How Many Teachers Are There in the USA? (and more Statistics 2024)

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This review will be unlike any other review because it will be a thrilling ride through the education statistics of 2024. Together, we will unravel the mysteries behind one of the most fundamental questions: How many teachers are there in the good ol’ US of A (my way of saying the United States of America)?

But wait, we’re still there. We will also explore and be astounded as we dive deeper into the fabulous sea of education statistics, exploring everything from the average teacher salary to the highest levels of academic attainment.

So, buckle up and prepare for an exhilarating journey through the numbers that shape our nation’s classrooms!

How Many Teachers Are There in the USA?

Leading Statistics on Teachers in the US

  • Over 3.8 million teachers are currently employed in the U.S., and 51% of K-12 teachers in public and private schools have completed their master’s degree.
  • 83% of students say a teacher has uplifted their confidence and self-esteem.
  • Good teachers are likelier to send their students to college and enhance their class’s estimated lifetime income by $250,000.
  • Around 75% of teachers are women. (Remaining 25% are men)
  • 68.8% of teachers in the US are white.
  • 12.9% of teachers (less than white) are Hispanic or Latino.
  • 10% of teachers in the US are of African-American Heritage.
  • The average teacher has around 15 years of teaching experience.
  • Over 75% of states constantly face a teacher shortage.
  • The teacher demand will outpace the supply by over 100,000 by 2025.
  • Public school teachers in the U.S. earn an average annual salary of $65,090.
  • Public school teachers earn, on average, 30% higher salaries (that is a plus) than private school teachers.
  • 96% of teachers believe (after COVID-19) that technology has positively impacted student participation.
  • 73% of teachers reported using technology makes teaching and learning easier.

Source: 240 Tutoring

How Many Teachers Are There in the US? 

  • In 2021, about 483,000 teachers worked in private elementary and secondary schools, and 3.21 million teachers worked in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States.
  • It was predicted that by 2031, there would be 487,000 private elementary and secondary teachers and 3.19 million public school teachers.
    Source: Statista
  • During the 2020–21 school year, 3.5 million educators were teaching in traditional public schools, 251,000 instructors in public charter schools, and 466,000 educators in private schools across the United States.
    Source: National Centre for Education Statistics
  • In the U.S., 11,355 public and private schools cover all grades K-12, just under 10% of all schools. These K-12 schools employ 291,724 teachers, constituting around 7% of the total teacher population in the United States.
    Source: We Are the Teachers
  • In the previous year, there was a 51% increase in estimated teacher vacancies, with the number of unfilled positions across the country increasing from 36,504 in 2022 to 55,289 in 2023.
    Source: k12dive

How many Total K-12 Teachers (by Grade Level) are there?

  • Roughly 47% of public schools are eligible for Title I funding, with 2,066,541 teachers employed at these qualifying schools. Title I schools in the US are educational institutions that receive government funding. These schools serve a high percentage of students from low-income families, aiming to provide additional resources and support to help improve academic achievement and narrow the gap between underprivileged students and their peers. Title I funding is allocated to schools based on the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
    Source: We Are the Teachers

Elementary Teachers

  • As of 2024, there are over 1.9 million elementary teachers in the US.
    Source: National Centre for Education Statistics
  • More than 40% of teachers in the USA are Elementary school teachers.
  • The number of elementary instructional teachers in 2020–21 was 9% greater than in the preceding decade.

Middle and Junior High Teachers

  • Middle schools, typically covering sixth through eighth grade, employ 545,325 teachers.
    Source: We Are the Teachers
  • Junior highs (encompassing seventh and eighth grades and occasionally ninth) represent an additional 96,160 teachers.
    Source: We Are the Teachers
  • All together, they comprise about 16% of the teacher population.
  • In 2020–21, the count of teachers at the secondary instructional level was in the previous decade.

High School Teachers

  • There are over 587,684 high school teachers currently employed in the US.
  • More than 50% of all high school teachers are women, while around 40% are men. 
  • The average age of a high school teacher is 43 years.

Other Teachers

  • Career and technical education teachers in post-secondary education are 113,000.
  • The number of secondary school career and technical education teachers is 88,000.
  • The number of career and technical education teachers in middle school is 11,100.

(They instruct in trade subjects such as auto repair, cosmetology, and culinary arts.)

  • The workforce of special education teachers in 2021 comprised 369,848 individuals, with 85.4% being women and 14.6% men. (This implies an average annual growth of 49.1% between 2014 (248,025) and 2021 (369,848).
    Source: Data USA
  • Currently, over 13,871 adult education teachers are employed in the United States.
    Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Number of Public School vs Private School Teachers

Public School Teachers

  • According to the latest data, the United States has approximately 3.152 million public school teachers. This includes both full-time and part-time teachers in elementary and secondary public schools.
    Source: NutMeg Education
  • By 2030, it is forecasted that the number of teachers employed in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States will amount to 3.19 million. This projection includes both full-time and part-time teachers.
  • Elementary school public teachers are predominantly female, accounting for 89% of the total.
  • In middle schools, approximately 72% of the teachers are female.
  • Similarly, about 70% of the high school teachers in public schools are female.

Source: Statista

  • According to the information available, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) oversees federally funded public schools on Indian reservations in the United States, operated by local Native American tribal councils. It is reported that approximately 2,857 teachers are employed in these BIE schools.
    Source: U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Presently, 89,598 teachers are employed in magnet schools, and 23,159 work in STEM schools. They constitute approximately 3% of the total public school teacher population.

Private School Teachers

  • In 2020, the United States had 476,000 educators working in secondary and private educational institutions.
  • The anticipated number of instructors in private elementary and secondary schools by the end of 2030 is 454,000.

Source: NutMeg Education

  • In the academic year 2020–21, the number of private school teachers decreased by 8% compared to the 2017–18 figure of 509,000.
  • The percentage of teachers in private and Catholic schools in the US is approximately 12% of the total teaching workforce.
  • The number of educators employed in non-Catholic private schools is 234,682.
  • The number of teachers working in Catholic schools is 127,504.

Source: We are Teachers

Demographics of School Teachers (General)

Based on Age

  • In the US, authorities permit a student-teacher ratio of 15.4. Public schools typically maintain an average student-to-teacher ratio of 16.0, whereas private schools have a ratio of 11.9.
  • Public schools are expected to employ 3,390,000 teachers by the end of 2029, while private schools are expected to have 520,000 teachers.
  • The typical age of educators in public schools hovers around 42 years.
  • Private school instructors typically have a median age of 45 years.
  • Charter schools exhibit a more significant proportion of educators under 40.
  • Charter schools have fewer instructors aged 50 and above than traditional public and private schools.
  • Among instructors under 30, public charter schools demonstrate the highest proportion, at 21%.
  • Both traditional public and private schools have approximately 14% of their educators falling within the under-30 age bracket.
  • Conversely, public charter schools report the lowest percentage of instructors aged 60 or older, at 7%.
  • Private schools showcase the highest % of educators aged 60 and over, totaling 17%.

Source: (NCES)

Based on Race and Gender

  • Female representation accounts for 97.3% of instructors in preschool and kindergarten settings.
  • Women constitute 74.3% of the teaching workforce in the United States, while men represent 25.7% of educators.
  • Asian women make up 71% of the teaching population in public schools across the United States.
  • Black women comprise 66% of educators in public school systems.
  • Male teachers in the United States earn an estimated income of around $55,902.
  • Female teachers in the United States receive an approximate income of $53,011.
  • 72.3% of instructors identify as Caucasian, 12.0% as Hispanic, and 10.1% as African American.

Here’s a table for better understanding:

White 79.3
Hispanic 9.3
African American6.7
Asian 2.1
Two or more races1.8
American Indian/ Alaska Native0.5
Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander 0.2

Source: (NCES)

  • Conversely, rural schools had a greater proportion of Caucasian teachers, at 89 percent, compared to suburban schools, at 82 percent, and city schools, at 69 percent. Moreover, towns and suburban areas boasted a higher percentage of Caucasian instructors, at 88 percent, surpassing city schools.

Source: (NCES)

Student-To-Teacher Ratio

  • As of the 2021 school year, Texas boasted the highest number of educators in public schools, clocking in at 364,478.
  • Public school educators in Texas saw a growth of 1.3% during 2020.
  • California followed closely behind Texas, employing 271,805 public school teachers in 2021.  
  • When it comes to student-to-teacher ratios, Utah has the highest (or perhaps the lowest, depending on how you look at it) with 22.7 students per teacher
  • California trails closely behind Utah, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 21.0
  • Vermont boasts the lowest student-to-teacher ratio in the country, with only 10.4 students per teacher.
  • New Hampshire follows Vermont with the second-lowest student-to-teacher ratio, averaging 10.6 students per educator.

Following is the number of top 10 Public school teachers  by state (2021)

StateNumber of TeachersStudent-to-teacher ratio
New York217,39812
Georgia 117,83714.7
New Jersey117,06011.7
North Carolina100,77715.0

Source: NCES, Statista

Teachers Categorized by Academic Achievement and Length of Service

Academic Achievement

  • A tiny fraction (1.3%) of educators lack a bachelor’s degree [Source: Institute of Education Sciences (IES)].
  • Bachelor’s degrees are the most common qualification held by nearly four out of ten teachers (38.9%)**.
  • Half of all teachers (50%) have a master’s degree
  • Almost one in ten teachers (9.7%) hold qualifications beyond a master’s degree, like professional diplomas, doctorates, or advanced coursework.
  • Secondary school teachers are more likely to hold a master’s degree (53%) compared to elementary school teachers (49%)
    [Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)].
  • Secondary school teachers are likelier to have a doctorate (2%) than elementary school teachers (1%).
  • There’s no significant difference between elementary and secondary teachers for specialist degrees or certificates.
  • Elementary school teachers hold a slight edge in regular certificates (91% vs. 89% for secondary school teachers).
  • Beyond regular certificates, secondary school teachers hold a higher percentage of other certificates. [Source: Institute of Education Sciences (IES)]
  • Public school teachers (78%) are more likely to have lesson planning coursework than private school teachers (66%).

Source: NCES

Length of Service

  • Both educators in K–12 public and private schools reported an average of approximately 15 years of teaching practice
  • As per NCES findings, within the realm of public school teaching:

– 7% possessed under three years of instructional experience.

– 29% held between 3 to 9 years of teaching tenure.

– 37% boasted 10 to 20 years of teaching expertise.

– 26% accumulated over 20 years of teaching involvement.

  • Teachers, on average, have dedicated roughly eight years to their current educational institution.
  • On average, educators in conventional public schools accumulated more teaching years, averaging 15 years of experience.
  • Conversely, educators in public charter schools averaged around ten years of teaching experience.

Source: (NCES)

Teacher Salaries in The US

  • In the United States, the typical starting salary for teachers is $38,617, while the average salary for teachers across the nation, excluding those just starting, sits at $58,950.
  • Here’s a table of the top 10 States in the US with the highest average teacher salaries.
States Starting salaryAverage salary
New York$44,935$79,637
New Jersey$51,179$69,623

Source: Niche Stats

  • Montana offers the lowest starting salary for teachers, at $30,036, whereas Washington D.C. boasts the highest starting salary, at $51,359. New York has the highest average teacher salary, at $79,637, while South Dakota trails with the lowest, at $42,668.
  • Regarding base salaries in public schools, secondary school teachers earn an average of $53,520, while primary school teachers receive an average of $52,620
  • Comparatively, secondary school teachers’ base salary averages $44,720 in private schools, while primary school teachers’ base salary averages $36,260.
  • Public school teachers generally receive higher salaries than their private school counterparts.

Average Salary by Years Experience

Years of ExperiencePublic School TeachersPrivate School Teachers

Source: Niche Stats

Impact of Teachers on Students’ Lives

  • The teaching profession has substantially increased in prestige, with 51% of individuals acknowledging it as a notable occupation, a significant rise from the 29% recorded in the 1970s.
  • Nearly all individuals, a staggering 98 percent, believe that a competent educator has the potential to alter the trajectory of a student’s life.
  • A significant 83% of students acknowledge that a teacher has played a pivotal role in enhancing their self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Most students, precisely 54 percent, acknowledge that a teacher has assisted them during challenging periods, emphasizing educators’ crucial role in supporting their students during difficult times.

Source: We Are Teachers

Shortage of Teachers in 2024

  • Nearly 90% of public school districts faced challenges hiring teachers for the upcoming school year, with low salaries deterring many potential hires.
  • Subject areas like special education, science, and foreign languages continue to face shortages in staffing, a long-standing challenge.
  • While there’s been a slight improvement in overall staffing sentiments compared to last year, high-poverty districts still struggle with understaffing.
  • In the current academic year, 45% of all public schools reported feeling understaffed, a decrease from 53% in the previous school year.
  • Schools in low-poverty neighborhoods saw a notable decrease in perceptions of understaffing, with a 10-point drop from 52% to 42% this year.
  • Conversely, concerns about understaffing persisted at 57% in high-poverty neighborhoods, remaining unchanged from the previous school year.
  • The challenges in filling teaching positions underscore the need for targeted recruitment and retention efforts, particularly in high-need subject areas and schools serving disadvantaged communities.

Source: USA Today

Impact of COVID-19 on the Teaching Profession

  • Sixty-three percent of public schools with vacant positions attributed the increase in teaching and non-teaching staff vacancies to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The primary reason for student quarantine, reported by 97 percent of public schools, was a positive COVID-19 test result among students.
  • As of January 2022, nearly half of all public schools indicated having at least one vacant teaching position.
  • A survey conducted by RAND in early January 2021 revealed that nearly a quarter of teachers wanted to leave their positions by the end of the school year. Source: 
  • Approximately 30% of teachers taught remotely most of the school year, 49% adopted a hybrid teaching model, and 21% taught fully in person.
  • Based on reported probabilities, the likelihood of teachers leaving their current state or the profession within the next five years has risen from 24% (average) in March 2020 to 30% in March 2021. This increase concerns education stakeholders and policymakers, highlighting the urgency of addressing factors contributing to teacher turnover.


The Future of Teachers

  • The employment rate for high school teachers is expected to increase by 4% from 2021 to 2031.
  •  Over 75% of states are facing a teacher shortage. The demand for teachers will outpace the supply by over 100,000 by 2025.
  • 45% of public schools have at least one teacher vacancy.

Source: 240 Tutoring

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate for preschool instructors is expected to grow by 3% through 2032.
  • BLS data predict that employment rates for kindergarten and elementary school teachers will likely grow by 1% through 2032, slightly slower than the national average for other occupations.
  • BLS data predict that employment rates for middle school teachers will increase by 1% through 2032, with approximately 42,200 openings per year. While middle school enrollment rates are expected to increase, the teacher demand may depend on local budgets. 
  • BLS predicts about 67,100 openings for high school teachers per year. High school teachers who specialize in high-demand subjects typically have better job prospects.
  • According to BLS data, special education teacher employment rates are expected to remain the same through 2032. Over the next decade, there may be about 33,500 openings for special education teachers across all grade levels.

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 

As I conclude this blog, one thing is abundantly clear (to me): teachers are the backbone of our education system. From ever-crowded urban schools to serene rural classrooms, these dedicated professionals are the guiding lights illuminating (like fireflies) the path to knowledge and success for millions of students nationwide.

In this journey through the statistics, I’ve uncovered numbers (statistics) that tell stories of resilience, passion, and unwavering commitment (especially during the pandemic). Whether it’s a teacher in the small town of Montana inspiring a love for learning or the educator in Washington D.C. breaking barriers in underserved communities, each one plays a vital role in shaping the future of our nation.

Moving forward, all we can do is carry a newfound appreciation for the tireless efforts of teachers everywhere. We should celebrate their creativity, adaptability, and boundless dedication to unlocking the potential within each and every student.

Here’s to the teachers of America, the unsung heroes whose impact reaches far beyond the classroom walls. May their passion continue to ignite curiosity and inspire generations to come!

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