RELEASE: New 50-State Analysis Finds Substantial Decline in Teacher Preparation Program Enrollment and Completion

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a major new report that looks at the state of teacher preparation programs in America. The 50-state analysis relies on state data on program enrollment broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity; entry and exit requirements for programs; completion numbers; and the subjects or certification areas in which enrollees are being prepared to teach, among other information.

Key findings from the report find that from 2010 to 2018:

  • Teacher prep program enrollment has declined substantially (35 percent). Just five states saw an increase in enrollment during this time period. Nine states saw enrollment decline by 50 percent or more.
  • Teacher prep program completion has also realized a significant decline (27 percent). Just five states and the District of Columbia saw an increase in program completion during this time period. Four states saw completion decline by more than 50 percent.
  • While traditional teacher prep programs and alternative prep programs based at institutions of higher education (IHEs) have realized enrollment declines, alternative teacher prep programs not affiliated with IHEs—which can be run by for-profit companies and vary greatly in terms of timing, coursework, and training—saw a 42 percent increase.
  • Despite the fact that more Black students are enrolling at IHEs than ever before, Black and teacher prep enrollment has declined by more than a quarter during this time period. Similarly for Latinx students, teacher prep enrollment declined, on average, by 11 percent.
  • In most states, the decline in enrollment in teacher preparation programs was steeper for men. Nationally, the difference was not huge—a 38 percent decline for women and a 44 percent decline for men.
  • There are persistent teacher shortages in special education and science, technology, education, and mathematics fields. One positive finding in this analysis is that there was a 30 percent increase in teachers preparing to teach English as a second language or bilingual education.

The report also includes a number of solutions for federal and state policymakers, including gathering and reporting more data on teacher preparation programs and teacher labor markets; using these data to strengthen teacher prep programs and modernize the teaching profession; and approaching the for-profit, non-IHE alternative certification sector with appropriate skepticism.

“Supporting teacher prep program enrollment and completion is critical for averting teacher shortages, particularly ahead of another recession and the potential for further divestment,” said Lisette Partelow, senior director of K-12 Strategic Initiatives at the Center for American Progress and author of the report. “This new report suggests that many states have a lot of work to achieve that goal and identify where they are falling short.”

Please click here to read: “What To Make of Declining Enrollment in Teacher Preparation Programs” by Lisette Partelow

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.