All Things Political

Education Services Industry Job Outlook

Greater numbers of children and adults enrolled in all types of schools will generate employment growth in this industry. A large number of retirements will add additional job openings and create good job prospects for many of those seeking work in educational services.

Wage and salary employment growth of 12 percent is expected in the educational services industry over the 2008-18 period, comparable to the 11 percent increase projected for all industries combined. Over the long-term, the overall demand for workers in educational services will increase as a result of a growing emphasis on improving education and making it available not only to more children and young adults, but also to those currently employed and in need of improving their skills. Much of the demand for educational services is driven by growth in the population of students at each level. Low enrollment growth projections at the secondary school level are likely to limit growth somewhat, resulting in average growth for these teachers, However, enrollment growth is expected to be larger at the elementary (grades 1-5) and middle school (grades 6-8) levels, which will likely result in slightly higher employment growth for teachers at these levels. Reforms, such as universal preschool and all-day kindergarten, will require more preschool and kindergarten teachers.

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Due to continued emphasis on the inclusion of disabled students in general education classrooms and an effort to reach students with problems at younger ages, special education teachers will experience relatively strong growth. School reforms calling for more individual attention to students will require additional teacher assistants, particularly to work with special education and English-as-a-second-language students.

Enrollments are expected to grow at a faster rate in postsecondary institutions as more high school graduates attend college and as more working adults return to school to enhance or update their skills. As a result, postsecondary teachers will experience growth that is faster than the industry on a whole.

Despite expected increases in education expenditures over the next decade, budget constraints at all levels of government may place restrictions on educational services, particularly in light of the rapidly escalating costs associated with increased college enrollments, special education, construction of new schools, and other services. Funding constraints generally affect student services (such as school busing, library and educational materials, and extracurricular activities) before employment of administrative, instructional, and support staff. However, supplementary programs, such as music and foreign language instruction, also often face cuts when budgets become tight. Even if no reductions are required, budget considerations also may affect attempts to expand school programs, such as increasing the number of counselors and teacher assistants in elementary schools.

In addition to job openings due to employment growth, retirements will create large numbers of job openings as a greater-than-average number of workers are over the age of 55 in nearly all the major occupations that make up the industry—from janitors to education administrators.

School districts, particularly those in urban and rural areas, continue to report difficulties in recruiting qualified teachers, administrators, and support personnel. Fast-growing areas of the country—including several States and cities in the South and West—also report difficulty recruiting education workers, especially teachers. Retirements are expected to remain high over the 2008-18 period, so the number of students graduating with education degrees may not be sufficient to meet this industry's growing needs, making job opportunities for graduates in many education fields good to excellent. Currently, alternative licensing programs are helping to attract more people into teaching, especially those from other career paths, but opportunities should continue to be very good for highly qualified teachers, especially those in subject areas with the highest needs, such as math, science, and special education.

At the postsecondary level, increases in student enrollments and projected retirements of current faculty should contribute to a favorable job market for postsecondary teachers. However, candidates applying for tenured positions will continue to face keen competition as many colleges and universities rely on adjunct or part-time faculty and graduate students to make up a larger share of the total instructional staff than in the past.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition

Special Features:

Special Districts in the USA

School Districts in the USA

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