The Best Time to Pursue a Career in Education is Now

Photo of Dr. Julie Tonsing-Meyer
Education Major

Are you considering a career in teaching? If so, this is the best time to enter a field that’s in record-high demand. McKendree’s widely respected education program will give you the hands-on preparation, connections to local school districts, and individual faculty support to realize your dreams.

Illinois Teacher Shortage

It may sound cliché, but there truly has never been a better time to become an educator in Illinois! According to the Illinois State Board of Education, more than 1,400 classroom positions were unfilled across the state during the 2018-2019 school year.

To offset the teacher shortage and generate more graduates in education, the state of Illinois has recently removed one of the skills tests required to earn a teaching license. One less barrier means education graduates can obtain their teaching license faster, and schools can more easily fill open positions through a streamlined process. Illinois has also raised the bar for teacher salaries, promising a minimum pay of no less than $40,000 starting in 2023.

Student Preparedness

McKendree’s education program ensures that you are fully prepared for the teaching career of your choice through a series of real-world experiences. Here, we see field placements as more than just observation hours in a local school. In every semester of our program, you’ll be assigned to an area classroom, where you’ll have the opportunity to teach lessons, interact with students, and learn from a current teacher in the field. These field placements give you a taste for teaching even before your culminating coursework as a student-teacher.

“I experienced first-hand the benefits of being a Bearcat,” said Dr. Travis McCollum M.A.Ed. ’11, Ed.D. ‘19, who earned both his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. “Graduates from McKendree will learn strong leadership skills, learn from practitioners in their field, and receive personalized instruction ensuring they have a leg up on graduates from other universities.” Dr. McCollum is currently the principal of Hamilton County Jr./Sr. High School in McLeansboro, Illinois.

Engagement with Local School Districts

Our education students benefit from the longstanding relationships we have with area school districts. In fact, many of our alumni include local superintendents, principals, and administrators who know firsthand the value that a McKendree graduate brings. They frequently stay connected to our education faculty and contact them directly when looking to fill a teacher position at their school. Several even return to campus as part-time college instructors, bringing their years of experience back to benefit today’s McKendree students.

During your field placements or student-teacher work, you may even be paired with one of the many McKendree alums who are now teachers at nearby K-12 schools. Excellent mentor teachers such as these help you get the most out of your student-teaching experience while giving you a strong list of professional connections and references.

McKendree Job Placement Rate in Education

An impressive 98-100% of McKendree education students who remain in state after graduation land a job in their field of choice! Our strong connections to local school districts and widespread reputation for producing quality teachers sets McKendree above the rest when it comes to education.

Experienced Faculty Offer Personalized Support

Our education faculty are hard at work outside the classroom too, staying on the cutting edge of their field through grants, research, and partnerships. Professor Dr. Julie Tonsing-Meyer takes pride in involving her students in such professional development activities as well. As a member of Project LEAD (Leaders in Education Advocating for Diversity), Dr. Tonsing-Meyer includes several of her students in the statewide initiative to encourage a diverse pool of future teachers throughout Illinois. Mentorship is a very important component of the program, and she makes it her mission to be the outside support her students need both during their time at McKendree and beyond.

Quotation Graphic"Many of the teachers in Belleville High School District 201 are graduates of McKendree.  McKendree has a long history of providing outstanding teacher education programs.  We find that McKendree graduates have received training that prepares teachers for the ever-changing and rigorous challenges faced by educators today.  The common thread I've noticed in McKendree graduates is their ability to build relationships with students and other staff members. They understand the responsibilities associated with the teaching profession." - Jeff Dosier, Superintendent of Belleville District 201


Quotation Graphic"There is a high demand for teachers in Illinois. The outlook for teaching opportunities for teachers trained at McKendree is very positive." - Jeff Dosier, Superintendent of Belleville District 201



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