States with the worst teacher shortages in the US | Teach Away (2023)

Studies from 2018 show there is a shortage of around 112,000 teachers across the U.S.

While the reasons for teacher shortages are complicated, the effects are easierto see.

A lack of teachers significantly reduces the quality of education each student receives. And classroom sizes keep growing.

This is worrying for students. We can all agree that they deserve access to a good education.

Right now, nearly all the states in the country are facing a shortage. Some more serious than others.

So how did we get here and how bad is the teacher shortage? Let’s take a deeper look at the following topics to get a better idea:

  • Why is there a teacher shortage?
  • How big is the national teacher shortage?
  • Which states have the worst teacher shortages?
  • What are the work conditions for a teacher?
  • How can I become a teacher?

States with the worst teacher shortages in the US | Teach Away (1)

Why is there a teacher shortage?

There are complex reasons for the teacher shortage in the U.S.

But one primary reason is that there is an imbalance of supply and demand for teachers.

Studies predict that schools in the U.S. will see an increase of around three million students in the next decade.

More students obviously mean there is a need for more teachers.

And, interestingly, more teachers with bachelor’s degrees are stepping into the classroom than ever before.

However, many of these teachers are entering the classroom without proper training. Some states are now so deeply in need of teachers they are hiring according to the Warm Body law. This law means anybody with “relevant experience” can enter the classroom.

But teachers without proper training tend to leave the profession much quicker than those who have.

This isn’t surprising – teaching is a multifaceted job that requires a lot of different professional skills. Teachers themselves need to be adequately prepared and supported for the rigors of the job they do.

How big is the national teacher shortage?

The U.S. teacher shortage is visible in data from state and school district officials and state-by-state subject area vacancies.

The only caveat is that not all U.S. states contribute to this data, so it’s hard to say exactly how significant the national teacher shortage is.

Either way, the general picture shows that teachers severely lack throughout the nation.

Many states need more teachers across a wide range of subjects and age groups.

A 2016 report from the Learning Policy Institute stated that many U.S. schools “had serious difficulty finding qualified teachers for their positions.”

Not having enough well-qualified, long-term teachers seriously affect students’ ability to learn. It makes it hard for schools to control class sizes and offer a full curriculum for their students. And student learning can be disrupted by frequently changing school staff.

Data also shows that there is declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs in the U.S.

This means the teacher shortage is expected to continue for some years to come.

States with the worst teacher shortages in the US | Teach Away (2)

Which states have the worst teacher shortages?

It’s hard to say which states have the worst teacher shortages because the data is different for different subjects and criteria. There are many U.S. states with teacher shortages.

However, some states have more severe teacher shortages than others. These include:

  1. California
  2. Nevada
  3. Washington
  4. Washington D.C.
  5. Indiana
  6. Arizona
  7. Hawai’i

Let’s take a closer look at each state now.

1. California

Around 80% of California school districts are short on teachers, especially in special education.

The state has invested millions in trying to combat its teacher shortage. This includes raising teachers’ salaries to an average of $77,500 per year, making California teachers the third-highest paid in the U.S.

2. Nevada

In Nevada rural areas and Las Vegas, both need teachers.

Educators are working to find solutions to address the teacher shortage, with some school districts offering signing bonuses to entice applicants.

3. Washington

Washington has specific shortages in math, science and special ed.

As well as making an effort to diversify its teaching, the state has introduced pay hikes for teachers.

4. Washington D.C.

Although starting salaries can be over $50,000, Washington D.C. is short on teachers and substitute teachers.

As well as pay raises, school districts focus on building support systems for teaching staff and “lifting the role of teachers.”

5. Indiana

There have been some signs of improvement in recent years, but Indiana is still short on teachers in all subject areas, especially science and math.

The state is working on solutions such as increasing teacher pay, offering relief on student loans to improve teacher retention.

6. Arizona

Arizona faces one of the most severe teacher shortages in the country, with rural schools lacking staff. The state’s schools are getting creative to find solutions, with programs like teacher mentoring.

For aspiring teachers, it’s also possible to fast-track your teacher certification in Arizona through online study.

7. Hawai’i

Beautiful Hawaii’s isolated location and high cost of living make it hard to retain teachers. Shortages are particularly high in math, science and English.

However, the state has recently revealed a bold 5-year plan to tackle the teacher shortage, including pay raises for educators.

If you’re interested in teaching in Hawai’i take a look at our online Teacher Certification Program to learn more.

What are the work conditions for a teacher?

If you follow the news, you’ll have noticed that teachers across the country have been protesting about their work conditions. It’s true that teaching conditions can vary greatly.

Some states offer worse conditions for teachers than others.

On the other side of the coin, some states offer relatively good conditions for teachers.

And many states which have substantial teacher shortages are even offering some exciting benefits to entice teachers to relocate.

There are two benefits of becoming a teacher that holds true whichever state you decide to work in.

  1. You will make a difference.

If you’ve ever worked a job that feels a bit purposeless, you’ll know how important it is to feel like you matter.

As a teacher, you will wake up in the morning with a clear purpose and a clear role in your community. The work you’ll do will matter and will help make your students feel like they matter too.

  1. You will always have a job and a salary.

In pre-pandemic times this might not have been such a big concern. But right now, job stability is a huge bonus of getting into teaching.

Throughout the pandemic, teachers have kept working to support their students and families. Whatever the future holds, teachers know their jobs aren’t going anywhere.

How can I become a teacher?

If you want to teach, now would be a great time to do it. It all comes down to supply and demand. As you can see, there is plenty of demand.

But it’s in your (and your future students’) best interest to do some teacher training before you step into the classroom.

Traditionally the pathway to becoming a certified teacher involves doing a bachelor’s degree in education followed by a teacher’s preparation program.

But if you already hold a bachelor’s degree( in any other subject) and want to become a teacher, don’t worry, it isn’t too late. You can become a teacher without going back to university, all thanks to alternative teacher certification programs.

Alternative certification provides a pathway for people with bachelor’s degrees to become certified teachers at a fraction of the cost and time it normally takes.

It takes around nine months to complete, making them a quick route into becoming a qualified teacher without sacrificing the quality of preparation.

Be part of the solution!

The truth is, the teacher shortage in the U.S. isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But you can be part of the solution.

If you feel inspired to get into the classroom and embark on a meaningful new career, now is a perfect time.

Teaching can be the best job in the worldif you have the right support system in place. Getting the proper training before you start teaching is essential.

If you can’t go back to school and study for a degree in Education, look into online teacher certification programs. They provide a solid foundation in pedagogy, school systems, and the workings of the classroom. Plus, they offer flexible, online coursework. And they accept applicants year-round.

Most importantly, completing one will give you the confidence and knowledge you need to make your time in the classroom a success.

And that it’s easier than ever to become a teacher through online teacher certification programs.


teacher shortages in the USwhat states have a teacher shortagewhich states have the worst teacher shortages


States with the worst teacher shortages in the US | Teach Away? ›

Georgia had the highest number of vacancies (3,112) for the 2019-2020 school year. More recently, during the 2021-2022 school year, Florida had the most vacancies with 3,911 positions unfulfilled. That same school year, Mississippi and Alabama had over 3,000 vacancies.

Which states have the biggest teacher shortages? ›

Georgia had the highest number of vacancies (3,112) for the 2019-2020 school year. More recently, during the 2021-2022 school year, Florida had the most vacancies with 3,911 positions unfulfilled. That same school year, Mississippi and Alabama had over 3,000 vacancies.

What state hit hardest by teacher shortage? ›

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2022-2023 school year, Rhode Island has the largest teacher shortages in the following subjects: English as a second language, career and technical education, math, science, special education, health and physical fitness, world languages and language arts.

What states have teacher shortages in 2023? ›

Top 10 States with the Worst Teacher Shortages
  • 1. California. Even before the pandemic, the state of California began experiencing mass teacher shortages. ...
  • Nevada. ...
  • Washington. ...
  • Arizona. ...
  • Hawaii. ...
  • Indiana. ...
  • District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) ...
  • Virginia.

What is the current teacher shortage in the US? ›

As of October 2022, after the school year had already begun, 45% of U.S. public schools had at least one teacher vacancy. That's according to limited federal data. For several months, NPR has been exploring the forces at work behind these local teacher shortages.

How many states are in teacher shortage? ›

Beyond the nine states facing highest vacancy rates, another 19 have modest shortages, between 0 and 12 vacant positions per 10,000 students.

What states do teachers make the least? ›

The average salary for teachers was $49,583 in Florida—the second lowest in the country after Mississippi. All other occupations averaged $51,950, a 4.6 percent difference. In Colorado, teachers earn on average $60,611, about 3 percent less than the $62,900 of other occupations.

Which state has the highest teacher pay? ›

Highest-Paid Teachers By State
RankState90th Percentile
3New York$89,000
46 more rows
Apr 17, 2023

Why America's teacher shortage is going to get worse? ›

For starters, shortages are occurring because of increased demand on public schools. As of fall 2017, 50.7 million students were attending public elementary and secondary schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2025, that number is expected to expand to 51.4 million.

Which teaching subject is most in demand? ›

Which teaching subject is most in demand? While specific needs vary by institution, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are subjects that are always in high demand. Qualified math teachers should be able to teach in multiple areas, including algebra, calculus, and trigonometry.

Where does Florida rank in teacher shortages? ›

The NEA estimates Florida will continue to rank 48th for the 2021-2022 school year. It was ranked 47th when Gov.

How bad is the teacher shortage in Florida? ›

In the current academic year, the Florida Education Association (FEA) reported that there are 5,294 teacher vacancies and 4,631 support staff openings posted across school district websites statewide. “Nearly 10,000 total vacancies in Florida's public schools.

Is Texas in a teacher shortage? ›

Since the 2011-12 school year, about 10% of teachers in Texas have left the field each year. That number dipped to about 9% during the 2020-21 school year but is going back up — rising to almost 12% during the 2021-22 school year.

What is the main cause of the teacher shortage? ›

Why are there shortages of teachers? Myriad reasons: low pay and morale, mounting political and academic pressures, health and safety concerns.

What are the main reasons for teacher shortage? ›

Here are just a few of the longstanding problems plaguing American education: a generalized decline in literacy; the faltering international performance of American students; an inability to recruit enough qualified college graduates into the teaching profession; a lack of trained and able substitutes to fill teacher ...

How can we fix teacher shortage? ›

5 Strategies to Tackle Teacher Shortages
  1. Boost teacher pay. Raising educators' salaries is one of the most popular strategies states and school districts have used to ease the staffing shortage. ...
  2. Partner with teacher prep programs. ...
  3. Build bottom-up support. ...
  4. Tap into educators' passion. ...
  5. Treat students well.
Feb 10, 2023

How many teachers quit each year in the US? ›

That's a turnover rate of 14%, up from between 11% and 12% in a typical pre-pandemic year. There was variation among the eight states. Mississippi's teacher workforce was the most stable: Turnover was 13% this year, only slightly higher than the two years before the pandemic.

What are the effects of teacher shortage in the US? ›

Teacher shortages lead to missed or insufficient learning opportunities. There may be a discontinuity in the delivery of instruction, and key concepts may be overlooked altogether. These occurrences limit the educational opportunities that students can and should receive.

Does New York have a teacher shortage? ›


What states treat their teachers the best? ›

Best States for Teachers
  1. New York. New York's overall score of 60.86 makes it the best state in the U.S. for teachers, ranking third for Opportunity & Competition and third for Academic & Work Environment. ...
  2. Utah. ...
  3. Washington. ...
  4. Pennsylvania. ...
  5. New Jersey. ...
  6. Virginia. ...
  7. Maryland. ...
  8. Delaware.

Who is the highest paid teacher in the world? ›

Luxembourg. According to an OECD report, Luxembourg (a European country) has the highest-paid teachers in the world. Another source indicates that a bachelor's degree holder is entitled to an initial salary of €67,000 (US $70,323.20) per annum at the start of their teaching career.

What is the highest paying job in the world? ›

So, given below is an updated list of the most paid jobs in the world.
  1. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ...
  2. Medical Professionals. ...
  3. Corporate Lawyer. ...
  4. Investment Banker. ...
  5. Data Scientist. ...
  6. Project Manager. ...
  7. Senior Software Engineer. ...
  8. Web Developers.
May 9, 2023

What type of teacher gets paid the most? ›

8 of the Highest Paying Jobs in Education
  • School Principal.
  • University or College Administrator.
  • Professor.
  • Speech Pathologist.
  • Instructional Coordinator.
  • Special Education Teacher.
  • Librarian.
  • High School Teacher.

Where is the best place to teach in the US? ›

New York held the No. 1 position partly due to its high rankings in teacher salaries and public-school spending per student — achieving No. 1 in each category. Utah, which carried the second highest ranking in the opportunity category, held the second spot overall behind New York.

Where is the best place to be a teacher? ›

Best (and Worst) Places to Be a Teacher
RankMetro AreaAverage Income for Teachers
1Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA$70,619
2Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY$75,297
3Syracuse, NY$72,751
4Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT$82,680
7 more rows
Aug 9, 2022

Is there a high demand for teachers in the US? ›

Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 77,900 openings for high school teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Are teachers on the decline? ›

Interest in the teaching profession among high school seniors and college freshmen has fallen 50 percent since the 1990s and the number of new entrants into the profession has fallen by roughly one third over the last decade. Teachers' job satisfaction, they found, is at the lowest level in five decades.

What are the 4 types of teachers? ›

8 Kinds of Teachers
  • Preschool Teachers. Preschool teachers work with students before they enter elementary school. ...
  • Elementary School Teachers. ...
  • Middle School Teachers. ...
  • High School Teachers. ...
  • Special Education Teachers. ...
  • Bilingual Teachers. ...
  • Home-School Teachers. ...
  • Vocational Teachers.
Apr 18, 2022

What is the hardest subject to teach in school? ›

Calculus. There are a number of math courses or sub-sciences of math that probably deserve some recognition here. Calculus heads the group though as one of the toughest to teach and also learn.

Where are teachers paid the most? ›

New York leads the nation in teacher pay with an average salary of $80,286, according to WalletHub.

Are Florida teachers underpaid? ›


It says Florida is 48th in the country for average teacher pay, with teachers making about $51,230. The minimum living wage, it says, is $49,625. Florida ranks better when it comes to average starting salaries for teachers at 15th in the nation at about $45,337.

What is the new salary for teachers in Florida? ›

A previous education funding boost in 2022 increased base pay for teachers to a minimum of $47,500, but even that has been difficult to attain, Velardi said.

Where do teachers get paid the most in Florida? ›

Highest paying cities for High School Teachers near Florida
  • Boca Raton, FL. $60,900 per year. 72 salaries reported.
  • West Palm Beach, FL. $56,554 per year. 112 salaries reported.
  • Miami, FL. $56,278 per year. 171 salaries reported.
  • Tampa, FL. $54,392 per year. ...
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL. $52,823 per year. ...
  • Show more nearby cities.

How many teachers have quit in 2023? ›

U.S. number of teachers and educational staff quitting the profession 2020-2023. In April 2023, about 59,000 teachers and other educational staff quit their jobs in the United States.

What is Florida doing to teachers? ›

Governor DeSantis also announced that he will approve more than $1 billion for teacher pay in this year's budget, a $252 million increase over the current record. Overall, Florida has invested more than $3.3 billion for teacher salary increases and bonuses over the last five years.

Is Florida a good state for teachers? ›

As part of its more extensive study 2023's Best (& Worst) States for Teachers, data analysts at Scholaroo set out to find the states that offer the best work benefits for their teachers. Based on the analysis of 5 key categories – the rankings showed that Florida is #50 in the nation.

Why are so many teachers quitting in Texas? ›

Teachers name low pay, excessive workload, increased duties, and workplace culture as some of the reasons they are leaving. Leading into the 2022-23 school year, some districts reported hundreds of openings for teachers just weeks and days before the school year started.

What do Texas teachers get paid? ›

Salaries by years of experience in Texas
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$32.48
3 to 5 years-
6 to 9 years$37.87
More than 10 years$43.50
1 more row

How many teachers left Texas? ›

After 10 years, 59% of those teachers had left the profession.

Did the pandemic cause a teacher shortage? ›

What this report finds: The pandemic exacerbated a preexisting and long-standing shortage of teachers. The shortage is particularly acute for certain subject areas and in some geographic locations. It is especially severe in schools with high shares of students of color or students from low-income families.

Is there a teacher shortage in Colorado? ›

According to a recent survey, the Colorado Education Association found 85% of educators felt the teacher shortage is worse than they've ever seen. DENVER — A new bill headed to the Senate floor could help the teacher shortage Colorado has faced over the last few years.

Is there a teacher shortage in Georgia? ›

82 percent of Georgia schools are short on teachers according to the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Meanwhile, 20 percent want to leave the profession within the next five years.

Why are so many school teachers quitting? ›

Beyond compensation, these educators also feel overworked and undervalued. Nearly 75 percent of respondents who cite expectations as a top reason they plan to leave say they have too much work to do each day and that there aren't enough teachers to carry the workload.

Why are teachers struggling this year? ›

This data also suggests that spiking stress levels, student behavior challenges, and a harsh political spotlight have all taken their toll on many American teachers.

Why are teachers overworked? ›

The pandemic and shifting political landscape have left teachers feeling overworked and undervalued. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, K-12 teachers report the highest burnout rate of all U.S. professions.

What state has the lowest teacher shortage? ›

Illinois has the lowest number of underqualified teachers at 1.17 positions per 10,000 students while New Hampshire has the highest at 348.79. Notably, New Hampshire has not reported teacher shortage areas to the U.S. Department of Education since the 2019-2020 school year, according to the report.

When did the teacher shortage begin? ›

Multiple indicators point toward an educator shortage crisis that has been brewing for more than a decade, since the end of the Great Recession in 2009.

Is it any wonder that there are teacher shortages? ›

Hence the answer is no. Answer explanation: Paragraph C says that “On the administrative side, most teachers are weighed down by an increasing flow of bureaucracy. Cynicism would have me believe that this stops teachers from fomenting dissent as they are worn out by useless administrative exercises.

What type of teacher is in highest demand? ›

Which teaching subject is most in demand? While specific needs vary by institution, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are subjects that are always in high demand.

What grade teacher makes the most money? ›

What grade / level do teachers get paid the most? The highest earners are typically high school level teachers, and the lowest paid are preschool teachers.

Which teacher salary is highest? ›

Average Salary of a Teacher 2023
Teaching LevelAverage Annual Salary (INR)
Primary School TeacherRs. 4.5 LPA
Secondary School TeacherRs. 4.68 LPA
Senior Secondary School TeacherRs. 5 LPA
Special TeachersRs. 5.3 LPA
1 more row
Mar 24, 2023

Will Florida pay teachers more? ›

$252+ million increase for the teacher salary increase categorical, which will stand at more than $1 billion for school year 2023–2024. Additionally, the Governor will sign: $10 million for the Heroes in the Classroom Bonus Program (HB 1035).

What will fix the teacher shortage? ›

Nearly 90 percent said that better pay is the biggest factor in teacher retention. That is followed by better staffing and more manageable workloads; reducing class sizes; and stronger discipline policies and more student support programs, which included access to counselors and mental health professionals.

Why are so many teachers quitting? ›

The findings show that while many teachers find their work rewarding, a majority said they felt exhausted and stressed — with burnout cited as the top reason for leaving the profession.

How bad is the teacher shortage in America? ›

It's a "crisis" in many districts. Others have more success filling positions. More than three-quarters of U.S. states are experiencing a teacher shortage, highlighting a growing concern among public education and government officials about issues that were exacerbated during three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are teachers in high demand in us? ›

Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 77,900 openings for high school teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Will teachers always be in demand? ›

There will always be a need for great teachers. Regardless of temporary economic conditions, hiring practices, budget cuts or any other factors that impact the education system, the need for teachers is timeless and universal.


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