Dr. Hans A. Andrews and Dr. Greg Rockhold

Dr. Hans Andrews is a Distinguished Fellow in Community College Leadership through Olney Central College (Illinois). He is a former president of the college. He started the first dual-credit program in the country between community colleges and secondary schools. He authored the book The Dual-Credit Phenomenon! Challenging Secondary School Students across 50 States.

Dr. Greg Rockhold has served on the National Association of Secondary School Principals board, as president of the New Mexico Coalition of School Administrators, and executive director of the New Mexico Association of Secondary School Principals.


While researching the severe teacher shortages in the United States (U.S.), we found numerous citations of such shortages throughout other countries.  Our focus over the past couple of years has been to show how the nearly 1,200 American community colleges could provide a significant part of the answer to the national shortages. Shortages are near a crisis state.

United States – By 2025, the forecast is that there will be nearly 225,000 teacher vacancies. 

A 2022 Learning Policy Institute report listed states reporting teacher shortages.  They also noted that those employed but not teaching in assignments were certified.  The 47 states that reported listed 286,200 teachers that were not licensed.  In the 21 states reporting teacher shortages, the number was 27,844.  They projected that these totals would reach 314,134 if all states had reported.

The following states provide a sampling of what shortages look like at this time:

Georgia: 3,112
Florida: 3,911
New Mexico 1,046
Florida: 3,911
North Carolina: 3,218
Arizona: 1,729
Oklahoma 4,000+
Virginia: 2,815
Washington 4,880
Oregon 4,653
Michigan 1,228
Montana 1,000+

Teachers in states that were not fully certified:

California 27,475
Florida 22,538
Washington 4,880
Michigan 5,936
Virginia 11,212
Texas 25,300  (Franco & Patrick, 2023)

Leading into the 2023-2024 school year, USA TODAY reported that 9 out of 10 K-12 schools in the country were still struggling to find teachers.  The National Center initially reported this for Education Statistics.  Many certified teachers who could have been available had indicated that low salaries kept them from applying (Schermele, Z, 2023).

Countries around the world

Teacher shortages are at a crisis or near crisis in many other countries and the U.S.    One report in late 2023 by UNESCO identified the additional teachers needed worldwide by 2030 at 44 million (Ahmad, A.).

Here are a few countries where shortages have been reported over the past few years:

Australia: In New South Wales, 87% of public schools reported shortages. The rural and more remote areas throughout Australia have been hit the hardest.

England:  A survey by the England Department of Education found in 2021-2122 that 9% of the education workforce had left their state schools.  This number was reported at nearly 40,000—an additional 4,000+ retired.  The 2,300 unfilled teaching positions were up from 530 one decade earlier. Supply teachers were utilized to fill classes (Adams, R., 2023).

Laos:  School districts are short enough on teachers to rely on many volunteers.  Numerous schools have closed, while others have merged to stay open.

Germany, Hungary, Poland, Austria, and France: More than 80,000 teaching unfilled teaching positions were reported in 2022.  This was considered a staffing disaster.  Teacher unions say high-quality instruction will be ‘eroded’ (Shehnaz, M., 2022).

Very similar to the teaching situation in the U.S., the concerns of teachers leaving the profession or retiring early in these countries and others the following concerns were expressed:

  • Increasing workloads
  • Difficult working conditions
  • Low salaries
  • A decrease in prestige for the teaching profession
  • Less potential graduates entering the field

The World Teachers’ Day in 2023 they have emphasized the need to move to reverse these shortages.  They expressed the need to have once again the teaching profession recognized as a ‘dignified’ and ‘valued’ profession.  They aimed to have these reversals in place by 2030 (Jack & Cocco (2022).

Community – technical colleges – where are they and how they might fit in

There are close to 1,200 community – technical colleges in the United States.  Some 1,050 are public community colleges.  Strong consideration is given to bringing many of them as a new ‘pipeline’ for preparing baccalaureate degree teachers.

The state of Florida has led the way, with a significant number of its community colleges now offering baccalaureate degrees in teaching areas most in need.  Only a few other states have offered a limited number of these programs, primarily for preschool teachers.

Other states have legislative bodies review how their community and technical colleges might be utilized.  Two major concerns in many states are teacher shortages and the shrinking number of students entering university programs during the last decade.

Growth of community – -technical colleges in other countries

The American model of community – technical colleges has been studied and adopted in similar forms in many other countries.  Some of the things present in these colleges that appealed most to these countries were (1) open enrollments, (2) technical training, (3) ties to the local businesses, (4) adult education, and (5) their ability to help in countering the socio-economic differences and inequities within their populations. More of these countries are now moving toward allowing their students to transfer to four-year institutions.

Many countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, South Africa, Ethiopia, India, Jordan, Japan, Colombia, Qatar, and China, have initiated approving and offering similar community-technical college programs as in the U.S.

Australia’s Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system is similar to the system in the U.S.  India 2010 had enrolled 54,519 students, Jordan 20,000, and Thailand 13,000 in their programs.  These countries offer short-term programs with less than degrees (Dembicki, M. (2021).

Advantages of community–technical colleges as an essential new pipeline

Countries across the world are in a crisis in terms of teacher shortages.  In the U.S., the university system has dropped nearly 50% of students enrolling in teacher baccalaureate degree programs in the past decade.  It is also well known that many students who enroll do not stay the course and complete the programs.  Some change their educational program majors and drop out along the way.

There are several significant advantages in the U.S.  for utilizing community – technical colleges to prepare baccalaureate degree teachers at this time:

  • Location: Students can live at home and reduce travel expenditures and on-campus living. This option benefits students who work and have families.
  • Costs: Tuition and fees for community-technical colleges averaged $3,990 in 2023-2024 for public community colleges.  Financial aid, tuition waivers, and free tuition are options in many of these colleges.
  • Cost Comparison: Full-time student tuition and fees at the public four-year colleges and universities averaged $11,260 in 2023-2024.
  • Costs Borrowing: In 2019-20, 67% of U.S. community college students did not borrow money to attend college programs/courses. This is compared with 39% of public four-year baccalaureate degree students and 9% of for-profit college students who did not borrow funds to attend college.
  • Age: Students of all ages attend the community – technical colleges. 
  • Diverse Student Body: Community–technical colleges are found throughout the U.S. in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Their diverse student body matches the needs of K-12 school districts, which direly need a more diverse teaching staff to reflect the students in their
  • Family Situations: Community–technical college graduates are far more likely to remain in their home district once they graduate with a certificate, associate degree, and a baccalaureate degree completed at their local community college (Dembicki, 2023)

Roadblocks to overcome

Legislation needed: In the U.S. and most other countries, educational legislation is needed to allow community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in education. However, the process has proven slow even after legislation has received approval. Legislatures must pressure their state’s higher education commissioners to increase classroom teachers through this new and vital process.

University and four-year college resistance: Even with a nearly 50% drop in the number of new teachers being prepared by baccalaureate-granting institutions, resistance will come from those colleges and universities that have been the primary source of teacher preparation for many years.

There is also a reality that U.S. institutions in many places in the country are not preparing students to transition successfully to the classroom.  This means that school districts often end up with licensed teachers lacking the pedagogy skills they need to succeed.  This has led to nearly 50% of these new teachers leaving the profession before or after three years.

State and local school boards and community college trustees:  The process of allowing baccalaureate teachers to be prepared by the community–technical colleges first will need cooperation from K-12 and community college governing boards and administrators.  These two large segments of education in each state and country can provide a force to convince state and national governmental leaders that they need to provide supportive legislation.

Local school boards must ensure a fully degreed, licensed teacher is in every classroom. These same boards must also have a professional relationship with their superintendents so that new faculty are mentored by seasoned teachers, which will increase success and retention.

State and regional area accrediting agency approval: The U.S. and numerous other countries rely on accrediting agencies to review new proposals that will change the roles of both K-12 and community colleges.  Allowing community – technical colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in education is a ‘new proposal’ that needs approval.

Summary comments

This article has focused on teacher shortages in countries with community colleges or similar colleges. Although each country’s community colleges are similar in numerous ways, they have their programs and processes.

The authors feel that the crisis or near crisis of teacher shortages in the U.S. and other countries needs to find a new pipeline to produce baccalaureate-degree teachers. Each country must decide how this might be accomplished for its K-12 school systems. Millions of students currently without a qualified and certified teacher should not have to continue to wait for the possibility of such a teacher. Time is not our friend!

References used for this article

Adams, R.  (2023, June 8).  Record numbers of teachers in England quitting the profession.  Retrieved February 7, 2024, at Record numbers of teachers in England quitting the profession, figures show | Teacher shortages | The Guardian

Ahmad, A.  (2023, Oct.)  The world needs 44 million more teachers in order to educate every child.  Retrieved January 6, 2024, at World needs 44m more teachers in order to educate every child, report finds | Global development | The Guardian

Dembicki, M.  (2023, Nov. 1).  Two-thirds of two-year grads do not borrow.  Retrieved February 19, 2024, at Two-thirds of two-year grads do not borrow – Community College Daily (ccdaily.com)

Dembicki, M.  ( 2021, Oct. 29).  Growing interest in community colleges spreads internationally.  Community College Times.  Retrieved February 17, 2024, at Growing Interest in Community Colleges Spreads Internationally (studyusa.com)

Franco, M. & Patrick (2023, July 27).  State Teacher Shortages:  Teaching Positions Left Vacant or Filled by Teachers Without Full Certification.  Learning Policy Institute.  Retrieved February 8, 2024 at  http://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/state-reacher-shortages-vacancy

International Task Force.  (2023, Oct. 5).  International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030.  UNESCO.  Retrieved February 18, 2024, at International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030: Strategic Plan 2018-2021 – UNESCO Digital Library

Rock, A., (2024). Feb. 5).  Teacher shortages by State and How Schools are Trying to Fix the Problem.  Retrieved February 12, 2024, at Teacher Shortages by State and How Schools Are Trying to Fix the Problem – Campus Safety (campussafetymagazine.com)

Schermele, Z.  (2023, Oct. 17).  Teacher shortages continue to plague the US:  86% of public schools struggle to hire educators.  Retrieved November 14, 2023, at Teacher shortages sweep nation as 86% of schools struggle with hiring (usatoday.com)

Jack, A. & Cocco, F.  (2022, Sept.  2).  Wanted: tens of hundreds of academics to workers Europe’s faculties.   Financial Times, London.  Retrieved January 28, 2024, at Wanted: tens of thousands of teachers to staff Europe’s schools

Wurman, L.  (2023, Oct. 25).  Explosion of Uncertified New Teachers Filling Shortages.  Dallas Morning News.  Retrieved January 25, 2024 at https://www.tasb.org/Services/HRX/Home.aspx

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