General Recruitment Information
A report from the National Commission on Teaching and
America's Future discusses the importance of making quality
teaching and the recruitment of well-prepared teachers the top
priority for policy makers. "It has been shown that
standards that strengthen teacher knowledge are likely to make a
substantial difference for the quality of teaching"
(Darling-Hammond, 1999, p. 3). The report continues:
While new teaching standards may hold great possibilities
for raising the quality of teacher preparation, these advances
will have little import for students-and especially the
nation's most vulnerable children-if school districts
continue to hire teachers who are unprepared and to assign many
teachers outside of their field of expertise...To achieve the
educational goals we hold for all children, policy makers must
proactively develop strategies that do not trade off student
learning against haphazard teacher hiring. (Darling-Hammond,
1999, p. 4)
The goal of American education is to ensure that all students
achieve the high standards necessary to lead fulfilling lives and
become productive citizens (AFT, 2001). SLPs, as part of the
teaching team, play a key role in reaching these goals. "As
speech and hearing professionals, we are all very aware that
communication disorders can restrict a child's learning
and/or social-emotional development, and an adult's
employability, general productivity, success, and enjoyment in
life" (Logeman, 2000, p. 27).
It is estimated that with public school personnel retirements
is increasing annually and the effects of the "Baby Boom
echo generation" driving up enrollments in student
population, more than 2.4 million teachers will be needed in the
next decade (National Center for Education Statistics, 1998,
2001). Reports also indicate that 20% of new teachers leave the
profession within 3 years (National Center for Education
Statistics, 1998, 2001). Reports also indicate that 20% of new
teachers leave the profession within 3 years (National Center for
Education Statistics, 2001) and that nearly 50% of all new
teachers leave their jobs within 5 years in urban areas
(Darling-Hammond, 1998). Innovative recruitment strategies are
needed to address the critical projections of personnel
In a report on solving the dilemmas of teacher supply, demand,
and standards, the National Commission on Teaching and
America's Future (Darling-Hammond, 1999) outlined practical
and effective strategies employed by many states and districts.
Seven of these have potential for solving the problems that
schools face in recruiting and retaining qualified SLPs:
Raise teacher standards while equalizing teacher
Connecticut's 1986 Education Enhancement Act created a
minimum beginning teacher salary and offered state funds to
less wealthy districts so that they could reach the target.
Within 3 years, Connecticut's cities went from having
shortages to having surpluses of teachers, and the quality of
teacher preparation and practice rose steadily, along with
levels of student achievement.
Establish licensing reciprocity across states.
With more portable licenses, states that currently have
shortages can take advantage of the fact that 60,000 newly
prepared teachers each year do not find jobs in the states
where they prepared to teach, and many veteran teachers leave
the profession when they move because license incompatibilities
are too costly and time-consuming to overcome.
Grant a license to out-of-state entrants
who have earned national certification.
Create national recruitment initiatives, streamline hiring procedures, and develop online information
technologies. Several areas have organized local online
information systems for hiring. Candidates can gain access to
information about the specifics of vacancies over the Internet,
apply by e-mail, be interviewed by videoconference, have their
credentials evaluated by state and local officials, and receive
an answer from the district within days rather than months.
Districts that are able to recruit aggressively and to hire top
candidates quickly and professionally do not suffer shortages
experienced by districts only a few miles away.
Create service scholarship programs
to prepare high-ability candidates in fields where shortages
Expand teacher education programs
in high-need fields like special education, using targeted
incentives from federal and state governments to expand the
number of slots offered.
Create high-quality induction programs.
According to the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on
Education Policy (2001), some of the problem stems from the
distribution of shortages in certain areas. It suggests a few
promising approaches that would bring teachers to areas of
- Allowing teaching licenses to be transferable from state
- Expanding alternative routes to professional
- Modifying uniform salary schedules
- Offering incentives such as loan forgiveness and cash
- Providing more resources to teachers and schools
A survey sponsored by the Bernard Hodes Group and Advance
Newsmagazines titled "Talking to Talent/Allied Health Care
Voices: 2005 Speech-Language Pathologist & Audiologist
Survey" reports information that employers and professional
groups may find useful in their efforts to attract and retain
SLPs and audiologists. Here are some key findings that may be
useful when developing recruitment materials:
Top Reasons for Employment
- Work schedules, compensation, and growth
- Job satisfaction is a key component in recommending others
to a job opening by current employers.
- Loving their job and opportunities for advancement are
factors for recommending the profession to another.
- Love of the job, helping others, and the challenges the
profession offers are reasons that SLPs and audiologists would
enter the profession again.
The survey contains some key observations and recommendations
for retaining SLPs and audiologists based on the findings listed
above. These are:
- Supervisors need training in techniques that keep people
engaged, motivated, and performing at top levels
- Employers need to be open to flexible scheduling, job
sharing, and other alternative work plans.
- Compensation should meet or exceed competitive ranges.
- Career paths should be well defined using performance-based
promotions as an incentive for professional growth.
Some key observations and recommendations for marketing job
- Use techniques to encourage employee referrals such as
generous paid rewards for referrals.
- Use a multifaceted approach to recruitment including
employee referral, newspaper ads, the Internet, and a positive
presence in the community.
Deciphering Teacher Shortages
In an August, 2008 Teacher magazine article Dr. Jody Shelton,
the Executive Director of the American Association of School
Personnel Administrators, provides her perspective on teacher
shortages and solutions. Experts have long been forecasting major
teacher shortages, as more than a million educators from the baby
boomer generation near retirement and as student enrollments
grow. And yet, as many education job seekers know, teaching jobs
can be still be very hard to come by. What exactly is going on in
the teacher job market?
To get an answer to that question, we recently spoke to Dr.
Jody Shelton, the Executive Director of the American Association
of School Personnel Administrators, about factors contributing to
teacher shortages, what schools are doing to attract teachers,
and what job-seeking teachers can do to make themselves more
What factors do you attribute to teacher shortages across the
Different locales have different issues. Certain geographic
areas lack subject teachers-special education, science and math.
Science and math tend to attract people to the business sector.
When you look at special education you see the amount of
paperwork and involvement in the legal aspect of IEPs. That job
is such a tough one to accomplish. Other locations have a
difficult time being able to fill positions, including high-risk
at-needs urban areas. And teachers in the first five years tend
And yet, we're seeing a lot of emphasis both at the state
level and nationally in promoting and providing mentoring
programs that offer a high degree of support. People are finding
this effective. The statistics reflect an improvement in teacher
retention. From a human resources perspective, there's always
frustration in relation to all the certification issues that are
out there. I don't necessarily hear our membership talking
about one certification for everyone across the country, but
there sure is interest in more portability for teacher licensure.
So if a high-quality teacher meets the qualifications for
certification in that one state, they should be able to be
certified in another state. That's one of the frustrations I
hear from our members, that the certification levels are
different, so different in every state.
What measures are being taken to address teacher
You see a lot of new incentives in recruiting and hiring
teachers to get them on board. There are grow-your-own
certification programs, incentives to stay in the classroom,
signing bonuses, moving expenses. The community may be allowing
teachers to have low-cost housing. And then what you're
seeing is a great deal of support for that new teacher. You see
mentoring and induction programs and teachers being assured that
their assignment is appropriate for a first-year teacher.
There's also professional development. When school districts
are looking for those star teachers, they offer a lot of customer
service to those applicants to attract them.
Have such measures been effective?
We're seeing a lot of emphasis both at the state level and
nationally in promoting and providing mentoring programs that
offer a high degree of support. People are finding this
effective. And you see statistics related to the improvement of
teacher retention. Some statistics show 85 to 90 percent
retention rates as a result of all recruiting measures.
How do you explain the fact that qualified teachers are
having difficulty finding jobs despite nation-wide teacher
Sometimes teachers are unwilling to broaden their horizons.
They say, "I want to go to this particular city and this
particular school," and are unable to get a job. Some want
to go into fields where there are always teachers. They are
always going to be 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers. But
when you're looking for kindergarten, 1st, and 6th grade
teachers, there aren't as many. You also have to look at
specific certification. Is it their experience? Is it their
qualifications? There so many new alternatives out there like
Teach for America and all kinds of programs to help people get
certified. But it's not an easy process. And again, it varies
What advice do you have for teacher candidates who are having
a difficult time finding a position?
Be sure that you have a broad search and be
willing to go where the position exists. Secondly, if there's
an area where you're interested but the job doesn't seem
to be available, try to substitute or work as a para-teacher aide
in the school or district. If they're watching you, then
they'll want you to fill any future teaching positions.
I would also tell teachers to look at their own
teaching credentials. You need to be marketable, which means the
more areas you're qualified to teach, the more likely you are
to get that position. If you're at the secondary level and
getting certified in science, make sure it's broad science
and not too narrow. Here in Kansas, we have a university program
requiring that assignments be in elementary schools and in high
schools so teacher candidates are more marketable across the
I think you have to get your foot in the door.
People are not only looking for highly qualified teachers but
high-quality teachers. So you've got to be good. And getting
as much experience as possible is the way to do that.
Desperately seeking special education teachers: U.S. school
districts seek qualified special educators. Offering supportive
principals, strong mentoring programs and inclusive training
in the publication
This article highlights strategies used by school administrators
to attract and retain special education teachers and related