What is the Employment Outlook for Teachers in the Midwest?

Teaching is an always-in-demand profession, even more so with news of teacher shortages being reported every year. Teacher shortages generally exist due to turnover that is higher than the number of job-seekers, not due to rapidly increasing enrollment in schools. Despite high teacher turnover in some regions, the employment outlook for teachers is stable, and a college degree in teaching is a good investment for those deciding what to study in college.

Turnover Makes Room for New Teachers

According to the Learning Policy Institute, teacher turnover is highest in the Southern region of the United States in urban and rural areas and lowest in the Northeast. Turnover in the Midwest is second highest in urban and suburban areas, and third highest in small towns and rural areas. If turnover is an indication of teacher job satisfaction, the happiest teachers appear to be in the Northeast, followed by the Midwest.

Recommended resource: 5 Great Master’s Degrees for Teachers


The National Center for Education Statistics projects enrollment in Midwestern schools on average will remain essentially unchanged between 2011 and 2022, dropping from 10.8 million to 10.7 million. Approximately seven states show an increase in enrollment, and seven states show a drop, creating a break-even average.

Projected National Increases

The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data on current trends and uses them to project future job growth. States in the Midwest generally appear to fall near the national average in terms of teacher turnover and enrollment, with some minor variations in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois, who are projecting slower growth in student enrollment.

Growth and wages across different grade levels are similar. Students contemplating careers in education and professionals who are considering becoming career changers may consider:

  • Elementary teaching positions are expected to increase 7.4% between 2016 and 2026, creating 112,800 projected job openings. Their median wage is currently $55,800 per year.
  • Middle School teaching positions are expected to increase 7.5% between 2016 and 2026, creating 50,500 projected job openings. Their median annual wage is currently $56,720.
  • High School teaching positions are projected to grow by 7.5% between 2016 and 2026, creating 79,500 projected job openings. Their current median annual wage is $58,030.
  • Special Education is an in-demand K-12 certification that is projected by the BLS to increase in step with the national averages. Special education will see increases of around 7.2 percent across grade levels, translating to 32,600 additional positions.

Teacher Shortages Create Opportunity

The Washington Post reported that every single state began the 2017-18 school year with teacher shortages. The full data set from the U.S. Department of Education shows that the Midwest is not disproportionately affected by the national teacher shortage. As of 2017, Education Week reports that states in the Midwest have some of the lowest average teacher salaries. The laws of supply and demand indicate that teacher salaries will be increasing with an increasingly serious teacher shortage, which will benefit teachers in states where salaries have been somewhat stagnant.

Overall national trends show a positive employment outlook for teachers in the Midwest. A national average increase in enrollment may not affect Midwestern schools as much as it will in other regions, but teacher turnover will continue to make staff shortages a reality, and potentially drive up salaries.