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Colorado's Educator Shortage Survey Results

Overview

As part of the strategic action plan developed in response to Colorado House Bill 17-1003, the Colorado Department of Education surveys the state’s school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) about the employment of teachers, special services providers (SSPs), and starting with the 2019-20 survey, principals/assistant principals and paraprofessionals. The Educator Shortage Survey Results include the facts about the number of vacant educator positions and the ways those vacancies were filled, if they were filled at all. These shortage data allow CDE to identify educator shortage areas across the state and report to the Colorado Legislature to inform decisions regarding support for recruiting and retaining educators.

Information regarding 2021-22 Educator Shortage Survey results, including the survey results summary, highlights, and additional details is available below.  Summaries of prior year shortage survey results (2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21) are also available on this page.

Summary Survey Results

View a summary of the 2021-22 state-level educator shortage results with data provided separately for teacher, SSP, building leadership (principal/assistant principal) and paraprofessional positions. Data are also presented by teaching subject area, SSP type and rural designation (small rural, rural, or non-rural, as defined by the Rural Education Council).

Detailed information about the number of positions filled by specific shortage mechanisms (including hiring long-term substitutes, retired educators, alternative licensure program candidates and emergency authorizations holders), the number of positions that went unfulfilled and recruiting strategies used are also available through the interactive dashboard and/or in the downloadable Excel file. 

Highlights from the 2021-22 state-level summary include:

  • Approximately 7,000 teaching and SSP positions needed to be hired for in 2021-22, which includes all available teacher and SSPs positions within a district and across districts. These positions are available to be filled by educators switching districts and/or schools and newly trained educators completing preparation programs. This represents 10% of all teaching and 16% of all SSP positions in the state. For the third consecutive year, the number of open positions was slightly lower than in the preceding school year for both teachers and SSPs in 2021-22. Over 300 principal/assistant principal positions and over 2,000 paraprofessional positions needed to be hired for in 2021-2022.
  • Of the 5,729 teaching positions to hire, 440 (8%) remained unfilled for the school year and 1,128 (20%) were filled through a shortage mechanism. Despite the three-year decrease in total positions to be hired, there has been an increase in the percentage of positions that remain unfilled (+6% since 2019-2020) and that are filled via a shortage mechanism (+7% since 2019-2020).
  • Of the 1,102 total SSP positions to hire, 192 (17%) remained unfilled for the school year and 98 (9%) were filled through a shortage mechanism. The proportion of unfilled SSP positions rose by 10% from the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Of the 302 total principal/assistant principal positions to hire, 8 (3%) remained unfilled for the entire school year and 9 (3%) were filled through a shortage mechanism, representing a slight increase in the percentages of principal/assistant principal positions unfilled and filled through a shortage mechanism compared to the prior year.
  • Of the 2,174 total paraprofessional positions to hire, 205 (9%) remained unfilled for the entire school year and 48 (1%) were filled through a shortage mechanism. Though the percentage of paraprofessional positions unfilled or filled through a shortage mechanism was relatively stable in comparison to the prior year, there were nearly twice as many paraprofessional positions to hire for than in 2020-2021.
  • In core teaching subject areas, statewide shortages were greatest in the following areas: special education, mathematics, science, world languages, and early childhood education.
  • In SSP categories, shortages of school psychologists, school occupational therapists, and school physical therapists were the most common statewide.

Educator Shortage Data for Prior Years

In 2017, in response to Colorado House Bill 17-1003, Strategic Plan to Address Teacher Shortages, CDE and the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) collaboratively collected data to analyze the state’s educator shortage problem via a voluntary version of the survey to develop a strategic action plan.

Federally Reported Educator Shortage Areas

Each year, the Educator Talent Division reports educator shortage areas to the US Department of Education in the Teacher Shortage Area report. The Federal data collection is intended to serve three primary purposes:

  • Notify the nation that States and schools may potentially need to hire academic administrators, licensed teachers, other educators and school faculty of specific disciplines/subject areas, grade levels, and/or geographic regions.
  • Serve as a useful resource for recent graduates of schools of education and trained, experienced teaching professionals aspiring to serve school districts with shortages about potential opportunity areas in each state’s and territory’s Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 classrooms.
  • Serve as a useful resource in the process of advising Federal student financial aid recipients of the potential to reduce, defer, or discharge student loan repayments by teaching in certain areas.

2022-23 Statewide Shortage Areas for Teachers

  • Business/Marketing
  • Culturally And Linguistically Diverse Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English Language Arts
  • Industrial Arts
  • Instructional Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education Generalist
  • Special Education Specialist: Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Visual Art
  • World Languages

2022-23 Statewide Shortage Areas for Special Services Providers

  • School Counselor
  • School Nurse
  • School Occupational Therapist
  • School Psychologist
  • School Social Worker
  • School Speech-Language Pathologist

2022-23 Rural Shortage Areas 

  • All teaching areas
  • All special services provider areas

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