ROCKINGHAM, N.C. — North Carolina school districts are battling to fill vacancies for teachers, but this could become more challenging as more college students are choosing majors other than education.
What You Need To Know
- There’s been a 35% drop in enrollment of bachelor’s in education programs at public colleges in North Carolina
- There’s a 9% decline in students enrolling in master’s degrees in education as well
- Programs such as licensure, residencies and master’s programs can help people with bachelor’s degrees become teachers, regardless of area of study
Between 2012 and 2021, there has been a 35% decline in enrollment of bachelor’s in education programs at University of North Carolina System schools. Every college in the system, aside from Western Carolina University, shows a drop of enrollment for education majors. There’s a 9% decline in students enrolling in master’s degrees in education.
More than 8% of teachers left employment in the 2020-21 academic year, according to the North Carolina Board of Education. Many districts are still looking to fill vacancies. Other programs like licensure, residencies and master’s programs can help people with bachelor’s degrees become teachers, regardless of area of study.
Liam Gallagher studied English at UNCG, but decided to pursue a career in education during his senior year. He signed up for the Piedmont Teacher Residency Partnership, a 14-month program that allows for student teaching at a Rockingham or Surry County school while the student works toward a master’s degree in education.
“I like connecting with people, so when I realized I could use my English degree to connect with people, it made me feel good,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher will finish his studies in August and start as a full-time high school English teacher this fall. While he didn’t initially think of becoming a teacher, he’s thrilled to share his passion for English with his students.
“I’m looking forward to having my own classroom and just finding my own sense of independency and everything,” he said.
UNC Charlotte, UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. A&T State University all have similar teacher residency programs for people looking for a career in education.