As you decide which grade or subject area you want to teach, it helps to have a little information about the job market. Consider carefully! Some teaching areas are in very high demand, others not so much. Further, some districts hire lots of new teachers, while others will only hire mostly experienced teachers. And in almost every state it can be hard to get a job in a suburban district while there are almost always plenty of vacancies in rural areas.
What's less well known is that teachers who graduate from certain programs are in much higher demand than graduates of other programs. There are programs that have no problem placing all their graduates. But there are also some programs that have quite a difficult time placing graduates—though that information is not generally shared with prospective students. That's why you need to ask some key questions up front. We recommend asking officials in any program you are considering about job placement rates before you make a final decision about where to get your training.
Here is some general information about the job market for some teaching areas:
Elementary Teachers On the whole, there are far more elementary teacher candidates than there are available jobs in this country. There are some states with so many elementary teachers that you had better be prepared to move out of state if you want a job guarantee. The largest over-producers of elementary teachers are Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Vermont. However, there are some states that consistently have elementary teacher shortages, meaning that job prospects may be better for graduates. Florida, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, California, Nevada, Connecticut and Idaho are all states that routinely need to "import" elementary teachers from other states.
Secondary Teachers The demand for middle and high school teachers varies not only state to state but also by subject area. Most states report no problem finding English and history teachers. In highest demand are teachers qualified to teach STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. If you are prepared to teach a STEM subject, your job prospects are likely to be far better than, say, for English or social studies teachers.
Special Education Teachers In 2014, almost every state reported a shortage of special education teachers, reflecting a nationwide demand for teachers prepared in this area. You can write your own ticket if you are certified to teach special education.
Teachers of English Language Learners The other big shortage area in the country is ELL teachers. While NCTQ does not rate the quality of these programs, we strongly advise elementary teacher candidates to also become proficient in a foreign language to make themselves more marketable. If you can speak Spanish and are certified to teach elementary grades, you will likely have little problem finding a job.