Nevada, Washoe County Facing Teacher Shortages

Jul 5, 2016

Credit Julia Ritchey

The Washoe County School District is looking to hire more than 150 teachers before school starts next month. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

School districts across Nevada are once again dealing with what's become a chronic teacher shortage.

Emily Ellison is with the district. She says while the numbers sound scary, they're actually an improvement from this time last year, when there were nearly 200 vacancies.

“We really do the bulk of our hiring between April and July of each year," she says, "whereas a lot of businesses and organizations are able to spread that out over the year."

Ellison says the biggest need is for special education teachers, and the challenge overall is finding enough people going into the teaching profession.

"Teacher prep programs have been declining year-over-year for the last several years," she says, "while demand has stayed the same and even increased in some areas.”

To address the issue, Ellison says the district is working with local colleges, offering new hire incentives and has an alternative route to licensure program, in which people who have degrees in other areas can get their teacher certification without getting another bachelor's.

While the teacher shortage is improving, its effects are still felt across the state. The Clark County School District in Southern Nevada has 525 open teacher positions to fill.

Edit: A previous version of this story said that people going through the district's alternative route to licensure program did not have to go back to school. The story has been updated to say that they do not have to go through another bachelor's program.