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Teacher qualifications

Question:
Do you have any information on the qualifications of teachers in their teaching assignments?

Response:

The percentage of public school teachers who held a postbaccalaureate degree (i.e., a master’s, education specialist, or doctor’s degree)1 was higher in 2017–18 (58 percent) than in 1999–2000 (47 percent). This pattern was observed at both the elementary and secondary levels. Some 55 percent of elementary school teachers and 61 percent of secondary school teachers held a postbaccalaureate degree in 2017–18, whereas 45 and 50 percent, respectively, held a postbaccalaureate degree in 1999–2000. In both school years, a lower percentage of elementary school teachers than secondary school teachers held a postbaccalaureate degree.

In 2017–18, some 90 percent of public school teachers held a regular or standard state teaching certificate or advanced professional certificate, 4 percent held a provisional or temporary certificate, 3 percent held a probationary certificate, 2 percent held no certification, and 1 percent held a waiver or emergency certificate. A higher percentage of teachers in 2017–18 than in 1999–2000 held a regular certificate (90 vs. 87 percent). In both school years, a higher percentage of elementary than secondary school teachers held a regular certificate (88 vs. 85 percent in 1999–2000; 91 vs. 90 percent in 2017–18).

In 2017–18, about 9 percent of public school teachers had less than 3 years of teaching experience, 28 percent had 3 to 9 years of experience, 40 percent had 10 to 20 years of experience, and 23 percent had more than 20 years of experience. Lower percentages of teachers in 2017–18 than in 1999–2000 had less than 3 years of experience (9 vs. 11 percent) and over 20 years of experience (23 vs. 32 percent). At the same time, the percentage who had 10 to 20 years of experience was higher in 2017–18 than in 1999–2000 (40 vs. 29 percent). There was no measurable difference between 1999–2000 and 2017–18 in the percentage of teachers with 3 to 9 years of experience.


Percentage distribution of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by years of teaching experience: School years 1999–2000 and 2017–18

NOTE: Data are based on a head count of full-time and part-time teachers rather than on the number of full-time-equivalent teachers. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.


1 Education specialist degrees or certificates are generally awarded for 1 year’s work beyond the master’s level, including a certificate of advanced graduate studies. Doctor’s degrees include Ph.D., Ed.D., and comparable degrees at the doctoral level, as well as first-professional degrees, such as M.D., D.D.S., and J.D. degrees.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). The Condition of Education 2020 (NCES 2020-144), Characteristics of Public School Teachers.

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