These days it’s tough for a new teacher to get a job in New York

by Grace

New college graduates in New York find there are too many teachers and not enough jobs.

Of the 15,102 candidates who were certified in 2011-12, only 4,289 were employed in the state’s public schools, including charters, as of October 2013….

Tiffany MacPeek gave up her dream of getting a teaching job and now works in medical billing.

“If I knew it was this hard to get a teaching job, I would have picked something completely different in college,” MacPeek said. “All I knew was teaching is a great field. No one told me.”

Colleges are producing too many teacher candidates, but they don’t believe it is their responsibility to proactively educate students about that problem.

Experts say an oversupply of teachers, particularly in elementary education, is being churned out by teacher-preparation programs. They say colleges don’t do a good job of forecasting hiring needs or of adequately informing students of their employment prospects….

Colleges have a responsibility to provide students with projections on their future employment, said Ken Wagner, senior deputy commissioner for education policy at the state Education Department….

Not our job

Colleges say it’s not their responsibility to proactively educate students on their job prospects. Nor, they say, is it possible to predict the job market.

Students need to take more initiative researching job prospects because colleges are often not very helpful.

Posamentier said colleges should not be in the business of telling students what they should or should not study.

“It’s a free market and we don’t guarantee jobs, just like law schools or MBA programs,” he said. “These are big boys and girls. We will always let students know if they ask, but who am I to say, ‘You need to do this, not that?'”

This is in contrast to schools like Texas A&M, which proactively warned petroleum engineering students to be realistic about future job growth.

State officials are among those who believe colleges should be more proactive in informing students about weak career prospects.

Colleges have a responsibility to provide students with projections on their future employment, said Ken Wagner, senior deputy commissioner for education policy at the state Education Department.

Some areas of teaching remain in demand.

The colleges are graduating too many elementary education students and not enough in such areas as English language learners, special education and high school math and physics, he said.


Venugopal Ramaswamy, “Tough job market for NY teacher candidates”, The Journal News, February 1, 2015.


14 Comments to “These days it’s tough for a new teacher to get a job in New York”

  1. Are there similar oversupply problems in surrounding states? I wonder how far people would have to move to find jobs in their field. Of course, the teachers would have to try to transfer their certification to the new state.

    How many people do you think are certified in NY, but teaching elsewhere so that # Certified – # teaching is an overstatement of those who can’t find a job?

    Also, I thought that the average elementary school teacher just taught for a few years (due to burnout, having children, whatever). Any idea how many of the certified teachers have voluntarily left the field, but are still certified until it’s time for renewal?

    I do think that far more people want to be elementary ed teachers than middle school or high school (where you often have to major in a specific academic field like math or history).


  2. I don’t know if surrounding states have similar oversupply problems, but my sense is that it’s not as bad as New York. The article mentioned the high number of teaching schools in NY.

    While I think many new teachers would consider teaching in surrounding states, there is the problem of state certification. I seem to remember some degree of reciprocity, but not 100%. My sense is that most graduates want to stay in New York if not a more specific in-state geographic area. Some things I’ve read about the teacher “type” leads me to believe most would not want to chase jobs far from their home state.

    Apparently “New teachers are staying on the job longer than in the past …”


  3. Anecdotally, I hear more stories of legitimate oversupply than of other factors causing the high numbers. It’s been the case for many years that teachers who desire to work in nicer suburban schools often have to put their time in tougher NYC schools first, but it seems to have gotten even worse. The recent teacher grads I hear about who are getting opportunities are in special ed or math/science, and even then they’re going on to get their masters before they are able to get any job at all.


  4. The data in the JoanneJacobs article show a fairly constant 6.5% attrition per year, independent of high-poverty or not. There is some noise, possibly due to survey sampling noise, possibly due to genuine effects in different years.


  5. According to http:/ New York has teacher shortages in 2014 – 2015, Statewide Academic Disciplines or Subject Matter:
    Bilingual Education (General and Special Education)
    Business and Marketing Education
    Career and Technical Education
    Technical Education
    Technology Education (High School)
    Technology Preparation
    Trade Education
    Computer Studies/Programming
    Family and Consumer Sciences Education
    Health Occupations Education
    Home Economics-Business

    I see no mention of shortages in elementary education.


  6. I learned recently that you don’t have to have a college degree in order to teach in NYC if you are in technology education. We are working with a HS right now, trying to set up a college=credi-for-HS program, and discovered that many of the teachers in technical subjects never went to college.


  7. gasstation — Which chart shows 6.5% attrition? I guess the main point is that teachers are not “leaving in droves”.


  8. That list of areas with shortages is interesting. I suspect not many students decide to pursue a career in education to teach many these subjects, which appear to lean vocational. And what the heck is “Home Economics-Business”?

    I’d like to know the story behind not requiring a college degree to teach technology in NYC. Do you think it’s because they’d never be able to fill their slots with degreed tech teachers given their starting salaries and cost of living? I still maintain that teacher salaries should reflect general market conditions. I believe it would help improve the quality of teachers.


  9. I’m also curious about the gender split for NYC tech teachers.


  10. Interesting article here – the number of applicants to Teach for America is down, and even more interestingly, the number of people majoring in education is also down “Teaching in general has been losing favor. From 2010 to 2013, the number of student candidates enrolled in teacher training programs fell 12.5 percent, according to federal data.”


  11. The teachers without degrees are in an area that is not astoundingly highly paid even in industry, though I am sure they are making less as a NYC teacher. I can’t give more details because it would be too identifying. I get the sense that they have been there for a while.


  12. CSProfMom — Thanks for that link!

    Hmm … interesting about those teachers.


  13. The chart showing 6.5% attrition per year was the one in . They didn’t calculate the attrition on an annual basis, but it is easy to do with a pocket calculator. It would have been better if they had used a log scale on the y axis, so that you could see the attrition rate as the slope of the line.


  14. Thanks, gassstation! Nobody told me I’d have to do math. 😀


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