Athens, Ga. – Advances in the economy are translating into more in-state opportunities for teachers graduating from the University of Georgia, according to numbers recently released by the UGA College of Education.
Among graduates in 2014 with a teacher-preparation degree, 62 percent, or 325 graduates, were hired by a Georgia city or county school district, reports the College of Education’s Office of Student Services. This is an 11 percent increase from 2013, when 51 percent of new teachers took jobs in Georgia’s schools.
The data was collected by exit surveys of last year’s graduates of the College of Education, with 71 percent responding. Data on 2015 graduates will be released in spring 2016.
The increase partly reflects an overall improvement in the economy and new school construction-the Georgia Department of Education reports 45 new schools have been constructed since 2013, with Gwinnett and Forsyth counties in particular primarily building as a result of population growth. But also, the increase reflects the ability of graduates to lead their own classroom after graduation.
“School districts recognize the preparedness of our graduates and actively recruit them to their school districts,” said Jack Parish, the College of Education’s associate dean for outreach and engagement. He cited a recent uptick of employers attending the college’s annual career fair. “Our teacher candidates leave the programs classroom-ready and prepared to work in schools throughout Georgia.”
Last year’s graduating class worked in nearly half of Georgia’s 159 counties. Among school districts, Gwinnett County hired the largest number of first-year teachers-75-while Fulton and Clarke counties each hired 34 new teachers, the second-largest amount.
The survey does not include graduates who are employed by private schools or moved out of state.
Overall, of the 1,234 College of Education graduates in 2014, the UGA Career Center’s most recent Career Outcomes survey reports that nearly all had some type of employment after graduation. Seventy-two percent reported they were working full time, while 12 percent went on to graduate school. Another 12 percent are either working in an internship, are working part time or are self-employed (the survey had a 71 percent response rate).
Each year, the UGA College of Education has around 4,300 students enrolled, both undergraduates and graduates.