GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Less than half of all new teachers who graduated from college between Sept. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2012, had teaching jobs in 2013-14, a new report by the state Department of Education shows.
Statewide, 4,775 of 10,255 newly licensed teachers were employed, about 47 percent, according to the state’s first Education Preparation Provider, or EPP, annual report. The report also shows that having more than one specialty, or specializing in a high-demand field such as special education or science, can improve job prospects.
The EPP report includes statewide data and individual reports for every college in New Jersey that offers a teacher-education program.
Richard Stockton College Dean of Education Claudine Keenan said the information is valuable in planning programs and showing students which endorsements are most helpful for getting jobs.
“Then we can encourage teacher candidates to pursue those fields,” she said, adding a 47 percent job placement rate is not ideal.
Stockton’s placement rate was better than the state average in most fields. Middle school math teachers had the greatest success with 69 percent of Stockton graduates getting jobs, compared with 60 percent statewide.
Data show getting multiple endorsements, including special and bilingual education, will make a teacher more marketable. Statewide, only 44 percent of teachers with just one content endorsement had jobs, compared with 51 percent with two endorsements.
Teachers in shortage areas including math, science, bilingual education and special education had a 57 percent employment rate. Teachers certified to teach math and biology had an almost 70 percent employment rate. But public preschool through grade 3 teachers had just a 37 percent employment rate, likely because not every district offers preschool.
Stockton hosted its annual teacher’s job fair on Wednesday and based on the number of districts participating, the local job market still is not great. Twenty-six school schools or programs registered to attend, but 10 did not show up. This year the college also recruited groups such as job-search site NJSchoolJobs, and summer camp programs.
Many districts that participated had only a few openings in specialized areas. Recent classified ads in The Press of Atlantic City show that some districts are hiring, but typically for specialized positions.
James Bruffy, Human Resources Manager in the K-8 Galloway Township School District, said his only openings are for a social worker, assistant principal and English as a Second Language teacher.
“I can go to the Web and see hundreds of elementary-school applications,” he said. “But I have no openings this year.”
Elementary-school positions are in short supply, and those available also require a second specialization. Atlantic City advertised four elementary positions; requiring a second specialization in math, science or language arts.
Katie Sheeran, 31, of Absecon, graduated from Stockton this month after leaving a career in business. She wants to be an elementary school teacher and plans to return to Stockton in the fall to add a special education endorsement to become more marketable.
“A lot of schools are using inclusion models,” she said of classes that include both regular and special-education students.
Angela Ianello, 23, of Linwood, also hopes to teach elementary school, and she’s adding a special education endorsement. She also took the standardized Praxis test for language arts, and if she passes can get that endorsement as well.
Parin Udani, 30, of Linwood, graduated from Stockton ready to teach social studies, but he hopes he can market skills from his previous career — in film and television production — into a job.
He said he realized how competitive the job market is about halfway through his program at Stockton, so he is open to positions in middle school and high school.
“I’m trying to be optimistic,” he said.
One option might be the Atlantic County Institute of Technology, which has been expanding and has job openings in most content areas, including English, math, science, social studies, health and physical education, plus a TV/Film class. The LEAP Charter School in Camden is also expanding and has job openings, but not all prospective teachers want to travel that far.
Gregory E. Brennan, business administrator for the Green Brook Township school in Somerset County, said they have no openings right now, but he traveled to Stockton because they are always looking for good, young teachers.
“We keep resumes on file because openings do happen,” he said.
Another option is to work as a substitute teacher, especially in a long-term or maternity leave position. A lower-paying paraprofessional job can provide experience in classroom teaching, if the person takes the initiative to show what they can do.
Joetta Surace, director of human resources in the Egg Harbor Township School District, said the school often considers substitutes first to fill an open position. Aides in special-education classes have been hired as teachers.
“We know what they can do,” she said. “It does help.”
But getting a job is no guarantee of keeping it. The report shows that 20 percent of teachers who got jobs in 2012-13 did not return to teaching in 2013-14.
Contact Diane D'Amico: