BOISE – Job opportunities for teachers in Idaho are relatively good and, based on projections, will likely continue to be that way, educators and state officials said.
A growing state population that includes young families combined with retirement of baby boom generation teachers will offset proposed state budget cuts that include eliminating about 770 teacher jobs in the next two years, mainly through attrition, the government leaders said.
“Once we get through this recession, I do believe the opportunities for teachers will be good,” Bob Uhlenkott, Idaho Department of Labor chief research officer, told the Idaho Business Review.
The agency said 10-year projections show teaching jobs in the state are likely to grow by 20 percent, compared with 15 percent for all occupations.
Earlier this month, Idaho public schools Superintendent Tom Luna proposed an education reform, calling for more technology in the classroom, larger class sizes and a pay-for-performance plan for educators.
Ken Coll, associate dean of teacher education and accreditation at Boise State University, said there has been a 10 percent increase in enrollment at the school’s College of Education.
Areas that are short of teachers are math and science, special education, bilingual education, and early childhood studies, he said.
“In those areas, people would have a number of job offers, even in the current climate,” Coll said.
Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston has expanded its teacher education programs, offering online and classroom-based courses.
“Enrollment in our nontraditional program is growing, mainly because people are looking at different professions,” said Dave Massaro, coordinator of the nontraditional education program at Lewis-Clark.
“The baby boomers who are teaching are at the age where they’re going to be retiring, and there’s a huge number of teachers in that realm,” he said.