Job market for teachers improving

FRESNO, Calif.

The state is projecting a teacher shortage within the next decade. It's an issue of supply and demand.

Teachers who were hanging on to their jobs because of the recession are now starting to retire -- while fewer college students are choosing teaching as a career.

At the same time more kids are entering the school system and there's now a greater need for instructors.

Student Michael Spear says when a friend asked him to enroll in the teacher education program at Fresno Pacific University last year he was discouraged after hearing about massive budget cuts and teacher layoffs all over the state.

Spear said, "I said there's no jobs and there's so many people applying to teaching jobs it would be too hard."

But after his friend graduated and was quickly hired at Central Unified School District, he changed his mind and immediately signed up.

"This is quite a drive for me to come all the way out here, but the quality of education is there and the fact that 85 percent of people who graduated last year got offered a teaching position sold me on the idea of coming to Fresno Pacific," Spear said.

His professors said he couldn't have enrolled at a better time, because the job market is starting to improve for teachers.

Professor of Education Linda Hoff says teachers in the baby boom generation are retiring and many college students aren't entering the field out of fear of receiving a pink slip.

In California around 77,000 students were enrolled in teacher education programs in 2001.

That number dropped to just over 42,000 - 8 years later. The state is now projecting a teacher shortage within the next 10 years.

Diana Dille from Fresno State School of Education said, "Even if every university in our area with a teacher education program were to fill their program to the max and graduate those students it would not be enough to meet what we are projecting will be the need and it's very serious."

The good news is schools are now hiring and colleges are getting phone calls from districts all over the state looking to hire recent grads.

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