The teacher shortage has reached a crisis point in the US, with states grappling to find educators.
Teaching is a wonderful career, but, as a lot of states are starting to realize, teachers have been taken advantage of for far too long.
It’s pretty normal to require a reasonable living wage and for a lot of teachers leaving the profession, that’s what it comes down to.
But, thankfully, states with major shortages are starting to make improvements to help retain and attract more teachers.
One way states are attracting more teachers is through alternative teaching certification programs. Allowing aspiring teachers the option to get certified to teach for a fraction of the cost and time vs. traditional pathways.
Programs like these help eliminate financial and time barriers to make becoming a teacher accessible to more people.
We’ve compiled a list of states with the most significant teacher shortages and found out what they require from teachers as well as what they’re doing to meet teachers’ needs.
You’ll find that the vast majority of states with teacher shortages are now trying to pull in teachers by providing alternative routes to certification, professional development opportunities and long-term planning for salaries.
Let’s dive in!
In Hawai’i, the teacher shortage is real and the state is doing everything in its power to qualify more people to teach in the classroom. From funding teacher certification programs to updating curriculums. Shortages are particularly big in math, science and English. Hawai’i doesn’t currently offer housing for teachers, but keep your eyes peeled – as there are talks of housing assistance in the works for teachers who work in high-need schools.
Teachers living in Hawai’i can look forward to the “Aloha” lifestyle, crystal blue seas and golden sands. From the colorful flowers to the welcoming people, this is definitely a location a teacher could fall in love with. We bet it will be hard to resist getting addicted to a weekend snorkel!
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||There are many ways to get an alternative teaching license in Hawai’i.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$58,000 – 60,000 (dependant on area)|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$46,790|
|Professional development opportunities||Hawai’i provides professional development for its teachers.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||BA degree, passes in relevant Praxis subjects as well as being enrolled in a teacher preparation program.|
Arizona has several different shortages for teachers. Specific subject areas that are in desperate need of teachers are foreign language, special ed, bilingual, ESL, math and science. The state is also promising a statewide increase of 20% in teacher salaries. Arizona is also using a “warm body” approach to teaching, so allowing anyone with relevant experience in an area to teach.
Arizona was built on mining, and the countryside is epic, to say the absolute least. The Grand Canyon is on your doorstep and that’s not all. It’s also the state with the largest amount of its land given over to Indian lands. If all that’s sounding a bit rural, there are cities… so you don’t have to envisage life in the wilderness.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||There are several ways to get an alternative teacher certification in Arizona.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$44,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$34,473|
|Professional development opportunities||Arizona provides PD opportunities for its teachers.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||Arizona lets subject matter experts without a teaching license teach; however, most wannabe teachers should aim to have an alternative teaching license.|
Indiana is embracing technology in their bid to find and hire new teachers. With shortages in all content areas, they are particularly interested in teachers with some urban experience. Recent moves to recruit include social media campaigns, Google ads and the launch of a Teach Indy website.
For teachers looking for an urban lifestyle, this may be one of the best states to make sure you’re not too far from major shopping hunts️. The state has more than that to offer with catacombs, museums and the zoo; your weekends will full of activities.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||Indiana has a couple of transition to teaching courses to help teachers gain alternative certification.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$54,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$35,943|
|Professional development opportunities||Not only does Indiana offer PD, it offers a PD growth plan to make sure teachers are on track!|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||A BA degree and a temporary emergency permit (this is really the minimum, and teachers are recommended to get licensed).|
Although it has teacher shortages, Washington is perhaps better set to face them than most states. The crisis is mostly around substitutes and subject-specific areas like math, science and special ed. There are also plans to give all teachers a salary bump!
Washington state is home to a mild climate and teachers can look forward to life in stunning surroundings. Seattle alone is a hub of things to do, but you won’t be stuck for inspiration anywhere in this state. For all you cheese addicts, this is also the birthplace of the Cheese Zombie. We’ll let you figure out what that means!
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||There are some alternative routes to teacher certification in Washington.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$53,500|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$42,240|
|Professional development opportunities||The state provides PD opportunities for teachers.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||A BA degree, pass in state-approved subject-specific exams and an alternative teaching license.|
School districts in Nevada are seriously struggling to attract teaching talent across all subject areas. The state has responded by allowing teachers into the classroom on provisional licenses as well as offering attractive signing bonuses to new teachers. It’s also launched a “calling all heroes” campaign to try and get teachers to make the move from other parts of the country.
Nevada is mostly desert, but there’s still plenty to do. Las Vegas alone is a constant hub of madness, but it’s nowhere near all that Nevada has to offer. From vintage neon signs to gorgeous geysers – this is a state that will never stop surprising people.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||There are a couple of ways to get a teacher certified in Nevada.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$48,600|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$40,000|
|Professional development opportunities||The state funds PD opportunities for teachers.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||A BA degree and a provisional teaching license|
Math, science and special ed teachers are all in high demand, but there are certainly shortages across the board. California is throwing money at the problem, including $70 million spent on funding teacher preparation courses to get prospective teachers into the classroom. The state has also recently released some new legislation to incentivize STEM programs, so science teachers take note!
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California is a bit of a show-off in terms of lifestyle; you’ll find it all here. Silicon Valley, Golden Gate Bridge, the glamor of Hollywood, rolling hills, beaches and sunny days. Sigh! There’s nothing we can teach you about California that you won’t have already heard in one of the many songs written about it.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||There are a number of ways to get teacher certified in California and some of them are funded.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$67,800|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$46,992|
|Professional development opportunities||The state funds PD opportunities for teachers.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||It generally requires a BA degree and a completed teacher preparation course.|
South Carolina is one of the states with a teacher shortage that is doing its utmost to attract new teachers. They’ve poured money into a teacher recruitment and retention strategy that tries to help teachers by helping with payment of student loans and funding two years of grad school after five years of teaching in a high-turnover district. South Carolina also has grand plans for the future, aiming to give teachers of critical subject areas an additional $1,500 per year. They’ve also got plans to launch a loan forgiveness program that will provide teachers with $5,500 a year for seven years to help pay off debt.
There are teacher shortages in all content areas. It’s also one of the states known for being great for professional development for educators. There is also a plan in place to boost teaching salaries by 2020.
Home to Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Falls Park, South Carolina is a lovely place to live. There’s plenty of more unusual things to do here: from a UFO welcome center to an intricate topiary garden and the State’s famous (and glorious) deep-fried peanuts!
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||There’s no shortage of alternative teacher certification programs in South Carolina.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$49,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$33,148|
|Professional development opportunities||South Carolina funds an impressive list of PD opportunities for its teachers.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||Teachers need a BA degree and a pass in the relevant Praxis tests. Teachers without a traditional teaching degree should complete an approved South Carolina teacher preparation program.|
The teacher shortage in North Dakota is more or less chronic. There’s plenty of oil money to throw around, but not much of it is being thrown at schools, although there are no plans to reduce funding, there aren’t any talks about increasing it either. Aside from PE teachers, all subjects need some teachers. North Dakota also has a loan forgiveness program to help teachers pay down debt.
Living in North Dakota is best summed up by Theodore Roosevelt, so we’ll let him do the talking for us because his description is as accurate now as it ever was. He described it as: “a world of beauty and color and limitless space.”
|Alternative teacher certificate programs:||North Dakota currently has several ways to get an alternative teacher certification.|
|Average teacher salary (USD):||$51,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD):||$38,611|
|Professional development opportunities:||The state provides PD opportunities for teachers to do Personal Development that helps work towards teacher certificate renewal,|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||A BA and a state-approved completed teacher preparation course, as well as passing grades in the Praxis test for their subject area.|
The home of the Northern Lights offers one of the highest starting salaries for starting teachers. There are shortages in multiple areas but particularly in special ed, math and science.
For teachers who want to be free of the madding crowd, Alaska offers a unique location to teach from. This is the perfect location for teachers who embrace the big outdoors, from stunning hiking trails and glaciers to wildlife like bears, wolves and moose. There’s no shortage of beauty for nature lovers.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||No alternative routes to teacher certification. It’s possible to get an M license, but only for specific subjects and the school board must request it.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$62,160|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$46,954|
|Professional development opportunities||The state provides teachers with a range of professional development, including effective ways to teach and test: oral language and vocabulary, phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and writing.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||The minimum requirement for teachers in Alaska is a teaching license. Teachers can also have completed a teacher preparation or alternative certificate program; these applicants will need to pass the state exams in their subject areas. Alaska doesn’t currently offer its alternative certification.|
Illinois has shortages across the board, but particularly in special ed, math and science. It also boasts one of the highest starting salaries for qualified teachers, which is bound to put it top of many newbie teacher’s lists.
It’s an excellent state for teachers with green thumbs (the soil is legit amazing), baseball problems and anyone that have an appreciation for snow days ☃️. Other temptations include deep-dish pizza and the world’s biggest public library (aka a teacher’s best friend).
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||A list of teacher certification programs in Illinois.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$55,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$39,236|
|Professional development opportunities||The state supports professional development for teachers in Illinois.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||Teachers in Illinois require a BA, a teacher certification program and passing results on the state teacher certification exams.|
Between a wave of retirees and a new amendment cutting class sizes, Florida is facing a critical teacher shortage. With more students than ever before, there is an urgency to recruit teachers in all subject areas. The state allocates serious funding to its Best and Brightest Program, rewarding teachers whose students achieve top scores. There have been talks of re-allocating some of this fund to help boost the average teacher’s salary. Florida has a Critical Teacher Shortage Program that allocates extra funding to teachers taking a position in hard-to-staff schools and subject areas. This includes scholarship programs, loan forgiveness programs and housing support!
From the beaches of Miami ️ to the swamps of Gainesville, Florida has a little of everything. If you like your summers hot and have a soft spot for Disney World – then this may be the perfect place to launch your teaching career.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||From temporary to professional alternative teaching licenses. See what Florida requires from its teachers here.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$48,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$37,636|
|Professional development opportunities||Florida provides professional development opportunities for its teachers.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||Teachers in Florida are required to have a minimum of a BA, a completed teacher certification program and a passing grade in the Florida teacher certification examinations.|
Teachers needed in Connecticut include speech and language, music, Spanish, bilingual education, science, math and special ed. This state is famous for being teacher-friendly with stricter requirements than most. It also has some of the most attractive salaries for teachers in the US.
So, teachers with a crush on the town of Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls, this is your state! The hit TV series was set in this state, so think gorgeous fall foliage and diners. This state is home to Mark Twain’s former abode and Yale University.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||If you’re hoping to teach in Connecticut, make sure you choose one of these accredited teacher certification programs.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$76,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$48,000|
|Professional development opportunities||Connecticut schools must provide teachers with professional development opportunities.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||Connecticut requires teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher preparation program at an accredited school. Teachers must also pass the Praxis Core skills test and subject-specific exams for the content area and grade they intend to teach.|
The big gaps for teachers in Alabama are in special education, science and math. But there’s certainly room for other teachers too. One exciting initiative to keep students that was announced this year is by the University of West Alabama. They provide scholarships and more to students at UWA who get certified and will teach for three years in the Black Belt. The aim is that they will fall in love with the area, see the difference they make and decide to stay long term.
As for falling in love with the area, what’s not to love? English teachers are going to go googly-eyed for the Shakespeare fans, science teachers have the US Space Center, and for fans of country music, there’s a Hank Williams pilgrimage to soothe the soul.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||There are plenty of options for getting teacher certified in Alabama, check out a list of accredited teacher certificate programs here.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$50,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$38,491|
|Professional development opportunities||The state of Alabama provides professional development for its teachers. Check out some of the programs here.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||The basic requirements for teaching in Alabama are a BA and a completed teacher certificate program.|
Arkansas is actively seeking teachers in math, science and ESL. It’s also rated one of the top states for professional development opportunities, so teachers looking at their long-term career prospects could do a lot worse!
This state is full of hidden treasures! Whether you want to discover the joys of chocolate gravy, explore a castle, or dig for diamonds, there’s no shortage of unique things to see and do if you live in Arkansas.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||Check out the Arkansas Board of Education to find a list of accredited routes to becoming a licensed teacher in Arkansas.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$48,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$33,323|
|Professional development opportunities||State law says that for every 190 days of service, teachers must receive six days of professional development. You can find out more about professional development opportunities in Arkansas here.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||Similar to other states, teachers are required to have a minimum of a BA and a teaching certificate program. There are many different ways to get a teacher certified in Arkansas.|
Few teachers seem to consider relocating to the Lonestar Star State, but it has plenty to offer. It has recently boosted salaries and schools are actively looking to find teachers from minority groups that better reflect the students in the average Texas classroom. Studies have shown students respond better to teachers that look like them, so Texas school districts are looking for balance in their teachers.
Texas is massive – there’s a home for every teacher, whether you’re creative and want to settle near Austin’s artistic community, a history-nut who wants to explore San Antonio or you’re a science nerd and want to live near Nasa’s Space Centre in Houston!
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||Check out the Texas Teacher Certificate programs to find out how to become a licensed teacher in Texas.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$52,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$41,481|
|Professional development opportunities||It’s written into state law that Texas schools must continue the development of their teachers. For more information on Professional Development Courses in Texas.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||Teachers in Texas are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and an alternative teacher certification completed.|
North Carolina’s teacher shortage had lead to statewide educational reform. Not only are school districts pitching in to bump the average teacher’s wages, but there is a host of professional development opportunities and alternative teacher certification programs. This is only the beginning for North Carolina who continue to tackle the issue by targeting an increase in the average salary to $55,000 by 2020.
North Carolina is an often overlooked state that has a lot to offer teachers on the lifestyle front. It’s got Southern charm without the southern temperatures! It’s a mild climate most of the year and a paradise for hiking or biking enthusiasts ⛰️♀️.
|Alternative teacher certificate programs||Check out the North Carolina Teacher Certificate Programs listed here for more information on how to become a certified teacher in North Carolina.|
|Average teacher salary (USD)||$50,000|
|Average teacher starting salary (USD)||$37,631|
|Professional development opportunities||North Carolina has a statewide initiative for Professional Development opportunities for teachers. These focus on multiple stages of the teacher’s life cycle ranging from beginning teacher support programs to leadership development. You can read more about the courses at the North Carolina board of education’s site.|
|Minimum requirements for teachers||Teachers in North Carolina are required to have a bachelor’s degree and at least a teacher preparation course completed.|