As students enter their last year of high school and begin, or continue, searching colleges and universities, one question they are asking themselves and others is what should I study? Many high school students consider different factors for choosing a profession – such as availability of jobs when they graduate, tuition and the institutions available to them, but most consider and make a decision based on what they like to do in life, and that is the best reason for choosing a major. At least one third of your adult life will be spent at work. Your work will give you the means to enjoy many other things in your life. You have to love what you do. Loving your work does not eliminate the fact that you should still consider other facts in life such as investing in your resources and education.
Some considerations for making this major decision:
- Who needs the work that I will do after graduating from college?
- Will the demand for my profession change in the next 30 to 40 years?
- What have been the recruitment trends of college graduates during the past 10 to 15 years in the profession I am seeking?
These are good questions for everyone to ask, but as a teacher educator, I would like to present some perspectives to those high school students or adults considering teaching as a career. Even though the reasons for career changers (individuals with a bachelor degree pursuing teacher licensure) or non-degreed individuals involved in other occupations varies immensely from high school seniors the consideration of the above questions are the same.
Some points and data to consider before finalizing your interest in the profession of teaching:
- By law, all children in the United States are required and entitled to education at least to the 10th All of these children need to go to school and schools need teachers.
- In the next 30 to 40 years, or until you retire, the laws of the United States will not change in any way that would eliminate universal education for all children in America.
- “Between 2010 and 2019, the number of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools is expected to grow from 55 to 58 million.” http://edprepmatters.net/2014/11/will-we-have-enough-teachers-to-support-our-public-schools/
- In the last decade or so, the need for teachers and other school personnel such as administrators, therapists, psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses, special ed or other specialists has increased. More and more classes are conducted by not only one teacher but a number of teachers and specialists who attend to different psychological, physical, educational and emotional needs of students so they can learn.
- When you consider statistics for job prospects and investigate the market for the profession of teaching or any other career, look at the real statistics, not just trends reported by news media. The job of the media is to report the news and that basically means what is new, not what happens every day and as a usual trend. For example, a few weeks ago the world heard about the shutdown of the Malaysian flight 17 because that was news. Media do not report on the thousands of flights that take off and land safely every day and take passengers all around the world. They should not. Not too many people cancelled their trips from one corner of the world to another as a result of a disaster but airlines took action in re-routing some flights to ensure people’s safety. The real data are easily accessible in the age of internet. For example, according to millions of jobs indexed by Simply Hired, a job search engine, the following increase in hiring teachers has occurred since 2009:
- Math Teacher jobs increased 83%
- English Teacher jobs increased 75%
- Music Teacher jobs decreased 32%
- Art Teacher jobs increased 34%
- School Principal jobs increased 87%
- Science Teacher jobs increased 51%
Graduates of teacher education programs have been hired in these positions and others where the increase was not as vast.