Where Have All the Teachers Gone?

Posted on January 16, 2024 by Greg Chmura

More and more, teachers are leaving the profession. A recent report co-published from Chalkbeat and USA Today highlights the issue in eight states where teacher turnover reached a five-year high. While this blog won’t speculate on why we’re seeing a rise in PreK-12 teacher exits, we can offer some insight into where they are going.

By using JobsEQ’s algorithms to assign SOC occupation codes based on job titles and descriptions to online profiles with work histories, we analyzed teacher career changes from 2018 through 2022. We defined “leaving education” as moving from a PreK-12 teacher occupation (SOC 25-2000) to an occupation that is not teaching at any level. We also excluded moves to education administration and counseling, both of which were popular among former teachers, but were not considered as “leaving education.”


Teacher exits

The top ten occupations for teachers who exit education.



Since Covid—that is, after March 2020—we see two strong trends emerging in teacher career transitions: more teachers are moving into computer & mathematical jobs as well as healthcare positions. For example, software developers, psychiatric technicians, computer and information research scientists, medical assistants, data scientists, and personal care aides all grew in popularity for teachers seeking new careers.

While the data shows educators moving into a variety of jobs, many of the popular careers chosen by former teachers are in the broad groups of office and administrative support, community and social services, and business and financial operations. The most popular specific occupations are social and human service assistants, secretaries and administrative assistants, and human resource specialists.

This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.