LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - McNeese State University held its Spring Teacher Fair today to give future education graduates a head start on their job search. However, finding teaching positions may not be easy. A tough job market awaits the class of 2009, and those hoping to become teachers are entering a field that's been hit hard by budget cuts due to the poor economy.
Sarah Veazey, a McNeese student attending the fair, expressed some hesitation about entering the work force, "I am a little bit concerned since they're making job cuts right now, but I'm thinking about going to get my masters, so there's always ways to improve."
Gary Anderson, Assistant Superintendent of Calcasieu Parish Schools, said that they usually hire between 150 to 200 teachers a year, but that won't happen this year.
"We're probably going to experience some cuts," Anderson stated, "Maybe in the neighborhood of 70 to 80 teaching positions."
Those already with teaching positions will keep their jobs, but the decrease in openings could make it harder for Early Childhood Education majors to find jobs.
Deborah Johnson, a Texas teaching recruiter, stated, "There's an over saturation across the state of Louisiana and Texas as I'm recruiting. There are far more applicants in the Early Childhood to Grade Four certification area, then there's actually a demand for."
However, there is always a demand for math and science teachers, and that's good news for McNeese students, like Gregory Olson.
"My field is kind of one of those that's needed [science]," Olson said, "[But] it's not a positive, like I'm going to absolutely have a job, but I have a little more security there."
Math or science may not be for everyone, and there are other options. Students are fully aware that the job market isn't in the best shape, and if they can't find a job close to home then the majority of them are willing to relocate.
McNeese student Ashley Watlington commented, "Yes I'm willing to relocate, I don't know about my mom, but yes I'm willing to relocate if that's needed for me."
Olson added, "I have done a lot of interviews with some Central Louisiana places and Northern Louisiana [places]. I haven't done Texas yet, but I still have a little bit more time."
If moving is not in the cards for you, then make sure you are certified to be a teacher.
"We put our system against anybody as far as test scores and technology, those kind of things," stated Anderson," So a certified person, there's jobs out there, we will find a job for a certified person."