Where Did All the Teachers Go?

Walking through the halls of any school today might not bring the familiarity it once did. While once it was the students’ faces changing from year to year, now that has given way to an equal phenomenon among those at the front of the classroom. Can it be true that teachers are as eager as students to jet out the door?

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According to the National Education Association (NEA) the national average of new-hire teachers who will leave the education field within three years is twenty percent. In specific regions of the country, this percentage varies, including urban centers where fifty percent of new teachers leave the profession within five years. Combined with a number of other statistics, the teacher drought paints a grim picture of education in the future—unless a change is made.

There is no doubt that the United States, over the past few years, has undergone a shortage of teachers. In a report by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, it is said that sixteen percent of teachers exit the field at the end of every school year. In light of this mass annual exit, a growing wave of concern has developed around the general improvement of teachers’ benefits, salary rates, and quality of life. Unfortunately, clear signs of these changes have been stalled, reports the NEA, as the average teacher salary, over the course of 2004, has only risen by 0.2 percent after factoring in inflation costs.

While the teacher shortage continues to grow, the real question becomes from where will their replacements come? One of the most promising solutions comes from the emergence of distance education. While education has always been a career options, many individuals find it difficult to carve out the necessary time to complete an advanced degree or certification requirements. Other adults would enjoy the change of careers; however, they cannot afford leave their jobs.

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As the average salary scale remains relatively stagnant, recruiters have had to turn to other options within the education field, particularly online education, as major selling points. To its credit, the recent surge in online degree programs has made a worthwhile education affordable and accessible to interested parties and established professionals alike. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics ranks the education degree number one among the all conferred degrees at the master’s level. Moreover, several of these online programs in education are not limited to degree completion only, but offer additional benefits of online certification, as well.

Distance education brings incredible opportunity to those individuals considering a career change. On the one hand, online education prevents individuals from having to take time off from work or a decrease in pay in order to earn an education. Furthermore, the majority of virtual degree programs in education are delivered in an accelerated format, allowing students to enter the field with less delay.

The online degree programs in education have proven to be a great success story for distance education. The versatility and convenience of the online format has made higher education a viable option for a diverse audience. As the job market in all specializations of education is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years, now is the right time to consider a career in education.

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