Illinois ranked fourth-best state for teachers
Trinity CommunicationsOctober 05, 2018
In a study that considered 22 key statistical indicators, WalletHub, a Washington, D.C.-based financial company, has ranked Illinois as the fourth-best state for teachers.
The study found that Illinois trailed only Michigan among the 50 states in the category “Highest annual salaries adjusted for cost of living” and also ranked second nationally in the dimension “Opportunity and competition,” a series of categories which measures competitive salaries and job security.
Among the best 50-state rankings for Illinois: average starting salary for teachers ($39,938 ranks 11th), average salary for teachers ($66,803 ranks second), teacher tenure protections (ranks sixth), presence of teacher-effectiveness requirement (first) and teacher safety (ninth).
The high overall ranking comes as many college-bound high school graduates, including students interested in teaching careers, are leaving Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reported 46 percent of high school graduates left the state in 2016, compared to about 30 percent in 2002.
Students interested in preparing for careers in classroom teaching also should note Illinois faces a serious teacher shortage that appears to be worsening.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, 1,401 teaching positions in public high schools went unfilled during the 2018 school year due to a lack of qualified applicants. Add openings for administrators and other licensed staff and the total number of unfilled positions exceeds 3,000. More than half of those positions are in Cook and Lake counties.
Trinity International University’s division of education offers 12 degree programs: 10 Bachelor of Arts programs in elementary and secondary education, a Master of Arts in Teaching which leads to initial teacher licensure, and a Master of Education for practicing teachers.
TIU works in partnership with Illinois school districts that present excellent opportunities for student teachers, according to associate professor of education Laurie Matthias. Those districts provide for high quality field work throughout the licensure programs, culminating in the clinical practice (student teaching) experience.
“Many schools are nationally recognized for their academic programs,” Matthias said, “and all placements are made with seasoned mentor teachers.”
But Matthias adds that Trinity also works closely with nearby under-resourced schools to provide a wide range of student teaching experiences.
Graduates in high demand include those who earn an endorsement in special education (Learning Behavior Specialist 1). Trinity trains students to attain that certification.
“Students today are rightly concerned about getting jobs after graduation,” professor of education and division director Karen Wrobbel said. “With a nationwide teacher shortage, education offers qualified candidates a path to a meaningful and stable career where they can have a significant impact on the lives of their students every day.”