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Edited and republished November, 2017.
Are you thinking of becoming a teacher? If you are currently considering attending school to get a teaching degree or teaching licensure, you’re in luck. Good teachers are in high demand in the U.S. By 2020, we'll need 440,000 more teachers to keep up with the growing group of kids ages 5-18. This is great news if you currently are, or are considering, becoming an educator. The better news? The Department of Education (DOE) has a few suggestions about in-demand teachers for the future. Learn about what type of teachers will be most needed, and use that to help you carve out our next career move. Maybe you will return to school to get a master’s degree in one of these specific fields, maybe you need to start down the path and get a bachelor’s degree and licensed. No matter where you are, it’s a great time to start down the teaching path.
English As A Second Language. One in five kids speaks a language besides English at home. This means that roughly 20% of students in every public school classroom may have trouble following the lesson. Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) reaches beyond "Hello," "Goodbye," and "Where is the library?”. ESL teachers help students who don’t speak English understand the fundamentals of the language, and increase their comprehension of all its aspects. It’s important to recognize that teaching ESL means you spend nearly equal amounts of time explaining English concepts as you do the actual classroom concepts. You don’t need to spend hours giving grammar lessons, but you will need to spend extra time explaining the language so that you can then explain the classroom lesson. The demand for ESL teachers will only increase as more students from non-English speaking homes enter school. Getting certified as an ESL teacher doesn’t have to be a headache; online universities, such as WGU, offer ESL and ELL endorsements to help licensed teachers get this extra specialization.
Math Teaching. 2+2 isn't what it used to be. Only 39% of 4th graders were marked at or above “proficient” when it came to math. Math teachers are in high demand all over the country as school districts battle to find qualified, and helpful educators who can bring a change to current math ability. Whether you’re interested in elementary teaching or secondary teaching focusing on math, having a degree that hones math teaching skills will only help you. Getting this degree can be challenging while fitting it into your already busy schedule,however with certain online programs becoming math teaching certified can become accessible no matter your schedule.
Science Teaching. Studies are continually showing that students in the United States are well behind their peers in other countries when it comes to science education. Our school systems are on the losing side of worldwide science education, an unfortunate truth in a world that relies on science to uncover medical and technical advances. Students need science teachers who are passionate about their subject, and can help students make the important discoveries and connections to ignite that passion in themselves. If you love learning about the building blocks of biology or the reaction of a chemical compound, why not pass your interest on to a younger crowd? Science departments are in dire need of a well-trained staff. There are a wide variety of science teaching degrees you can pursue, and many of them are easily accessible online through Western Governor’s University.
Social Studies Teaching. Unfortunately, math and science aren’t the only areas where US students are falling behind. Social studies education is also an area of struggle for students, according to recent reports. Many potential teachers are very interested in teaching social studies, also known as social sciences, because they are fortunate to cover a broad range of topics, from history to politics to economics. All subtopics have one thing in common: communication. Why does the UN exist? How has Civil Rights changed the country? What is the Federal Reserve Bank? Teaching social science is about helping your students understand how communication impacts communities and nations on a grander scale. Social studies teachers are also fortunate because they have a broader range of majors they can focus on for the bachelor or master degree.
Special Education Teaching. Currently in the United States, 6.6 million individuals are entitled to free public education under legislation for special needs children and youth. This means the demand for special education teachers has never been greater. Special education, sometimes referred to as special ed, is full of classrooms and individuals with a number of learning challenges, from developmental issues like autism, to physical challenges such as orthopedic impairments. Special education students need more than a licensed teacher—they need an advocate who can empathize and understand how they learn. It isn’t difficult to become licensed with a bachelor’s degree, or obtain additional education and get a master’s degree in Special Education. Being prepared to help these students could be one of the greatest decisions of your career.
As you can see, training to become a teacher and finding an area of focus that is in high demand isn’t difficult. With the help of easily accessible universities, you can be well on your way to finding that specialization and becoming one of the very in-demand teacher types.
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