Difficult. Stressful. Not worth the pay. These are some of the ways many describe what it’s like to work in the education sector over the past several years. Among the vast variety of education-related jobs out there, how do they compare to professions across other industries?
The pipeline into education professions, namely teaching, is shrinking, and job satisfaction among district leaders and educators alike is declining.
“It’s a wonder we have any,” said Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association regarding the national shortage of teachers. For those leading our schools, 25% of K 12 public school principals say they would quit “ASAP” for a higher-paying job, simply because the pros don’t outweigh the cons.
Don’t let the statistics fool you though. Beneath the headlines that shout “doomsday is near” for those who work in education is an army of individuals who love their jobs and are in them for the right reasons.
Take, for instance, Principal Kimberly Vaught of Allenbrook Elementary in West Charlotte, North Carolina, a go-to principal for school turnaround because she was called into the profession as “an itty bitty girl.” Or Dr. Principal Johnnie Marshall at Valdosta Early College in Georgia, whose faith, love for his family and dedication to his students drive him to elevate and guide others to success.
But the national consensus is that education jobs are suffering, and in a new U.S. News ranking of the “2023 Best Jobs” they don’t even land in the top 50.
Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to evaluate jobs with the greatest hiring demand, U.S. News scored each job using seven component measures: 10-year volume growth, 10-year growth percentage, median salary, employment rate, future job prospects, stress level, and work-life balance.
Nearly 40% of the top 100 jobs on the list are in healthcare or healthcare support roles. Additionally, to no surprise, a technology role—software developer—earned the number-one spot.
In terms of support staff, a school psychologist actually earned a spot in the top 50, coming in at #40. But as for education-specific jobs, you can find high school teacher at #52 on the top 100 list. Next is an elementary school teacher at #58, a school counselor at #59, and a middle school teacher at #91.
Now let’s filter our search to only provide us with education jobs and see how they compare to one another:
- High school teacher
- Elementary school teacher
- Middle school teacher
- Health educator
- Preschool teacher
- Sports coach
- Teaching assistant
“Due to its projected 10-year growth, future job prospect rating, low unemployment and high median salary, the role of software developer climbed four spots from last year’s rankings to the top of this year’s list,” according to U.S. News. “The tech sector, which holds four of the top 10 best jobs, is projected to see the third-largest increase in employment from 2021-2031, behind the leisure and hospitality sector and the health care and social assistance sector. Job prospects in the technology sector should remain strong, thanks to an increase in demand for services related to telework, such as IT security and computer infrastructure for businesses.”