The employment outlook for careers in education is constantly changing. In a world where there will always be a need for professionals to shape the youth for tomorrow, it’s reasonable to assume that the demand for professional educators would always be high. While this is a fair assumption, it is not always an accurate one due to the uncontrollable forces that drive growth and demand in a specific field.
What Factors Will Drive The Outlook for Educators?
The many different driving factors that can influence whether or not the projected outlook in a field can vary. In the world of education, the driving factors can be population driven and also competition driven. Birth rates can influence the need for students in the upcoming years. If the number of children entering the country is on a decline, the need for teachers when those children hit school-age is expected to decline.
Another factor that can directly impact employment outlook projections that are published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is the average age of a current educator. If the average age of professionals in the field now is on the rise, there is an expectation that a huge number of teachers will retire within a short period. This creates the need for more professionals to take their spots and also to avoid shortages.
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The Effect of Grade Level, Setting, and Region
While the population trends in the country and in the field will have a bearing on how many new educators are needed in the coming decade, there is a varying need for educators at different levels in the discipline as well. Preschool teachers could see a shift in demand shortly after birth rates peak and college professors could find more opportunity when more students are approved for larger grants.
Changes in core curriculum or new focuses on certain areas of study can change the need for educators. The federal government has placed a focus on science and this led to the development of STEM programs. This is why demand for science teachers in a K-12 setting may be higher than that of an English teacher. A person’s region, their academic specialty, and the school setting can all affect a more narrowed down outlook.
Overall Outlook vs. Grade-Specific Outlook
There is a huge difference between the overall employment outlook in a field and a specific outlook for a certain title. In the field of education, low numbers in one academic area can drive the overall outlook down. That is why it’s important for anyone who wants to study education to look at average growth numbers and also grade-specific numbers.
Overall growth for teachers who are working in private kindergartens and elementary schools is projected to ring in at 7 percent with an employment change of 116,300 jobs by 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to similar data, demand for high school teachers will grow by 8 percent, creating an estimated 76,800 jobs. The highest demand is projected in a post-secondary setting. BLS projections estimate that demand will grow by 15 percent and there will be a need for 197,500 new professors.
While outlook in each area exceeds the national average, knowing which area is projected to offer the best opportunities is important. Anyone who is planning to return to school for years to learn technical or academic competencies should be willing to do outlook research first. With this information on the employment outlook for careers in education, all prospective students can make informed career choices.