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Recruiting & Hiring

3 Trends to Know When Recruiting New Teachers

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Every time a position opens up in your district, whether from attrition or increased student enrollment, you need to find a qualified, talented candidate to fill the role. It’s easy to get into reaction mode, where you go from filling one position onto the next, but part of strategic recruitment is looking ahead and planning accordingly.

So, what trends should you be aware of in K-12 recruiting and hiring? We looked at data from Frontline Recruiting & Hiring, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center of Education Statistics to put together a comprehensive picture of what’s on the horizon.

The numbers don’t lie — there really is a teacher shortage, and it’s bound to only get worse.

The applicant pool is relatively inexperienced.

First up: an insight from the Frontline Research & Learning Institute. One-third of the national applicant pool consists of new teachers with fewer than three years of experience.

hiring trends for recruiting new teachers pie chart

Less-experienced teachers may make up the bulk of your applicant list, and it’s important to have a way to highlight those with great potential, even if they don’t have years of teaching to back it up. And once they’re hired, you’ll want to have robust mentoring and professional development programs ready to help newer teachers hone their instructional skills.

Not only are many teaching candidates relatively inexperienced, they’re also fairly mobile. This is good news when recruiting (there’s a larger pool of job-seekers) but can be a challenge when it comes to your own district’s retention rate. New graduates don’t seem to be staying in one place for long.

Most states are seeing decreased enrollment in teacher prep programs — but not all.

If applicant pools are comprised in large part by newer educators, the logical next step is to look at the pipeline of new teachers set to enter the workforce in the next several years. Nationally, there’s certainly a shortage of teachers that’s bound to get worse. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of new teachers coming out of teacher preparation programs fell by 65% from 2009 to 2015.

But what’s happening on a national level isn’t always reflective of what’s going in your own state, as demonstrated by the map below, which tracks changes in the number of educators completing teacher preparation programs by state.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2016 Title II Reports: National Teacher Preparation Data.

Six states have defied the national decrease in the number of new teachers: Massachusetts, North Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Arizona and West Virginia. Of those, only Arizona and Utah continue to see increased enrollment in teacher preparation programs, suggesting that they will continue to produce more educators. And although New Hampshire, Washington and Vermont have had fewer teachers graduating from teacher prep programs, enrollment has recently ticked upward — so hopefully, those states will see an influx of new educators within the next couple of years.

New education graduates tend to be from large public universities in the West, or smaller private colleges in the East.

Finally, there are a few geographic trends when it comes to the most prolific teacher preparation programs.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics. IPEDS: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

There are far more programs east of the Mississippi River, with many educators coming from many smaller colleges. Meanwhile, the West tends to see a large number of new teachers from a relatively limited number of universities.

We also see a surprisingly large number of education degrees conferred by online programs headquartered in western states, such as Ashford University (California) and Western Governors (Utah). Note that these programs’ students are likely located across the country, even though their degree is recorded under the institution’s home state.

So, what does this mean for the school district administrator? If you recruit out-of-state, consider tailoring your recruitment strategy to target some of the larger universities, even if they aren’t nearby. Consider attending a job fair in the area, if you’re up for a road trip. Just make sure to bring plenty of recruitment materials that show why your town or city is a wonderful place to live.

If you’re not up for a road trip, or travel expenses aren’t in the budget, it may be worth reaching out to large universities’ career services or schools of education to ask if they’d spread the word about open positions in your district.

Looking for more insights into the new teacher pipeline? We’ve got you covered. See more trends and data here.