

I have worked in the special ed field as an educational interpreter for 13 years. I finally went back to school, worked really hard, got wonderful grades, did my student teaching in a fabulous school district, but after a year, can barely get in for an interview. One school district told me they've received 1400 applications in 3 months for 5 open positions. How do I compete with this? I thought having so much experience as a beginning teacher would work to my advantage. I wonder if receiving my degree online from Western Governor's University is holding me back. Any suggestions?
Charlotte

I completely agree with the comments posted by the respondants above. Living in a northern state that is experiencing slow growth or no growth like CT is very frustrating for experienced, well-qualified candidates seeking both administrative and teaching positions. Because New England states have small town and city-based school districts, nepotism and "connectedness" dominate the hiring criteria, even in shortage fields like math and science. Although it's not always the case, there is a predisposition to petty jealousies, clubbiness and professional mediocrity seen in too many educators in these districts. Unfortunately, this is most often the case in the neediest of the urban settings like small New England cities. It's an intractable cultural trait that has persisted for generations.

I am contemplating going to college for an AA in teaching. I would eventually get a 4 year degree from a university. I would like to work in the field after receiving the AA. I'm concerned that my only options at that point would be a day care setting. Am I wrong? Any advice

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