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General Science and Engineering Indicators
R&D Investment Patterns
S&E Workforce Development
Knowledge Output

Selected Education Indicators
High School Completion Patterns
High School Teachers
Teaching Vacancies at U.S. Public Secondary Schools
Median Annual Salaries of Teachers and Selected Other Professionals
Higher Education Enrollments

Selected Global Marketplace Indicators


In academic year 2003-04, about 59% of the public secondary schools in the United States reported vacancies in mathematics teaching positions, and of these nearly one-third said that they found it "very difficult to" or "could not" fill those vacancies.

Why is this indicator important?

  • The teaching workforce plays a critical role in preparing graduates for careers in an increasingly technological labor market.
  • Teacher vacancies in S&E fields may indicate that students will not receive adequate motivation and training to join the S&E workforce later on.

Key Observations

  • About 80% of public secondary schools reported teaching vacancies (i.e., teaching positions needing to be filled) in one or more fields in academic year 2003.
    • Among these schools, 74% had vacant positions in mathematics and 52-56% had vacant positions in biology/life sciences and physical sciences.
    • About one-third of public secondary schools with vacancies in mathematics or physical sciences reported great difficulty in finding teachers to fill openings in these fields, whereas 22% of schools reported that this was the case in biology/life sciences.

Related Discussion

  • Current research suggests that in recent years hiring difficulty was primarily caused by large numbers of teachers leaving the profession before regular retirement age (SEI 2008 Chapter 1).
  • Teacher shortages occurred more frequently in certain states where the population grew fast because of immigration and/or high rates of childbirth (e.g., CA, TX, and FL) (in certain fields, and in high-poverty areas) (SEI 2008 Chapter 1).