America is set to add over 400,000 teaching jobs in the next decade — here are the skills and requirements you need to start a career in education

 With a growing and aging population, the US is likely to see a rising demand for more healthcare workers.

In addition to needing more people to assist and treat illnesses of older Americans, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that employment opportunities for teachers related to the health field are expected to also grow over the next decade.

Based on that data, Insider recently published an analysis of the industries and jobs set to dominate the 2020s. Here's everything you need to know to break into one of those industries: education.

A look at the numbers

Teachers in higher education are expected to see growth over the next decade, based on pre-pandemic data.

Overall, postsecondary teachers, college professors, and others that teach courses beyond high school are expected to see employment growth of 9%, which is higher than the percent change for all occupations between 2019 and 2029, at 4%. In particular, postsecondary health specialties teachers are expected to grow by 21% in that time — or by 52,100 more employees.

"As an aging population increasingly demands healthcare services, additional postsecondary teachers are expected to be needed to help educate the workers who will provide these services," the Bureau of Labor Statistics wrote in the Occupational Outlook Handbook about this growing position.

Postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers fall closely behind at 18%. Outside of healthcare, postsecondary business teachers are also predicted to grow fast over the next few years at 12%.

The following chart highlights the nine types of postsecondary teachers that are expected to see the most employment growth between 2019 and 2029:

Looking at the percent change in employees between 2019 to 2029, education employment is generally projected to increase as much as the overall average of all occupations. This includes kindergarten, elementary, and high school teachers. Preschool teachers, however, are expected to not grow as much, where employment between 2019 and 2029 is expected to increase by 2%, below the overall average.

Similarly, we found in our analysis two education jobs that are high paying and have a high number of openings over the next couple of years: elementary teachers and postsecondary health specialties teachers.

How to get into the education field

If you are looking to become a postsecondary health specialties teacher, BLS notes that this job typically requires at least a doctoral or professional degree.

According to CareerOneSpot, a site sponsored by the US Department of Labor that provides more detailed information on the background and education to get into different jobs, there are different programs that can help prepare you for this job in addition to the minimum degree requirement.

They include dentistry, epidemiology, and various kinds of therapy programs like art and music therapy depending on your area of interest.

If you want to become a public school teacher, you'll generally need a teaching certificate. Specific requirements depend on your state, but most states require aspiring teachers to pass exams to earn a certificate. According to 2018 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 46 states have a subject area exam and 39 have a basic skills exam for initial certification of elementary and secondary teachers.

In general, most teaching jobs require a bachelor's degree. But according to Best College Reviews, a resource for students and others looking at colleges, educators could also study to obtain a master's of education so that they can move into leadership positions within the education sector.

People can also earn their master's to get better at their job and to learn more about different education areas that they may not have got a chance to learn during their undergrad.

For instance, at Harvard, which has the best master's of education program according to US News & World Report, students choose one of the offered programs like the Education Policy and Analysis program or the Human Development and Education program. 

Important caveats to note about education employment amid the pandemic

The latest projections use data from before the pandemic, so the pandemic's devastating impact on various industries is not reflected in the projections.

As noted by BLS's Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment in education largely depends on state and local budgets, which have been hit hard by the pandemic.

State data also show that employment is down in local and state education between September 2019 and September 2020 in nearly every state, mainly due to temporary job cuts, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts' analysis of BLS data. 

And one survey from Horace Mann Educators Corporation of 1,240 US educators found that 27% have considered quitting, where 11% considered a leave of absence and 6% considered early retirement.

Additionally, with some colleges experiencing lower enrollment and budget deficits amid the pandemic, job cuts, as a result, may affect the demand for more postsecondary teachers.

Nevertheless, hopefully, after the pandemic ends and the economy recovers, more job opportunities to teach the next generation will be available in both K-12 schools and higher education.

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