If you’re considering changing direction and pursuing a career in education, the outlook for elementary teaching jobs in Texas is bright.
Texas has the second-highest population in the nation, with more than 29 million residents in 2019. And, the numbers are projected to only rise. By 2030, the population of the Lone Star State is expected to hit nearly 35 million residents.
It should come as no surprise then that Texas is in need of elementary teachers. In fact, there is a significant shortage of candidates for several teaching disciplines.
According to the Texas AFT, the statewide branch of the American Federation of Teachers, the teacher shortage could turn into a crisis.
Not all the news is bad, however. Because of this shortage, there are many opportunities available for educators who want to make a difference in the lives of Texas students. And, recent legislation that gave teachers’ salaries in the state a boost has also provided administrators with the ability to recruit and retain more qualified teachers.
If you’re considering entering the teaching profession, here’s what you need to know about:
The overall employment of elementary school teachers is projected to rise 3 percent nationally from 2018 to 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, in Texas, the need for teachers is expected to be great because of increases in enrollment. In fact, for years, Texas has accounted for approximately 25% of the entire population growth in the United States.
Through the end of this decade, the Texas Workforce Commission anticipates that of all professions, elementary school teaching positions will add the second-highest number of jobs in the state.
The Texas Education Agency also expects the trend of urban and rural communities having the greatest need for teachers to continue. Urban areas often have trouble meeting the pay that suburban districts can afford to pay teachers, while rural communities have difficulty attracting candidates to areas located a significant distance from metropolitan areas.
While the job outlook for elementary teaching jobs looks promising across the board, there are a handful of key teaching areas that face a significant shortage of candidates.
This presents an opportunity for soon-to-be teachers to fulfill a district’s need while taking advantage of the benefits that come with teaching in a high-demand subject. In fact, Texas teachers may be eligible for loan forgiveness if they teach a subject matter designated as having a teacher shortage.
According to the Texas Education Agency, the 2019-2020 designated teacher shortage areas for the state, at the elementary level, included:
A recent article in the Dallas Morning News pointed out that the number of limited-English speakers in the state has grown by nearly 50% in the last decade. The article said nearly 1 in 5 students struggle with the English language. At the same time, Texas had a dramatic 20% drop in the number of educators working in bilingual and ESL classes.
The need for bilingual educators is so high that some districts are offering opportunities for teachers to earn a higher salary. And, Spanish-speaking candidates aren’t the only ones in demand. Some districts are seeking candidates who are fluent in other languages, including Chinese and Hindi.
In Texas, the need for Special Education teachers is great as well. In fact, about 1 in every 8 Texas public school students need special education services.
As a Special Education teacher, you’ll make a difference and enjoy a host of benefits, from great pay and benefits to creating meaningful bonds with students.
However, thanks to a new bill signed into law this summer, the outlook for teacher salaries in the state of Texas is improving.
In June 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3 after the 86th Legislature approval. These compensation increases began with the 19-20 school year, according to the TEA.
Under the bill, the basic allotment in Texas increased from $5,140 to $6,160. This figure represents the amount of funding a district receives to cover the costs associated with providing basic instructional programming to an “average” student in an “average” district.
The law mandated that 30% of funds that come from the state be used for pay raises for full-time employees. Of these funds, 75% had to go toward the salaries of teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians, with the other 25% toward the pay raises for non-administrative staff members.
Changes to the law also impacted the state’s minimum salary schedule for teachers. HB3 increased the minimum salary schedule by $5,500 to $9,000 per creditable year of service. Teachers with longer years of service benefit from the higher end of this range.
The bill also included other measures such as increases to retirement contributions to everyone who is subject to the minimum salary schedule.
You can read more about what the bill means for teachers and school districts in Texas in our article, Texas Teachers’ Salaries Get Boost Under New Bill.
The outlook for elementary teaching jobs in Texas is bright. In addition to anticipated job growth in the state, the immediate outlook for elementary teachers includes higher pay and retirement contributions.
If you’re considering teaching elementary school students, the next step is to forgo your path to fulfilling your dream.
There are a handful of ways you can earn your teaching certification in the state, including enrolling in an alternative education program. Nearly 50% of all new teachers are prepared through alternative programs, such as ECAP.
Perfect for college grads, those pursuing a career change who have a bachelor’s degree, stay-at-home parents and retirees returning to the workforce, military personnel entering a second career and professionals in the medical field such as nursing, an alternative teaching program offers:
For more information on the Texas teaching requirements of an alternative education program, our article, How To Become A Teacher With A Texas Alternative Certification Program, outlines what you need to know.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.