In April 1994, 80 percent of 1992?93 graduates were primarily working,2 and another 3 percent combined study and work equally. The remaining graduates were primarily studying (11 percent), were not enrolled and either unemployed (3 percent) or were out of the labor force (3 percent). Kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers made up 10 percent of graduates who were working full time in April 1994.
Whether they were employed full time or part time in April 1994, most graduates who worked as K12 teachers in April 1994 were also employed in April 1997. Among those employed full time as K12 teachers in April 1994, 88 percent were primarily working, 3 percent were working and studying equal amounts, and 3 percent were primarily studying in April 1997. Among those employed part time as K12 teachers in April 1994, 85 percent were primarily working, 5 percent were working and studying equal amounts, and 3 percent were primarily studying in April 1997.
Among those who were employed as full-time K12 teachers in April 1994 and who also worked in April 1997, 82 percent were still teaching in April 1997. Furthermore, none of the other occupation categories proved more stable than teachers. In particular, K12 teachers were as likely as those who worked in health occupations; engineers, scientists, and lab and research assistants; and several other white collar occupation categories to work in the same occupation category in both 1994 and 1997.
Somewhat fewer of those who were working part time remained in teaching. Among April 1994 part-time K12 teachers who worked in April 1997, 67 percent worked as K12 teachers in April 1997. Nevertheless, among graduates who worked in April 1997, graduates who worked part time in April 1994 as K12 teachers were more likely than those who worked part time as computer or technical workers, sales/service representatives, blue-collar workers, business owners or other managers, or clerical workers to work in the same occupation in April 1997. In other words, part-time K12 teachers were as likely as graduates who worked part time in the remaining occupations to work in the same occupation in both time periods.
In addition to perceptions that the overall new teacher attrition rate is high, policymakers and researchers fear that, among teachers, those who major in fields other than education, particularly mathematics and the natural sciences, are more likely than education majors to leave the profession. The B&B:93/97 data indicate that among those who were primarily working in April 1994, there were no differences between teachers with majors in education and those with majors in engineering, mathematics, or the natural sciences in the proportion who were primarily working in April 1997. However, among K12 teachers in April 1994 who were working in April 1997, 70 percent of those who had majored in engineering, mathematics, or the natural sciences were teaching at the K12 level in April 1997, compared with 86 percent of education majors.
Thus, this analysis indicates that among 199293 college graduates who worked in April 1994, approximately a year after they had completed their bachelor’s degrees, those who taught at the K12 level were among the most stable of all employed graduates with respect to their occupations 3 years later. Relatively few teaching graduates had different main activities or different occupations in April 1997 than they did in April 1994. Graduates who worked in other occupations for which employees train as undergraduates (e.g., engineering and health occupations) also had relatively low rates of attrition. Moreover, these occupations also tended to have higher professional status than the occupations in which graduates were more likely to change occupations between 1994 and 1997. Therefore, this report also examines whether two additional variablesgraduates’perceptions of the relationship between their postsecondary fields of study and occupations and their views about the professional status of their occupationsvary with occupations and are associated with changing occupations between April 1994 and April 1997.