The timing couldn’t be any better for individuals considering a career in education in Nevada.
Earlier this year, Nevada declared an emergency teacher shortage, allowing teachers licensed in other states to receive provisional licenses to immediately start instruction in the Silver State.
“We started this year with about 23 teaching vacancies that we didn’t fill, and those classes were started with substitute teachers,” said Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes. “It’s the first time in my time here in Carson City that we’ve had that number of vacancies in K-12 starting the school year. And this is not just a local issue; it seems to be happening all over the country.”
Western Nevada College Education Professor Michelle Rousselle said the current teacher shortage provides Education students with opportunities students might not find in other fields.
WNC has taken measures to help students interested in pursuing an education degree. To accommodate students living in rural Nevada in completing their bachelor’s in education, WNC’s partnership with Nevada State College School of Education provides distance education technology. Students who complete their AA degree at WNC can transfer to NSC, and won’t need to move to Henderson to complete their bachelor’s. They will be able to take their courses via live simulcast at WNC locations and online, preparing them for certification and licensing to teach in K-8.
“As a teacher you feel like you are making a contribution to society and helping a person’s life,” said Dr. Rousselle, who began teaching at the college in 1998. “Teaching has many benefits and a lot of job stability.”
Students can earn an Associate of Arts degree, focusing on Teacher Education Preparation, through two years of training at WNC. This training prepares students to gain a substitute teaching license or meet requirements for paraprofessionals needing to qualify under federal legislation.
By investing two more years in a four-year college and earning a bachelor’s in elementary education, students are prepared to become certified and licensed by the state as a full-time teacher.
“At this point and time, one of the highest priorities for the entire state of Nevada is teacher education programs,” said Deborah Walker, a Northern Nevada field supervisor and recruiter for NSC’s School of Education. “The shortage of teachers has made this even more important to Nevada State College and we are very excited to provide this opportunity for the Northern Nevada area, in conjunction with Western Nevada College.”
Walker said the teaching shortage in the state is attributed to several reasons, including many baby boomer teachers retiring in conjunction with fewer students entering the profession. Compounding the issue is the growth in student population and projected high rate of growth in the future, she said.
The employment outlook, benefit packages and the opportunity to impact so many lives provide education students with solid reasons to enter the field.
“Individuals entering the field want to teach because of the love for teaching, but they also enjoy the benefits, such as being near their children, having the same hours and holidays as their children, and having summers with their families,” Walker said.
WNC’s Teacher Education Preparation program also readies students to transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno to complete their bachelor’s and certification in elementary education, special education or secondary education. This prepares them to affect many lives in the future and provides them opportunities to teach in a familiar environment.
“I like the fact that students start at WNC, get their credential and come back here and go to work,” Stokes said. “This is home, and if they are products of the local education system, the chances are that they are going to work and live here. This likely means more long-term employees for the district and gives us a sense of security.”
WNC offers education classes including Introduction to Elementary Education, Introduction to Secondary Education, Introduction to Special Education, Information Technology in Teaching, Classroom Learning Environments, Exploration of Children’s Literature, Students with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds, Exploring Teaching and Learning Practicum, Nevada School Law and Preparing Teachers to Use Technology.
“Currently, we are also working together with WNC to build a secondary education program, especially in the field of math and science,” Walker said.
For more information, call 775-445-4272, or go to www.wnc.edu/academics/edu/ and www.wnc.edu/degrees/cl-te/. To learn more about NSC’s bachelor program in education, contact Deborah Walker at 210-392-6423 or Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org.