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The Demand for Educators: Good News for Candidates, A Daunting Challenge for Hiring Administrators

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

For future teachers, the job outlook is bright. For school hiring personnel, the challenge of finding enough qualified educators for their vacancies is daunting.

The growing mismatch between teacher supply and demand was documented strongly in a comprehensive report published by the Learning Policy Institute last month. One of the key data sources cited in the study is the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) “Educator Supply and Demand Report 2014-15,” which now has a new edition available—and the shortage situation has not improved.

Each year, AAEE surveys professionals in higher education career services and school district hiring personnel. The latest “Educator Supply and Demand Report,” presenting survey data for the 2015-16 academic year, shows an increasing need for educators in most certification areas and in most parts of the country. (Download the complimentary executive summary here.)

For an overall look at supply and demand across all geographic and certification areas, the AAEE survey produces a national composite score between 1 (Considerable Surplus of educators) to 5 (Considerable Shortage of educators). The 2015-16 national composite score of 3.47 (falling within the Some Shortage category) is the fifth highest since 1981, which includes a range from a high of 3.68 in 2001 to a low of 3.02 in 1994. The latest trend shows the national composite score increasing from 3.21 in 2010 to the current 3.47.

More important than the national composite score, for the first time in several years (due to an 88% increase in respondents from the 2014-15 report to the 2015-16 report—from 305 to 573), AAEE is again able to provide educator demand data by region of the country.

The regional data show that the traditional shortage areas of foreign language, math, science, and special education continue to be in strong demand, while elementary education certification areas have moved into the Balanced and Some Shortage categories, with a few exceptions in three of the nine regions. In past years, the elementary certification areas were predominately in the Surplus categories. Two certification areas, social studies and physical education, continue to have a surplus of educators, but even these areas have moderated compared to previous years. Illustrating this moderation is the fact that social studies is in the Considerable Surplus category in only two regions. While physical education is in the Some Surplus category in seven regions, health education is in the Some Surplus category in only two regions.

AAEE is now gathering data for the 2016-17 report. If you are interested in sharing your experience with educator supply and demand in your region, please complete the survey using this link. The survey will remain open through January 27, but early respondents who complete it by November 30 will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. If your institution is already a member of AAEE, the primary member will receive an invitation to participate. For more information, please contact Deb Snyder, executive director of AAEE, at execdir@aaee.org.

The title of the Learning Policy Institute report begins with a question: “A Coming Crisis in Teaching?” Their data and the latest AAEE report certainly indicate that the demand for educators is rapidly growing stronger. This increasing demand, fueled by teacher attrition combined with significantly fewer college students choosing education as their major, may turn the strong demand for qualified educators into a crisis for the entire teaching profession if school districts cannot find qualified educators to fill their vacancies.

John F. Snyder, associate director of the Office of Career Education and Development at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, prepared this article on behalf of AAEE.

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John F. Snyder

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania