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Middle School Teachers Job Outlook

Employment of middle school teachers is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth is expected because of both declines in student–teacher ratios and increases in enrollment. However, employment growth will vary by region.

From 2010 to 2020, the student–teacher ratio is expected to decline. This ratio is the number of students for each teacher in the school. A decline in the ratio means that each teacher is responsible for fewer students, and, consequently, more teachers are needed to teach the same number of students.

In addition, the number of students in middle schools is expected to increase over the coming decade, and the number of classes needed to accommodate these students will also rise. As a result, more teachers will be required to teach the additional classes of middle school students.

Although overall student enrollment is expected to grow, there will be some variation by region. Enrollment is expected to grow fastest in the South and West. In the Midwest, enrollment is projected to hold steady; the Northeast is projected to have declines. As a result, employment growth for middle school teachers is expected to be greater in the South and West than in the Midwest and Northeast.

Despite expected increases in enrollment, employment growth for middle school teachers will depend on state and local government budgets. When state and local governments experience budget deficits, they may lay off employees, including teachers. As a result, employment growth of middle school teachers may be somewhat reduced by state and local government budget difficulties.

Job Prospects

From 2010 to 2020, a significant number of older teachers is expected to reach retirement age. Their retirement will create job openings for new teachers. The short supply of teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) and special education teachers will further result in job opportunities.

Middle school teachers with education or certifications to teach these specialties should have better job opportunities. For more information on middle school special education teachers, see the profile on special education teachers.

Supply and demand for middle school teachers are roughly in balance, meaning that there are about as many jobs as there are applicants. However, there is wide variation by region. Some regions of the country, such as the Northwest, are experiencing a surplus of teachers. Other regions, such as the Southeast, are experiencing a shortage. Furthermore, opportunities should be better in urban and rural school districts than in suburban school districts.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition