Licensing rules contribute to teacher shortages

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2022 | General Education Law

In Florida, as well as other states, there is a perennial shortage of teachers available to work at schools, especially small schools. One of the biggest problems is that the process for a teacher to get a license is incredibly long and complex, leading to extensive delays and barriers.

Teaching Licenses

Teachers may graduate with a degree, but that is not enough for them to officially teach at an accredited school. They need to obtain a license for their state, and while this varies by state, the process is quite involved. Not only does the applicant need to pass a test, but they also have to go through background checks, submit paperwork to be reviewed, and complete other administrative tasks. These can all take a long time to accomplish, so even when there is a teacher who has passed the test and has all the required education, they might be stuck waiting for their license.

This can pose a real problem for schools. They can employ teachers who are not yet licensed. However, this can get them in trouble with the state and they could be fined, lose accreditation, or face other penalties. If they choose to wait and only hire teachers with a license, then they are likely to be chronically understaffed. Since many schools already run below the optimal capacity for teachers, this just makes the existing shortage even worse.

The problem is worse for rural and small schools, which already have problems attracting teachers. It can put them in the hard position of hiring unlicensed teachers or being severely understaffed for years at a time.