What is the job outlook for teachers? That depends on whom you ask.
The official projections published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor predict average growth over the next 10 years (except for high school teaching positions, which will likely grow at slower rates than the national average for all occupations).
However, the U.S. is currently facing a sea change in how we prepare and recruit our teachers. Many are concerned that we are not doing enough to ensure our teachers are fully prepared to teach, even with a bachelor’s degree in education. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “It has long been clear that as a nation, we could do a far better job of preparing teachers for the classroom.”
More than Half of the Nation’s Teachers Agree: A Bachelor’s Is Not Enough
As of 2015, there were around 3.1 million full-time teachers in the U.S. Of those teachers, 56 percent have a master’s degree even though only a bachelor’s degree is required (plus certification). Why are more than half of the nation’s teachers over-trained?
To answer that question, you must look at the benefits of pursuing an advanced degree, such as a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Aside from improving teachers’ instruction and broadening their skill sets, this degree can also lead to promotions, pay raises and a wider selection of career opportunities — including school principal. The job outlook for teachers who graduate with this degree is much brighter than those who forgo an advanced degree.
Should Every Teacher Earn a Master’s Degree?
The topics covered and the standards maintained in a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction program might be what the critics of the teacher preparation system want from teacher-preparation programs at the undergraduate level.
At heart of the reform issue is whether current undergraduate teacher preparation programs are recruiting actual would-be educators or simply filling their classrooms with people who want an “easy A.” With advanced programs such as the master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, this is not a substantial concern. On the contrary, students pursuing an advanced degree are demonstrating dedication to their profession by seeking to expand their skill sets and career opportunities.
The Obama administration has been working on this issue for several years, declaring that action is necessary to improve our teacher training programs because teachers and students deserve better. In 2011, Obama unveiled an initiative called Our Future, Our Teachers, which lays out a comprehensive plan for improving not only teacher preparation but also recruitment techniques. In 2014, Obama went even further, asking states to develop accountability programs for teacher preparation programs in the areas of student outcomes, employment outcomes and other factors.
This issue has become more urgent and highly scrutinized because of a projected teacher shortage. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) predicts that by 2020, states and districts will need to hire as many as 350,000 teachers each year due to teacher retirement and attrition and increased student enrollment. That could be encouraging news for graduates of a master’s in education program, who may have the edge they need to secure the educational opportunities they want.
Learn more about the LSUS online M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction program.
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