Best jobs for college dropouts, and other reader questions! – The Washington Post

by | Sep 16, 2022 | Jobs

How many working-age folks with teaching certificates are NOT teaching in the K-12 system? — D.B. in Flagstaff, Ariz.Astute inquiry! While we don’t have data on certification, we can dig pretty deep on education majors.Nationally, 31.5 percent of U.S. workers with teaching degrees were working outside the education sector in 2020, at least within prime teaching age (25 to 55). That’s the highest share we’ve ever seen. Comparable Census Bureau data go back to 2009, when the number was 28.7 percent.Education majors are most likely to work in their chosen field at age 26, but attrition is high during their first years in the industry. Job flight stabilizes as teachers hit their 30s and 40s, but takes off again when they hit their 50s and soars at age 55, when long-serving public school teachers can take retirement benefits in some states.An industry-leading 3 in 4 school administration and special-needs education majors make a career in education, a category we define as elementary and secondary schools, colleges, vocational schools, libraries and day cares. Meanwhile, just 56 percent of social science and history majors stick with it, as do 47.5 percent of physical education majors, a category that includes health education.Lower-income states tend to retain teachers better than their high-income peers. Mississippi has the highest share of education majors who stick with the profession during their prime teaching years at 78 percent, followed by West Virginia, Louisiana and Arkansas. California has the lowest retention of any state at 61.4 percent but is easily surpassed by D.C. at 43.7 percent. …

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