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How hard is it to get a job in elementary education?


8-1-PkrSacto-TeacherRyan from Weber State University asked:

How hard is it to get a job in elementary education once you have the degree?

Hi Ryan –

As it is in most cases, the answer to your question is “it depends!” There are many factors you must consider  to determine the answer that is true for you.

First, look at the national outlook

The US Department of Labor produces an Occupational Outlook Handbook, which includes job outlook information on most career paths including Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers.  So, what does the Bureau of Labor Statistics have to say?:

Employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth is expected because of both declines in student–teacher ratios and increases in enrollment. However, employment growth will vary by region.

The most important part of that whole statement is the last sentence:  Employment growth will vary by region

Second, look at the regional outlook

You are in Utah, and the Utah Department of Workforce Services produces state-specific occupational outlook data, including data on Elementary School Teachers in Utah. So what does the Utah Occupational Report for Elementary School Teachers ()except Special Education) say:

This occupation is expected to experience faster than average employment growth with a high volume of annual job openings. Expansion, as opposed to the need for replacements, will provide the majority of job openings in the coming decade. A significant number of older teachers is expected to reach retirement age from 2010 to 2020.

So, the outlook appears good, right?  You’re not done yet!

Third, look for resources and support from your campus career services office

Connected with the career center on your campus?  They have some valuable resources for you, including What can I do with a degree in Education? and Career Services and a career counselor specifically for Education majors seeking employment in education.  Your university is there to help you.  Take them up on the offer.

Last, look at your qualifications & your competition

I assume from your question that you are an education major or considering elementary education as your major.  How are you doing in school? Do you have or are you working toward the necessary qualifications? What have you done  above and beyond the basic requirements to get teaching or teaching-related experience?  Have you done your student teaching yet, and if so, how did that go?  How flexible are you about where you will go for a job?  What is the competition for jobs in elementary education where you are and where you are willing to go?  There are many variable to consider.

These are all really important questions, and your answers will be unique to you.  Collectively, this information will help you determine how hard it will be for you to find work as an elementary school teacher once you graduate.

Hope this helps!



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