Want a Teaching Job? Get a Special Education Endorsement!

A new working paper on the labor market for special education teachers includes a remarkable graph. The orange bars in the graph below represent the hiring rates for Washington state teacher candidates with a special education endorsement (click on the graph to see a bigger version). Earning a special education education endorsement appears to be a way to combat the effects of recessions: Even in the depths of the Great Recession, more than 75 percent of newly trained teachers with a special education endorsement secured a teaching job in Washington within three years of graduation.

The green bars, in contrast, represent teacher candidates with only an elementary education endorsement. While the green and orange bars look similar in recent years–when teacher hiring has been strong–the hiring rates look very different during economic downturns. For elementary education graduates in 2010, they had only about a 45 percent chance of securing a teaching job in Washington within three years.

The paper is titled “The Special Education Teacher Pipeline: Teacher Preparation, Workforce Entry, and Retention” by Roddy Theobald, Dan Goldhaber, Natsumi Naito, and Marcy Stein. Find it on the CALDER website here.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman