This project examines the intersection of occupational licensing and migration in the teaching profession in the United States, with a focus on preschool teachers, K-12 teachers, and teaching assistants. We attempt to determine the impact of occupational licensing requirements for teachers as a barrier or facilitator of migration and professional development. The methods employed included a literature review, a qualitative analysis based on interviews with teachers and others in the education profession, an online discourse analysis, and quantitative analyses of the teacher and teaching assistant workforces. Teachers are among the most widely licensed professionals and are more likely to face training and licensing requirements than their teaching assistant counterparts. However, different licensure requirements across states limit the ability for teachers to efficiently transition across the teaching profession and across the nation. For teachers, the obscurity of individual state licensure requirements represents one of the largest obstacles to entry into the state’s licensed workforce. Our research also indicates that licensure requirements do not accurately represent skills teachers will utilize in the classroom. However, the potential for these laws to better facilitate teacher preparedness exists. The ability for teachers to fill looming deficits in subject matter and geographical locales will be limited without appropriate changes to communication of licensing standards and a more fluid reciprocal licensure system.
Arbury, Chelsea; Bonilla, Gerardo; Durfee, Thomas; Johnson, Megan; Lehninger, Robin
University of Minnesota
January 17, 2015