Teacher helping student in classroomAs students throughout the United States returned to school this spring, thousands of teaching positions were left unfilled. A 2016 report from the United States Department of Education reveals the nation’s public schools teacher shortage has reached new heights.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, school systems may not currently have “the necessary funds, approvals/authorizations, and other provisions” to fill teaching vacancies in certain disciplines or locations. Statistics show that nearly every state is combating a shortage; Maryland specifically is confined to shortages in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

There have been many efforts to combat the shortage. Maryland, and many other states, are attempting to draw professionals from these industries into the classroom. Second career applicants not only have their experience to offer, but a sense of enthusiasm that comes with entering a new profession as well.

In addition to drawing professionals to careers in education, various states also provide financial assistance for students who plan on working in specific occupational programs. For example, the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) offers a Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Program for those who plan to enter a variety of fields, one of which being education. Those who apply must be enrolled in an approved teacher education program that will lead to certification in a critical shortage field. For example, Maryland currently faces shortages in chemistry, earth/space science, mathematics, physical science, and physics education.

Incentives and strategies for recruitment show no signs of slowing down, according to the Maryland State Department of Education. It has become crucial for institutions of higher education to prepare professionals to teach in these academic disciplines as school systems continue to face challenges in recruiting and employing qualified educators.

Stevenson University's Master of Arts in Teaching program (MAT) is designed for math and science baccalaureate degree graduates who have a desire to teach and inspire a new generation of learners. The MAT program has seen many students translate their experience in the field into careers as secondary science and mathematics teachers.

To learn more about the MAT program, please contact Amanda Millar amillar@stevenson.edu