The national teacher shortage is growing faster than most people realize.
Roughly 270,000 teaching positions are held by underqualified teachers and 55,000 vacant positions nationwide. The situation may worsen as enrollment in teacher preparation programs has steadily declined over the past decade.
These statistics are worrying as a teacher shortage presents serious consequences for students and school district executives. It threatens students’ ability to learn as they must contend with subpar instruction or join large classrooms, making it difficult for teachers to give each learner the attention they need. The shortage also impacts the teaching profession’s reputation, further affecting enrollment in teacher preparation programs.
Understanding the shortage issue, state by state, can highlight specific gaps and facilitate better solutions. Below, we’ll examine the crisis to help you understand how each state has dealt with the shortage so far — and what they can do better.
Elevate K-12 has worked with over 500 districts nationwide to provide experienced, qualified teachers via live streaming, plus additional remote resources to ease teacher workloads. Find out which courses are available in your state!
Like many states, Alabama has been experiencing a teacher shortage for years because of its low retention rate. The low rate is partially attributed to low teacher salaries in the state, as teachers earn less than college graduates in other professions.
As of 2021, the state had over 3,000 vacancies in high school math and science teaching positions and over 5,000 underqualified teachers in its classrooms. The number of unqualified teachers has since increased as the state allowed teachers to use emergency certificates to help reduce the crisis.
While an emergency certificate is still a teaching certificate, its holder hasn’t completed all the requirements to become a qualified teacher. Teachers with emergency certificates may lack proper teaching skills and experience, affecting students’ learning.
Elevate K-12 is an excellent solution for Alabama’s teacher shortage. We offer high school, middle school, and elementary courses, all aligned to the state’s course of study.
Alaska’s teacher shortage is relatively lower than the national shortage. This isn’t to say the state isn’t struggling: roughly one in four teachers resign from rural schools yearly, showing a retention problem.
To deal with the crisis, Alaskan schools hire teachers from the Philippines to fill positions. Even so, the high teacher turnover rate still poses a problem. There have been recommendations to restructure the state’s retirement options, streamline the certification process, and improve working conditions.
As these are just proposals, it may take time to address the shortage crisis. Elevate K-12 can address the state’s shortage problem by providing fully certified teachers.
Arizona tried various solutions:
- Increasing public education funding
- Allowing student teachers undertaking their bachelor’s degrees to teach
- Allowing substitutes to take on classes for more than 120 days
These solutions have yet to pay off. We can help solve the shortage crisis by offering courses aligned to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Arizona Academic Standards, and Arizona Science Standards.
Arkansas passed the LEARNS Act in 2023, which focuses on improving literacy, empowerment, accountability, readiness, networking, and school safety. The “accountability” branch of the act focuses on attracting teachers and improving retention in public schools by:
- Raising starting teachers’ salaries by $14,000
- Increasing the salaries of teachers already earning $50,000 or more by $2,000
- Providing financial incentives for teachers in areas affected by shortages
- Waiving initial licensing fees for first-year teachers
The act comes at an ideal time: Arkansas experienced a 74.4% retention rate in the 2022–2023 school year, a more than 5% drop from the 80% registered pre-pandemic. The drop is attributed to poor working conditions and dissatisfaction with the teaching profession.
The state is yet to register results from the LEARNS Act, calling for more innovative solutions. Elevate K-12 is available to help with the shortage crisis in the Blytheville school district.
Applications for teaching credentials in California fell by 16% in the 2020–2021 school year, exacerbating the shortage crisis. The state has also had a hard time finding substitute teachers because of an increasingly difficult work environment.
To combat this problem, lawmakers want to introduce a bill to increase teachers’ pay. The bill proposes increasing salaries by 50% over the next few years.
As this is just a proposal, there’s no way to know whether the bill will solve the crisis. That’s where Elevate K-12 comes in. We’re ready to help fill teaching positions in Green Dot and Alliance Marine Innovation and Technology Campus.
According to the Colorado Department of Education, 722 teaching positions remained unfilled in the 2022–2023 education year. This is an increase of 282 from the previous school year, highlighting a growing reluctance to join the teaching profession.
The governor signed the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact to address the shortage and encourage teacher mobility. The compact lowers licensure barriers for licensed teachers in Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah, allowing them to start teaching in Colorado faster.
While this is an excellent measure, there’s a national teacher shortage, so it may not be enough. Elevate K-12 can provide teachers immediately in eight school districts.
A survey by the Connecticut Education Association reveals that 74% of teachers in the state are likely to resign or retire early. This is already happening, as various schools have closed because of increasing vacancies.
Connecticut introduced two programs to increase the number of teachers. The first allows student teachers earning their bachelor’s degrees to teach, while the second involves encouraging teenagers in high school to join the teaching profession through apprenticeships.
The first program only addresses the symptoms of the crisis, not the actual problem. While allowing student teachers to teach can increase the number of educators in the classroom now, it doesn’t address the resignation problem. The second program may take time to show results. This calls for innovative solutions like Elevate.
Delaware is performing relatively well when compared to other states. Still, it’s experiencing a shortage, having lost roughly 20% of its teaching workforce since 2008.
To fight high turnover, the state’s Joint Finance Committee voted for a 9% pay increase for teachers in public schools. The state also introduced the “Grow Your Own” program, which aims to increase recruitment by offering tuition support to student teachers willing to teach in Delaware schools for at least three years.
While these are excellent solutions, they may take time to show results. This calls for alternatives like Elevate.
Florida had 4,776 teaching vacancies at the beginning of the 2023–2024 academic year. The state is dealing with the shortage crisis by increasing teachers’ salaries, extending the temporary certification period from three to five years, and implementing a teacher apprenticeship program to encourage more people to join the profession.
Georgia’s retention rate dropped from 90.82% in 2022 to 89.21% in 2023 because of high workloads, burnout, and low teacher morale. There’s a particularly high turnover rate among special education teachers, with state data showing a 20% annual attrition rate in this field. Roughly half of special education teachers transition to general education fields after two years because of burnout.
Georgia introduced a $2,000 retention incentive for experienced teachers to address the shortage. It also reduced state-mandated tests for veteran teachers.
These are short-term strategies, as they don’t address the root causes of high turnover in the state. Educators in Georgia resign from their positions because of high workloads, which eventually cause burnout. Incentives and fewer tests may help in the meantime but don’t address the root cause of these issues.
Looking at alternative solutions like Elevate can reduce teachers’ workloads in the state. We currently provide fully certified teachers to 10 school districts around Georgia.
Roughly 1,200 teachers resign or retire from Hawaii’s education system every year. This is partially because Hawaii’s pay rate is one of the lowest in the country.
The state introduced various initiatives to improve recruitment and retention. These include facilitating international recruitment and offering affordable housing for teachers. Hawaii has already recruited 80 teachers from the Philippines this year to combat the shortage.
While this is an excellent strategy, there’s still a lot that needs to be done. Focusing on international recruitment may not help fill all the vacancies left by the state’s high turnover rate.
Idaho had roughly 134 positions open in its 2022–2023 school year. While this is a low number compared to the national average, it’s still concerning, as some schools may grapple with a higher-than-recommended student-to-teacher ratio.
The state plans to address the shortage by implementing an apprenticeship program to encourage more people to join the teaching profession. It also increased teachers’ pay by $6,359 per year.
The apprenticeship strategy may not help solve the immediate teacher shortage crisis, as it’ll take years for apprentices to earn their teaching certificates. In the meantime, school districts in the state should consider alternative teaching solutions.
A survey conducted in 2021 found that Illinois had 2,100 teacher vacancies. While this is an improvement from past years, the number is still worrying as the highest concentration of vacancies is in low-income communities and chronically struggling schools. Roughly 40% of the vacancies were in bilingual and special education programs.
The state is addressing the issue by increasing funding to school districts with high turnover rates. It also supports mentoring programs for first and second-year teachers to improve retention.
We can support the state’s efforts by providing bilingual and special education teachers to fill current gaps. Elevate K-12 is available in over 20 school districts in Illinois.
Indiana reported 1,675 teaching vacancies in August 2022. The high number of vacancies is a result of low teacher salaries and a lack of respect for teachers’ judgment. The National Education Association’s Ranking of the States 2020 and Estimates of School Statistics 2021 report finds that Indiana has one of the slowest salary growth rates nationwide.
In order to reduce the number of vacancies, the state made it easier for out-of-state teachers to certify. It also offers financial support for professionals interested in the subjects most impacted by vacancies such as math, science, and special education.
While commendable, these solutions do not address the root causes of the shortage, making it necessary for the state to consider alternative approaches. Elevate K-12 is available in eight school districts in Indiana.
Iowa school districts have implemented various initiatives to reduce the shortage. Many run “Grow Your Own” programs to encourage more people to join the teaching profession. Iowa City provides fellowship to individuals from underrepresented groups, and Cedar Rapids offers tuition assistance — however, these strategies take time to aid the crisis.
Roughly 7% of Kansas teachers leave the profession per year. This figure is slightly lower than the 8% national average, but still leaves hundreds of teaching vacancies unfilled.
The state addresses the issue by requiring first-year teachers to join mentorship programs. Unfortunately, Kansas has yet to adjust its strict licensure requirements despite the shortage of teachers and substitutes. We can help fight the shortage crisis by offering certified LIVE synchronous teachers in over 10 school districts.
Kentucky experienced a 20.4% turnover rate in the 2021–2022 academic year. This was 4% more than the national average in the year, showing Kentucky’s dire state.
The state runs the TEACH initiative, a program that provides grants to student teachers who commit to serving as full-time teachers in subjects with teacher shortages or low-income communities. The governor also recommended an 11% pay increase for all teaching staff. While optimistic, it’s uncertain whether these strategies will address the crisis in the state.
Louisiana reported a 14% turnover rate in the 2022–2023 school year, a 2% increase from the rates experienced in pre-pandemic years. Dissatisfaction is one of the leading causes of the low retention rate.
To combat the shortage, the state encourages people working in school settings, like custodians and classroom aides, to get undergraduate degrees at a low cost. Lawmakers have also approved a temporary $2,000 pay raise to improve retention.
While these are reasonable solutions, the first will take time to combat the shortage, and the second is only temporary. Elevate K-12 can fill vacancies almost immediately, allowing Louisiana students to enjoy high-quality education.
In Maine, roughly 1,300 teaching professionals quit last year due to the state’s low pay for teachers. Maine teachers earn up to 20% less than other professionals with bachelor’s degrees. This affects retention and recruitment, as individuals are unwilling to enroll in teaching courses.
The state implemented a bill that allows teachers who quit within the past 10 years to recertify without undergoing a lengthy process. Legislators hope this will encourage retirees to return to the classroom, but only time will tell whether this will happen.
Over 5,500 Maryland teachers left the teaching profession in 2022. 2,163 of these professionals resigned voluntarily, highlighting gaps in Maryland’s teaching system. Maryland intends to increase its minimum starting salary to $60,00 by July 2026 to attract qualified teachers.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, up to 48% of district executives in Massachusetts reported teacher shortages in the 2022–2023 school year. Like many states, low pay and lengthy licensure processes have significantly influenced the shortages.
The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to pass a flexible licensing proposal for subjects most affected by the teacher shortage. The proposal will allow teachers to acquire licenses in new teaching fields. It will also let teachers interested in teaching English as a second language (ESL) and special education do so with a provisional license.
While these are excellent solutions, there’s a long way to go for the state to fully implement the proposal.
Teacher applications have dropped by half post-pandemic despite an increase in the number of vacancies in Michigan. There’s a reluctance to join Michigan’s teaching profession in large part due to the lower salary rates.: The yearly starting salary is only $38,963. This makes the state one of the lowest paying in the country.
The governor signed a school aid budget to encourage more people to earn teaching certificates. The budget will give 2,500 student teachers $10,000 to help cover their tuition.
While this solution may increase the number of teachers in the state, it’ll take a long time. You can ensure students in your district get the education they need now by filling vacancies with Elevate K-12’s remote teachers.
Approximately a third of Minnesota’s first-time teachers leave the profession within the first five years. This is a concern, as many national efforts lean toward encouraging more people to acquire teaching certificates rather than focusing on retention efforts. The crisis within Minnesota will likely continue as these efforts boost recruitment, not retention.
To deal with the shortage issue, Minnesota approved over $100 million in funding to run “Grow Your Own” programs, reimburse teachers’ testing and licensing fees, and provide more mentoring support in hopes of increasing recruitment and retention rates. It’ll take time to determine whether taking these measures will address the crisis.
Mississippi experienced a 13% teacher turnover rate in the 2022–2023 school year. The high turnover rate can be attributed to low salaries, as the state is one of the lowest paying in the country.
In an attempt to combat the shortage crisis, Mississippi has implemented solutions like pay increases and the Mississippi Teacher Residency programs. The program pays tuition for student teachers to encourage more people to earn certificates.
But, this long-term solution doesn’t address the immediate crisis Mississippi is experiencing. School district executives can reduce shortage by working with Elevate K-12. We’re available to fill vacancies in the Richton school district.
According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Missouri had roughly 4,238 vacant teaching positions as of May 2023. The state invested tremendously in boosting recruitment through “Grow Your Own” initiatives.
It has also allowed individuals who have not met all requirements for full certification to obtain provisional certificates. However, low retention rates still plague the state, especially among educators early in their careers.
Montana reported over 1,000 teacher vacancies at the start of the 2023–2024 school year. More than half of first-time teachers leave the state or the teaching profession within the first three years.
Like many states throughout the U.S., Montana is addressing the crisis with financial incentives. It offers loan assistance for new teachers and stipends to individuals who earn the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.
This may boost recruitment but still leaves the retention problem, calling for more sustainable solutions.
Like the rest of the country, Nebraska’s teacher shortage crisis continues to worsen. Schools reported roughly 768 unfilled positions at the start of the 2022–2023 school year, resulting from a lack of qualified applicants. Teachers in Nebraska are reluctant to teach because of strict certification requirements, low pay, and students’ behavioral challenges.
The state encourages districts to run “Grow Your Own” programs to address the crisis. It’s also in the process of making certification less rigid by removing some barriers. However, both strategies will take time to help solve the shortage crisis.
Almost 50% of teachers in Nevada leave the profession within the first five years. The main cause of this is often poor teacher preparation. First-time teachers report that they didn’t know what teaching fully entailed until they started teaching.
Nevada is addressing this issue by investing in programs that help prepare teachers. One such program is Educators Rising, which provides hands-on teaching experience. The state is in the process of determining whether this strategy will be effective.
New Hampshire shows more favorable results than the rest of the country. The state renewed 8,154 teaching licenses in 2023, one of the highest numbers registered in the past decade. Even so, there are concerns since teachers in the state earn roughly $20,000 less than the state’s average salary.
New Hampshire lawmakers plan to introduce a loan forgiveness program to encourage recruitment and retention. If approved, the program will offer $10,000 to students who commit to teaching in schools with critical teacher shortages.
This solution is contingent on lawmakers’ approval. It’s important for the state to look for alternative solutions in the meantime, like LIVE synchronous solutions.
Like the rest of the country, New Jersey’s teacher shortage is at an all-time high because fewer college students are choosing to become teachers. Less than 3,500 students graduated with teaching degrees in 2020 — a 1,500-person drop from 2011’s graduation numbers.
The state aims to encourage more people to earn teaching certificates through scholarships and stipends. It also plans to cancel up to $50,000 in student loans for students who agree to teach in school districts experiencing shortages.
These are long-term strategies that will take time to solve the crisis. Elevate K-12 can help address New Jersey’s teacher shortage in over 10 school districts.
New Mexico reported 690 public school teacher vacancies as of September 2022. Most vacancies were in special education — as is the case in most states.
The state is addressing the crisis through the Teaching Is Changing Lives campaign. The initiative focuses on implementing residency programs in universities to boost recruitment, but it will undoubtedly take time for the initiative to address the shortage.
New York has a relatively stable teacher workforce compared to the rest of the country. The state has implemented various measures over the last few years to get ahead of the shortage, including:
- Hiring teachers from the Dominican Republic to meet the state’s need for bilingual teachers
- Providing vocational classes to prepare high school students for the teaching profession
- Helping paraprofessionals obtain teaching certificates
Even so, the state has dealt with a high turnover rate. One in six teachers left high-poverty public schools between 2021 and 2022, forcing them to contend with inexperienced replacements.
The teacher attrition rate in North Carolina was 15.6% between 2021 and 2022, as many teachers are unwilling to remain in the profession. It’s also hard to recruit new teachers as the state’s starting pay is among the lowest in the U.S.
North Carolina funded measures like salary supplements and pay raises. It also implemented the Teaching Fellows program, which offers forgivable loans and scholarships to student teachers studying to teach science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and special education. Even so, these efforts have bore little fruit.
North Dakota had 167 unfilled teaching positions in the 2021–2022 academic year. The state also had 330 teachers working with emergency certifications and teaching outside their fields of training. This is partially attributable to a decline in enrollments for teaching courses and high competition from the private sector.
To address the shortage crisis, the state has formed a 15-member task force, composed of principals, teachers, and teaching professors, to come up with possible solutions. The task force has yet to recommend strategies.
In 2022, over 20,700 courses in Ohio were taught by teachers without proper licenses. Why? College students’ declining interest in pursuing education has resulted in a deficit of new teachers, similar to trends across the country.
Legislators are proposing several bills to address the shortage issue. These include entering the state into the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact to encourage experienced teachers from other states to teach in Ohio and introducing loan forgiveness and scholarships for students willing to study education. As with many initiatives, these solutions may take too much time.
Oklahoma is ranked 13th on the list of states experiencing the highest teacher shortages in the country. The state has a teacher-to-student ratio of 61:1000, highlighting the dire crisis.
Oklahoma is dealing with the situation by approving adjunct instructors and issuing emergency teaching certificates. However, some consider this a risky move, as it allows individuals with minimal teaching training and experience to teach.
Oregon’s 57:1000 teacher-to-student ratio is one of the lowest in the country. There are significant shortages in English, special education, science, and mathematics. Low enrollment rates in teaching courses are among the leading causes of the shortage.
To address this, Oregon runs a Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage individuals to study education. Eligible teachers work in high-poverty schools after licensure, as they’re the most affected by the ongoing shortage. Unfortunately, this strategy has not yet improved the ratio.
Pennsylvania reported roughly 340 teacher vacancies this year. Teachers are reluctant to enter the state’s workforce because of low pay, growing concerns over security, and burnout.
The state plans to streamline the teacher certification process to make it easier for individuals to obtain their licenses. It hopes this will encourage coaches to obtain teaching certificates and retired teachers to recertify. Since this is in the planning phase, it may not address the immediate teacher shortage.
Rhode Island’s emergency certificates rose by roughly 40% between 2018 and 2021, showing the state is just as affected by the shortage as the rest of the country. An emergency certification can only be issued in Rhode Island when school districts can’t find qualified teachers.
Some school districts offer bonuses to qualified and experienced teachers to encourage them to teach in their schools. These bonuses are as high as $10,000, depending on the individual’s qualifications. This places high-poverty schools at a disadvantage, as they can’t compete with incentives from schools in higher-income areas.
South Carolina had over 1,400 vacancies at the start of the 2022–2023 school year. Like many states, it has experienced a steady decline in the number of teachers entering and staying in the profession.
The state’s Department of Education hopes to address this issue through a pay increase. It recommends a minimum salary of $50,000 by the 2026–2027 school year. It may take time for school districts to implement this measure. So, they may still be affected by the shortage in the near future.
In September 2022, South Dakota had 110 unfilled teacher positions across the state. Low pay significantly contributes to the shortage, as the state is one of the lowest paying in the nation.
To beat the shortage, South Dakota introduced the “Educator Rising” program, which allows young students to learn about the teaching profession. It also introduced the Teacher Fellows program to provide mentorship support to student teachers while they earn their bachelor’s degrees. Unfortunately, these solutions don’t address the root cause of the state’s teacher shortage.
At the start of the 2022–2023 school year, Tennessee had over 1,000 unfilled teaching positions and 3,000 positions filled by unqualified teachers. The teacher shortage results from low pay and increased workload, which make the profession unattractive to potential teachers.
The state runs recruitment programs like the “Grow Your Own” initiative to encourage students to join the teaching profession. Even so, this may not be enough, making it vital for district executives to find alternative ways to provide high-quality education.
Texas is struggling to maintain a qualified workforce, which is evident from its hiring practices: approximately one in three educators hired last year lacked state certification.
While hiring uncertified teachers helped bring an influx of teachers to the workforce and ameliorate the teacher-to-student ratio, it introduced a new issue of education quality.
Utah has one of the highest turnover rates among first-time teachers. It loses roughly 43% of teachers within their first five years in the classroom, which can be attributed in part to a lack of preparedness. This is significantly higher than the national 17%–46% turnover rate.
The state supports districts and schools in providing mentorship programs for new teachers to address this issue. While this is an excellent initiative, it’s yet to bear results, making it essential for school districts to consider solutions like Elevate.
Approximately 55% of new teachers in Vermont leave the profession after five years. This is higher than the national average, making the state one of the hardest hit by attrition. As with other states, low pay and burnout are top contributors.
Vermont is dealing with the crisis by issuing provisional, emergency, and apprenticeship licenses to teachers who have yet to meet all the required licensure requirements.
Virginia’s teacher vacancy rate grew by 0.8% between the 2021–2022 and 2022–2023 school years. As a result, Virginia is issuing more provisional licenses, allowing teachers who’ve not yet met all licensure requirements to teach.
Virginia also runs the Virginia Teaching Scholarship Loan Program, which provides loans to students pursuing education courses. The state then places them in high-poverty schools that have been disproportionately affected by teacher shortages.
Issuing provisional licenses poses a quality problem, as some teachers may lack all the appropriate skills.
Washington is 12th on the list of states most affected by shortages in the U.S. The teacher-to-student ratio is roughly 1:60, showing teachers in the state have an exceptionally high workload.
The state aims to manage the teacher shortage by encouraging more people to get teaching certificates. It currently runs four grants and scholarships to provide tuition support — but this is a long-term initiative that could take time to alleviate the problem.
Washington DC has a teacher attrition rate of 25%. This is considerably high compared to the national 16% average. The high turnover rate is attributable to poor working conditions, with teachers often working long hours for low pay, and with little professional authority.
The Washington Teacher’s Union (WTU) signed a contract in 2022 with DC Public Schools (DCPS) to improve retention. The contract stipulated a 12% pay increase over four years and a 4% retention bonus. Even with the contract, Washington DC continues to face a high turnover rate.
The West Virginia Department of Education estimates a shortage of 1,500 teachers. This is partly due to the state’s pay — new teachers earn roughly $38,000, one of the lowest starting salaries nationwide.
Like many states, West Virginia is taking a long-term approach to address shortages through programs like the “Grow Your Own” initiative. But, this is a hopeful plan that may or may not bear fruit. It also fails to address the salary issue. The state needs to consider solutions that solve the teacher crisis immediately.
Wisconsin is facing an all-time high teacher turnover rate of 15.8%. Like the rest of the country, the turnover rate is higher in lower-income communities.
The state runs “Grow Your Own” initiatives and provides financial assistance through the State of Wisconsin’s Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) to boost recruitment. Again, this is a long-term plan that may take years to bear results. Therefore, school districts must consider alternative solutions.
To address this issue, the state has developed an apprenticeship initiative that provides mentorship to prospective teachers. If successful, the program may increase the number of teachers in the state. But it could take some time to solve the teacher crisis. Solutions like Elevate can provide immediate assistance for school districts.
Explore how Elevate K-12 is providing schools with talented teachers nationwide
Elevate K-12 can help solve teacher shortages across the country. We provide qualified and certified teachers in 33 states and plan to expand nationwide. Our teachers provide virtual lessons in real time, so you don’t have to rely on underqualified teachers, class cancellations, and combined classes.
Built by our in-house academic team and audited by an independent third-party organization, our engaging curriculum is structured to meet each state’s standards. We’ll help resolve teacher vacancies in your school district, preventing classroom overcrowding and facilitating sufficient student-teacher interaction.
Join the hundreds of school districts solving teacher shortages with Elevate K-12.