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Why Be a Teacher?

Make a difference in the lives of children and your community. YOU can influence the next generation and change the future. EKU has programs for elementary, middle, high school, and special education teachers, speech pathologist assistants, and ASL interpreters at the undergraduate (bachelor’s degree) level.

Jobs for teachers exist in every city, county, state, and nation! You can teach anywhere! The Kentucky certification you earn in a degree at EKU will transfer to any state.

The world will ALWAYS need teachers, ASL interpreters, principals, counselors, speech pathologists! And the demand for is growing. In Kentucky and across the nation, shortages are growing in almost every certification area for certified teachers.

Teachers are always learning while they teach. And you earn pay increases with graduate education and professional development credits. EKU has graduate programs for teachers, principals, counselors, and speech pathologists.

Teaching is NEVER dull! Every day and every year is different.

School holidays are typically longer than holidays in other jobs. Summer vacation allows you to continue your education, spend time with family, take vacations, or do side-jobs.

Various statistics about teachers and how they rank their lives
EKU’s College of Education has been preparing educators since 1906. Our programs are nationally accredited. That means groups of state and national experts have evaluated and approved our programs for quality. Our students learn current strategies and content in the college classroom and get extensive real-world experience in schools and other agencies.

Learn more about…

Teaching: An In-Demand Profession

The Problem:

  • Nearly half of STEM majors have an interest in becoming a teacher.
  • Yet, our nation has a severe shortage of math and science teachers.
  • Research shows that faculty and students have deeply held but often misinformed perceptions about the teaching profession.

Why the Shortage?

The teacher shortage is occurring because of supply and demand; the supply of available and qualified teachers can’t meet the demand for certified teachers in math and science, and there are fewer quality applicants than there are open positions (study from the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability). There is a national shortage of middle and high school math and science teachers. The need is even greater in school districts across Kentucky, especially in EKU’s service region of eastern Kentucky. Getting your degree in teaching, especially middle and high school math and science teaching, virtually guarantees you job placement in Kentucky upon graduation.

Demand is HIGH!

In Kentucky

The United States Department of Education (USDE) designated 113 Kentucky school districts and area technology centers as math/science teacher shortage areas during the 2018–2019 school year. Simply put – there are fewer quality applicants than there are open positions.


Physics, chemistry, and math teachers are in the top five highest shortage areas in our nation, according to a the 2018 American Association of Employment in Education Educator Supply and Demand in the United States Report.
Spec. Ed. – Severe/Profound Disability 4.68  |  Spec. Ed. – Visually Impaired 4.64
Physics 4.51  |  Mathematics 4.39  |  Chemistry 4.37




Each dot on this graph represents a teaching profession with (M) Math, (C) Chemistry, and (P) Physics highlighted in red.

Graph detailing the supply and demand for educators

The Benefits of Teaching

Teach anywhere – Jobs for teachers exist in every city, county, state, and nation! The Kentucky certification you earn in a degree at EKU will transfer to any state.

Job security – The world will ALWAYS need teachers, and the demand for them is growing.

Longer vacations – School holidays are typically longer than other jobs. Summer vacation allows you to continue your education, spend time with family, take vacations, or do side-jobs.

Retire young – You can retire from a teaching profession at less than 60 years-old with a pension and health insurance. And, most teaching jobs have better retirement benefits than other jobs you can get with the same degree.

Salaries are COMPETITIVE – Mid-career salaries in Kentucky can be as high as $70,000+ and average about $54,000.

Additional opportunities for income – There are numerous opportunities for K-12 teachers to earn supplemental income. Unlike college professors, K-12 teachers get additional pay for activities outside their core teaching assignment. Teachers report earning between $2K to $15K per year for serving as a club sponsor (drama, science, NHS, etc.) or coach (baseball, cross country, etc.), or providing tutoring. And in the summer, teachers may choose to get a summer ‘educational’ job – like taking students on guided tours of museums, zoos, and natural areas.

High school math/science teachers – You get a degree in your content area (math or science) PLUS a teaching certification. You only need to take XX hours of credit to earn your teaching certification in addition to your major. You also get advisors in both the College of Science and College of Education. That’s double the support to help you through your programs!





Grade 7-12 science and math teachers get paid more than most college teaching faculty. In the first year, middle and high school teachers and teaching faculty at colleges make similar salaries. In year 15, teachers have received regular pay increases outpacing the typical teaching faculty.

TR vs Professor salary graph

Did you know…

  • Teachers in the United States rate their lives better than all other occupation groups, trailing only physicians.
  • The 2020 average Kentucky teacher salary is $54,372
  • Starting pay regionally ~$37K (9 month, base salary)
  • Mid-career pay regionally $52K – $64K (9 month, base salary)
  • Retire < 60 years-old w/ pension and health insurance
  • There are student loan forgiveness programs and scholarships for math and science teachers.





Tyra talks about her dream job teaching 7th grade science, her time in the education program at EKU, and how the faculty and classes gave her the skills and prepared her for her own classroom.

Teaching might be the degree for me! What do I do Next?

Current EKU Students

If you are a current EKU undergraduate student and want to add a teaching certification to your degree, contact one of the faculty members listed below. They will help guide you through the process and requirements and answer any questions you may have.

Interested in teaching math?

Dr. Jamie-Marie Miller
Assistant Professor
Combs 103

Dr. Brooke Mullins
Assistant Professor
Combs 102

Interested in teaching science?

Scott Townsend
Associate Professor
New Science 3115

College of Education and Applied Human Sciences

521 Lancaster Avenue
Bert Combs 420
Richmond, KY 40475
Phone: 859-622-1175

Connect with CEAHS @ EKU