The Ohio Department of Education strives to provide schools and districts with effective supports and high-quality resources for continuous improvement and acceleration of learning. Periodically, the Department offers state-level analyses to provide context for interpreting local data and to highlight trends that may inform policymaking and action. This edition of Data Insights looks at trends in the statewide teacher workforce in Ohio.  

As an education partner, the Department seeks to ensure a steady pipeline of effective teachers entering and remaining in the workforce. Using data to assess Ohio’s supply and demand dynamics affecting the teacher workforce can help ensure Department priorities are aligned with areas of need.

The Department does not track the number of teaching positions that are not filled each year—arguably, the most direct indicator of workforce shortages—so, this analysis explores available data that can highlight potential mismatches in teacher supply and demand.

Key Observations

  • Teacher shortages must be examined and understood locally.
    • There are localized areas of concern related to student-to-teacher ratios when considering region, district type and grade band/subject area – especially in the Southeast, Southwest and West regions.
    • While the current number of teachers statewide is comparable to the previous 10-year average for the state, a predominant downward trend in public school enrollment (accelerated by the pandemic) has resulted in historically low student-to-teacher ratios.
  • Licensure and attrition trends impact local shortages.
    • The number of courses taught by teachers whose licenses do not match the courses they are teaching (improper certification) has increased statewide. The number of districts with such courses also has increased.
    • The statewide teacher attrition rate (those not returning as a teacher) was slightly elevated in 2021-2022 compared to the previous six years for all teachers, as well as for the subset of teachers early in their careers. 
    • The number of newly credentialed teachers steadily declined statewide from 2013-2014 to 2018-2019, then stabilized through 2020-2021 before declining again in 2021-2022.
    • In 2021-2022, there were more than 43,000 individuals with active teaching credentials in Ohio (excluding substitute licenses) who were not employed in a public school as a teacher or other staff member.
    • District-level teacher attrition rates (percent no longer teaching in a specific district) have increased recently, generating more hiring and onboarding burdens regardless of supply sufficiency.
  • Collection of more data, particularly on teacher demand, is needed to help inform policy.


National Context

A labor shortage occurs when “the demand for workers is greater than the supply of workers who are qualified, available and willing to do that job.” [i] In the case of teachers, defining a shortage requires measuring the number of teaching positions that districts need to fill against the available supply of qualified teachers willing to take those positions. [ii] Educator shortages across the country largely are regional and depend on local factors. At the national level, a 2022 study by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University noted that state vacancy data suggest schools are facing difficulties filling teaching positions. [iii] However, the same paper suggests the lack of a nationwide teacher labor market data system leads to conflicting or erroneous conclusions.

The lack of a national teacher labor data system has led researchers to rely on survey data. National survey data of administrators highlight the concerns of shortages. Nearly half of principal and district administrator respondents to a fall 2021 EdWeek survey indicated they were experiencing difficulty hiring a sufficient number of full-time teachers. [iv] Additionally, the Institute of Education Science’s School Pulse Panel survey indicated 53% percent of respondents said they were understaffed heading into the 2022-2023 school year. [v] Respondents cited too few candidates applying for teaching positions and the lack of qualified teaching candidates as the primary reasons for not filling vacancies.

Analytical Approach for Ohio Teacher Workforce Data

This analysis considers workforce measures through a framework that intersects district type and JobsOhio geographic regions. Tables 1 and 2 display how Ohio’s public districts, schools and active teacher workforce are distributed across regions. These tables display traditional districts by typology category, as well as other public school types, including community schools (CS), independent STEM schools, joint vocational school districts (JVSD), educational service centers (ESC) and state-supported schools (SSS) such as the Ohio School for the Deaf and Ohio State School for the Blind.

This article will include statewide analyses of all public school types. Regional analyses will be limited to traditional districts where 90% of Ohio’s primary and secondary teachers are employed.

Table 1: districts and other Education agencies by type and JobsOhio region, 2021-2022

JobsOhio Region Rural District Town District Suburb District Urban District Other District CS STEM JVSD ESC SSS Total
Central 17 15 19 6 0 84 1 7 6 3 168
Northeast 51 70 61 25 1 140 3 17 11 0 379
Northwest 50 40 8 4 1 38 0 5 8 0 154
Southeast 64 27 1 2 0 6 1 11 5 0 117
Southwest 10 10 23 11 0 29 0 5 5 0 93
West 37 27 11 7 1 27 2 4 10 0 126
Total 229 199 123 55 3 324 7 49 45 3 1,037

Note: In this table, Other Districts include the island districts and College Corner.

Table 2: teachers by Education agency type and JobsOhio region, 2021-2022

JobsOhio Region Rural District Town District Suburb District Urban District Other District CS STEM JVSD ESC SSS Total
Central 1,306 3,184 9,114 5,842 0 1,654 48 422 103 98 21,771
Northeast 3,656 7,670 13,242 10,459 2 2,676 87 880 201 0 38,873
Northwest 2,684 3,748 1,836 2,569 12 1,086 0 381 129 0 12,445
Southeast 5,921 2,765 149 375 0 65 5 516 86 0 9,882
Southwest 807 1,426 7,428 4,349 0 450 0 666 120 0 15,246
West 2,462 3,115 2,968 2,808 0 478 73 377 84 0 12,365
Total 16,836 21,908 34,736 26,403 14 6,408 213 3,241 724 98 110,582

Note: Unless otherwise noted, teachers are enumerated in full-time equivalent (FTE) units, such that a teacher who works full-time would be a 1.0 FTE and a teacher who works half-time would be a 0.5 FTE.

Available Teacher Workforce Data

While the Department does have significant data about the teacher workforce, there still are gaps in the data that make it difficult to truly determine the status of the current workforce. Ohio currently does not collect vacancy data or data on unfilled teaching positions—those positions advertised by a district but for which a suitable hire was not secured—because state law does not require districts and schools to report this data. The Department and other education stakeholders are interested in exploring the ability of the state to access or collect this data in a consistent, reliable way to speak more directly about the short- and long-term needs of Ohio’s schools relating to potential shortage issues.  

In the absence of specific data on unfilled positions, this analysis leverages available data to identify state and regional trends in the teacher workforce by looking at five aspects that might indicate mismatches between teacher supply and demand:

  • Student-to-teacher ratios;
  • Courses taught by teachers without proper certification;
  • Newly credentialed teachers;
  • Exiting teachers; and
  • District-level attrition rates.

Student-to-Teacher Ratios

Students generate the demand for teachers, so an intuitive measure of workforce supply sufficiency is the student-to-teacher ratio. As calculated here, the measure should not be interpreted as classroom size, as this student-to-teacher ratio entails teaching staff and students independent of the number of courses taught and the number of students enrolled in a particular course. The ratios are calculated using data collected by the Department directly from districts and schools through the Education Management Information System (EMIS).

Statewide Student-to-Teacher Ratio Trends

The total teacher FTE in Ohio was 110,582 in the 2021-2022 school year, which was highly comparable to the previous 10-year average for the state (110,929). Student enrollment, on the other hand, trended downward, with a 90,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) decrease since 2011-2012. The combination of these trends has produced the lowest statewide student-to-teacher ratios in at least a decade, with ratios over the past two years at 15.0 and 15.1 respectively. Over the same period, the number of students with disabilities for each intervention specialist in the state improved dramatically, from 40.9 in 2011-2012 to 22.1 in 2021-2022. This change represents an increase of nearly 6,000 FTE for intervention specialists over the last 10 years. 

Table 3: Statewide teacher and student enrollment trends

School Year Student FTE Teacher FTE Student to Teacher Ratio Students with Disabilities (SWD) FTE Intervention Specialist FTE SWD to Teacher Ratio
2012 1,762,752 113,197 15.6 268,681 6,563 40.9
2013 1,747,172 111,717 15.6 262,477 7,355 35.7
2014 1,732,830 113,012 15.3 260,873 7,873 33.1
2015 1,739,120 108,244 16.1 256,951 8,287 31.0
2016 1,733,906 109,700 15.8 258,719 9,297 27.8
2017 1,718,756 110,556 15.6 254,695 9,988 25.5
2018 1,722,296 110,556 15.6 268,283 10,615 25.3
2019 1,716,312 111,388 15.4 272,069 11,018 24.7
2020 1,712,788 110,350 15.5 270,589 11,434 23.7
2021 1,663,975 110,882 15.0 266,816 11,974 22.3
2022 1,672,198 110,582 15.1 271,003 12,265 22.1
Least               Most

Note: Intervention Specialists FTE noted is a subset of Teacher FTE.

Student-to-Teacher Ratio Trends by Typology

Since the 2018-2019 school year, these ratios remained static or decreased across regions and district types, apart from moderate increases for community schools. When the numbers of teachers and students are pooled by district type and JobsOhio region, the overall student-to-teacher ratios are comparable across traditional district types and somewhat higher in community schools, particularly for those located in the Northwest and Southwest regions. With respect to the number of students with disabilities per intervention specialist, the largest ratios are found in the urban districts in the Northwest, Central and Northeast regions, along with community schools in the Southeast.

Regional Areas of Potential Concern

Available data also allow for student-to-teacher ratios by grade band and subject area. For these measures, a mean ratio is calculated for each school year among traditional districts within a given district type and JobsOhio region. This means community, joint vocational and other schools are not included in these data. The data demonstrate that many of the differences among district types and regions have been long-standing. For some subject areas, these disparate ratios may be attributable, in part, to differing student needs or educational emphases.

To identify potential areas of concern, this analysis looks at differences over time for groupings of districts or, more specifically, it asks—where in Ohio are the average student-to-teacher ratios increasing for particular grade bands and subjects? Table 4 shows the greatest increases in student-to-teacher ratios from 2018-2019 to 2021-2022. We chose to highlight core subject areas in traditional school districts with ratio increases of five or more.

Data from 2018-2019 to 2021-2022 show that localized middle and high school grade bands across the state had substantial increases in student-to-teacher ratios. These changes could directly show impacts of the pandemic on the workforce or enrollment. The Southwest and West regions have most of the identified ratio changes at the middle school level, including the rural Southwest region with a large increase for middle school social studies. At the high school level, Southwest town districts had increases in core subject areas. Additionally, urban districts in the Southeast region saw large increases in middle school math and high school science and social studies. While mean ratios were calculated at the elementary level, standard academic subjects were collapsed into an “elementary education” category and no regions or district types had large student-to-teacher ratio changes over time. These data would suggest the Southeast, Southwest and West regions of the state could be experiencing a greater need for teachers in middle and high school.

Table 4: Largest student-to-teacher ratio changes from 2018-2019 to 2021-2022 by region, district type, grade band and subject

JobsOhio Region District Type Grade Band Subject Area SY19 Ratio SY22 Ratio Ratio Increase
Central Urban Middle Language Arts 65.0 70.6 5.6
Northwest Urban Middle Language Arts 51.2 57.8 6.6
High Science 115.6 121.0 5.4
Southeast Town High Mathematics 97.7 108.1 10.4
Urban Middle Math 94.0 114.4 20.4
Science 120.3 129.0 8.7
High Science 110.8 129.5 18.7
Social Studies 126.1 153.3 27.2
Southwest Rural Middle Science 106.2 112.0 5.8
Social Studies 107.5 131.3 23.8
Town Middle Language Arts 68.0 74.1 6.1
Social Studies 123.1 135.0 11.9
High Language Arts 93.9 105.8 11.9
Mathematics 95.1 100.3 5.2
Science 106.8 120.0 13.2
Social Studies 114.5 120.4 5.9
Urban Middle Mathematics 74.0 89.4 15.4
Social Studies 106.7 115.1 8.4
High Mathematics 75.4 89.1 13.7
Science 102.2 108.6 6.4
West Rural Middle Social Studies 121.2 132.9 11.7
Suburb Middle Language Arts 63.0 69.4 6.4
Science 110.1 117.8 7.7
Social Studies 110.8 118.4 7.6
High Language Arts 96.9 110.6 13.7
Social Studies 113.2 124.2 11.0
Town Middle Language Arts 61.1 70.5 9.4
Urban  Middle Science 103.6 110.1 6.5
Least               Most

Note: Ratios for the Northeast region, as well as for general elementary education, were calculated but did not meet the minimum increase (5.0) to be included in the table.

Teachers without Proper Certification

It is essential to staff Ohio’s schools with qualified educators. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) supports this effort by requiring schools and programs to ensure that all teachers working in a program supported with Title I funds meet state certification and licensure requirements. Ohio law defines proper certification as a teacher holding the appropriate license to teach the grade, student population and subject area to which they are assigned. For every type of course taught in Ohio public schools, the state establishes the appropriate certification expected for an individual who teaches that course based on grade level, academic subject and student population (for example, gifted, general education, students with disabilities). Through district reporting, the Department flags courses that are taught by a teacher without proper certification. With respect to understanding the sufficiency of the teacher workforce, measures describing improper certification can provide a means of gauging where schools and districts are filling teaching positions in suboptimal ways, potentially due to the inability to find appropriately certified professionals. Importantly, however, these measures cannot identify situations where a district eliminates or postpones a teaching position due to the inability to find a qualified candidate. The Department is interested in potentially collecting this information in the future to inform the teacher workforce landscape.

In 2021-2022, the rates of teachers without proper certification for both courses and teachers were at their highest levels in the past five school years—in part, due to flexible staffing policies put in place during the pandemic that are no longer in place (Table 5). The highest observed rate of improper certification was in 2017, in which 8,237 teachers (7.9%) taught 32,333 courses (3.9%) without proper certification.

table 5: Statewide trend in courses taught by a teacher without proper certification


Courses without Properly Certified Teachers As Pct. of All Courses Teachers without Proper Certification for Courses Taught As Pct. of All Teachers
2015 17,421 2.1% 3,960 3.8%
2016 20,684 2.5% 4,294 4.1%
2017 32,333 3.9% 8,237 7.9%
2018 19,157 2.3% 3,847 3.7%
2019 17,638 2.1% 3,536 3.4%
2020 17,267 2.1% 3,305 3.1%
2021 9,621 1.0% 1,429 1.3%
2022 20,776 2.5% 3,932 3.7%
Least           Most

Note: In this section, teacher counts and percentages are limited to those teachers who are linked with courses.

While the statewide rates of teachers without proper certification still were relatively low, the most problematic percentage of teachers without proper certification was found in urban districts in the Northwest (11.3%), Southwest (11.1%) and West (8.2%) regions.

Table 6. Teachers without proper certification as percent of all teachers by region and district type, 2021-2022

JobsOhio Regions Rural
Community School
Central 3.5% (44) 2.6% (81) 2.0% (179) 3.6% (201) 4.8% (75)
Northeast 3.9% (139) 2.1% (159) 1.3% (170) 4.8% (487) 3.5% (83)
Northwest 4.6% (129) 4.0% (146) 2.2% (37) 11.3% (303) 2.0% (20)
Southeast 4.0% (228) 4.7% (130) * 0.3% (<10) 1.4% (<10)
Southwest 4.6% (33) 1.5% (21) 2.6% (186) 11.3% (493) 7.2% (32)
West 2.6% (66) 3.4% (100) 1.0% (28) 8.2% (217) 3.4% (15)
Total 3.8% (639) 3.0% (637) 1.8% (602) 6.6% (1,702) 3.8% (226)
Least               Most

Note: Southeast suburban data is masked since there is only one applicable district.

In terms of teachers without proper certification in the 2021-2022 school year, the largest numbers were found in English language arts, math, science and social studies courses at both the middle and high school levels (Table 7). High school math and science courses had 2.9% to 4.0% of all teachers of these courses without proper certification last year.

Table 7. Most common middle and high school courses taught
by teachers without proper certification, 2021-2022 
(top 25 courses by number of teachers)

Grade Level Course Subject Courses Teachers Teacher Pct.
MS Integrated English Language Arts (7-8) 357 165 2.9%
MS Mathematics (7-8) 327 153 2.9%
MS Science (7-8) 321 127 3.0%
MS Social Studies (7-8) 262 124 3.0%
HS Physical Sciences 245 121 4.0%
HS Algebra I 235 107 3.3%
HS Integrated English Language Arts I 209 104 2.8%
HS Biological Sciences 233 104 3.1%
HS Geometry 229 103 3.4%
MS Social Studies (4-6) 170 98 3.3%
MS Mathematics (4-6) 136 96 2.6%
MS Science (4-6) 155 96 3.3%
MS Physical Education 377 95 4.4%
HS Health Education 263 94 4.8%
MS Integrated English Language Arts (4-6) 141 93 2.6%
HS Algebra II 155 92 3.0%
HS Integrated English Language Arts II 185 90 2.6%
HS Physical Education 239 87 4.6%
HS Integrated English Language Arts III 145 81 2.8%
HS Government 138 81 3.4%
HS History (World) 134 80 2.5%
HS Integrated English Language Arts IV 120 74 2.9%
HS Other Social Studies 151 66 4.2%
HS Transition to Post School Readiness 123 66 9.5%
MS Reading (7-8) 145 64 7.1%

Table 8 displays the types of courses with the highest rates of being taught by teachers without proper certification. While a few reading courses also are highlighted, general education courses in math, science and social studies are not among those with the highest rates. More specialized and elective coursework represent the areas of need in this table.

Table 8. Most common middle and high school courses taught
by teachers without proper certification, 2021-2022
(top 25 courses by percent of teachers/ min. 20 teachers)

Grade Level Course Subject Courses Teachers Teacher Pct.
HS Theatre Arts 88 44 19.0%
HS CTE-Human Anatomy and Physiology 37 21 17.8%
MS Intervention English 102 28 16.9%
MS Computer/Multimedia Literacy (4-6) 171 47 14.4%
HS American Sign Language 93 22 11.2%
HS Intervention Reading 80 42 10.3%
HS Transition to Post School Readiness 123 66 9.5%
MS Computer/Multimedia Literacy (7-8) 153 32 8.6%
HS Computer Application 100 29 7.7%
HS Speech 43 26 7.2%
MS Reading (7-8) 145 64 7.1%
HS Business (Other) 55 22 6.4%
HS Personal Finance 78 32 5.7%
MS Health Education 156 46 5.7%
HS Adaptive Living Skills (9-12) 61 34 5.7%
HS CTE-Career Based Intervention 58 21 5.7%
HS Art Appreciation 40 20 5.4%
HS Health Education 263 94 4.8%
MS Reading (4-6) 63 45 4.8%
HS Geography 29 20 4.7%
HS Physical Education 239 87 4.6%
MS Physical Education 377 95 4.4%
HS Transition to College Mathematics 44 23 4.3%
HS Other Social Studies 151 66 4.2%
HS Intervention English 65 22 4.1%

Teachers Entering and Exiting the Workforce

New Teacher Production

The higher education data system in Ohio produces data for teacher preparation program enrollment and completers. Enrollment in Ohio’s teacher preparation programs decreased 19%, from 14,829 in 2015 to 12,412 in 2020. Similarly, the number of students completing a program decreased 26% from 5,753 to 4,570. [vi]

There has been a steady decline in the number of newly credentialed teachers from 2014 (7,706) to 2022 (5,000), with a minimal decline between pre-pandemic 2019 (5,330) and 2022. Table 9 below shows the number of newly credentialed teachers by year since 2012, including those completing an Ohio educator preparation program, out-of-state teachers and teachers using alternative pathways.

Table 9. Statewide trend of newly credentialed teachers

 University Teacher Preparation Programs
In Ohio
University Teacher Preparation Programs 
Out of State
Alternative Pathways Total Newly Licensed Teachers
2012 3,969 471 261 4,701
2013 6,414 892 328 7,634
2014 6,263 1,058 385 7,706
2015 5,505 955 489 6,949
2016 5,116 895 617 6,628
2017 4,667 727 478 5,872
2018 4,397 603 500 5,500
2019 4,228 573 533 5,334
2020 4,274 572 611 5,457
2021 4,530 393 465 5,388
2022 3,903 468 629 5,000
Least               Most

Teacher Attrition at the State Level

For the purpose of examining teacher attrition, the number of teachers from Ohio public schools exiting their teaching role the following year was examined. Teachers exiting the profession due to retirement, career changes or transitioning to other education staff roles, such as principal or district central office administrator, were included in the data set.

Table 10a displays the annual number and percent of teacher attrition in Ohio public schools, which is inclusive of retirements, career changes and transitions to other education staff roles. In comparison to the past six years, the most recent statewide exiting rate—those teachers present in school year 2020-2021 but not in 2021-2022—was slightly elevated for all teachers.  

Table 10a. Statewide trend in annual teacher attrition (by year prior to exit)

School Year Exiting
As Pct. of All Teachers
2012 9,239 8.2%
2013 9,805 8.9%
2014 13,317 12.0%
2015 10,034 9.3%
2016 7,355 6.8%
2017 7,988 7.3%
2018 7,382 6.7%
2019 8,224 7.4%
2020 6,864 6.2%
2021 9,148 8.3%
Least           Most

Tables 10b and 10c show the teacher attrition trends of early- and mid-career teachers. Similar to the overall teacher attrition trends, the largest amount of exiting early- and mid-career teachers took place in 2014 and 2015. The number of early-career (first 5 years) teachers exiting the profession declined year over year between 2016 and 2020, with an increase in 2021. Mid-career (11 to 20 years) teachers exiting fluctuated between 1,500 and 1,800 year over year from 2016 to 2019, followed by a steep decline in 2020 and an increase in 2021. These data suggest teachers may have stayed in their positions after the 2020 school year due to employment uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Table 10b. Statewide trend in annual teacher attrition for early-career teachers (first 5 years)

School Year Exiting Teachers with 5 or Fewer Years of Experience As Pct. of All Teachers with 5 or Fewer Years of Experience As Pct. of All Exiting Teachers
2012 2,619 8.3% 28.3%
2013 2,755 8.6% 28.1%
2014 4,450 12.6% 33.4%
2015 3,175 8.9% 31.6%
2016 3,739 9.3% 50.8%
2017 3,589 9.8% 44.9%
2018 3,345 9.6% 45.3%
2019 3,230 9.9% 39.3%
2020 2,802 9.0% 40.8%
2021 3,180 11.2% 34.8%
Least           Most

Table 10c. Statewide trend in annual teacher attrition for mid-career teachers (11-20 years)

School Year Exiting Teachers with 11-20 Years of Experience As Pct. of All Teachers with 11-20 Years of Experience As Pct. of All Exiting Teachers
2012 2,381 6.1% 25.8%
2013 2,347 6.1% 23.9%
2014 3,249 8.5% 24.4%
2015 2,393 6.5% 23.8%
2016 1,567 4.5% 21.3%
2017 1,771 4.9% 22.2%
2018 1,556 4.4% 21.1%
2019 1,715 4.8% 20.9%
2020 1,375 3.9% 20.0%
2021 1,926 5.6% 21.1%
Least           Most

Credential Comparison Among New, Exiting and “Inactive” Teachers

Table 11 compares the statewide numbers of newly licensed individuals by teaching area to the corresponding number who left the teaching profession over the past five years. Among the common teaching areas, the issuance of new licenses has kept pace with exiting activity in English language arts, math, social studies, science and music. The numbers of individuals with new licenses have trailed somewhat in general elementary education (-17%), career-technical education (-10%) and special education (-21%) and more dramatically in several other teaching areas. In interpreting these differences, it is important to note the license types available have changed over time and may contribute to the discrepancies.

Additionally, all of the teaching areas noted in Table 11 had a substantial number of people holding active teaching credentials in 2021-2022 who were not employed in Ohio public schools (see far right column). In the 2021-2022 school year, there were 43,724 total individuals with active licenses who were not among the reported staff in public schools—a number that has ranged from about 42,000 to 45,500 over the past five years. A portion of the teachers holding licenses and not employed in Ohio public schools could be working at private schools.

Table 11. Number of individuals by license/teaching area category

Area Category
Leaving Teaching Over Past 5 Years Newly Licensed Over Past 5 Years With Teaching License but Not Working in Ohio Public Schools in 2022
Elementary Education 12,861 10,770 19,725
Special Education 7,167 6,897 7,830
English Language Arts 3,482 4,039 5,459
Mathematics 2,814 3,029 3,969
Social Studies 2,758 3,518 4,643
Science 2,606 2,661 3,674
Career and Technical 1,504 1,356 1,264
Physical Education 1,185 590 1,305
Music 1,169 1,417 1,900
World Language 916 698 1,147
Visual Art 791 672 1,084
Health 763 370 820
Business 288 55 323
Communications 226 11 234
Computer Science 164 15 216
Family and Consumer Science 159 20 109
Library/Media 105 52 212

Note: The categorization of subjects in this table differs from earlier analyses in that it is based only on the licensure type and teaching area associated with the credential. The Elementary Education count is inclusive of P-3, K-3, P-5 and 1-8 licenses. Specific subject counts are inclusive of middle school, high school and K-12 licenses. Table is limited to categories with at least 100 total teachers leaving the profession over the past 5 years. 

Table 12 shows the culmination of trends over the past 5 years has led to a statewide workforce with a substantially higher percentage of teachers with more than 20 years of teaching experience: 26.1% in school year 2021-2022 compared to 15.8% in 2016-2017. One possible explanation for the increase is the 2014 change to the State Teachers Retirement System that requires teachers to work more years to receive full retirement benefits.

Table 12. Statewide trend in the distribution of teaching experience

Experience 2012 2017 2022
First year 7.3% 8.0% 5.5%
1 to 5 years 20.4% 25.2% 20.0%
6 to 10 years 19.2% 17.8% 18.9%
11 to 15 years 22.2% 18.9% 15.2%
16 to 20 years 12.7% 14.3% 14.4%
21 to 25 years 8.2% 9.2% 13.8%
26 to 30 years 5.5% 4.7% 8.2%
31+ years 4.4% 1.8% 4.1%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Least               Most

Teacher Attrition at the District Level

An increase in district-level teacher attrition rates—the percent of teachers leaving a district or transitioning to an administrative or non-teaching position (not necessarily leaving the profession)—contributes to increased hiring demands on a district and potentially to a decrease in the regional supply of educators. Likewise, teacher turnover causes disruptions to the school composition [vii] and negatively impacts student learning. [viii]

The most recent teacher attrition rate was higher than the 5-year average for nearly every type of district across all regions of the state. Table 13 shows the most pronounced increases were in the rural and town districts of the Central region, suburban and urban districts of the West region and suburban districts of the Northwest region.

Table 13. teacher attrition rate by region and district type, 2021
(with comparison to 5-year average annual attrition)

Central 12.2% (+3.7) 9.9% (+3.2%) 9.0% (+1.3) 11.8% (+1.9)
Northeast 9.4% (+2.0) 8.3% (+1.9) 7.0% (+1.7) 10.5% (+2.4)
Northwest 9.3% (+1.9) 8.3% (+1.8) 8.0% (+2.8) 10.8% (+2.5)
Southeast 9.5% (+2.3) 9.6% (+1.7) * 8.4% (-0.1)
Southwest 10.5% (-0.3) 8.8% (+1.7) 9.5% (+2.1) 14.5% (+0.6)
West 9.0% (+1.8) 10.5% (+2.1) 9.2% (+3.0) 13.5% (+3.2)
Least               Most

Note: Southeast suburban data is masked since there is only one applicable district.

Substitute Teacher Supply

State-level substitute teacher data include information on the overall supply of licensed substitute teachers and employment data on district-employed substitutes. The employment data represent a minority of the substitutes deployed each school year since many districts employ substitute teachers through their educational service centers or other centralized entities However, the Department does not collect employment or vacancy data on substitute teachers contracted to districts. In response to concerns about the supply of substitute teachers during the pandemic, the General Assembly provided flexibility for districts to hire substitutes who do not hold bachelor’s degrees. This flexibility began with the 2020-2021 school year and is set to expire after the 2023-2024 school year.

As shown in Figure 1, the statewide substitute supply reached a 15-year high in 2020-2021 and remained over 35,700 in 2021-2022. As part of this total, the Department issued 5,238 temporary non-bachelor’s substitute teaching licenses in 2021-2022—made possible through temporary legislation allowing these licenses. Regular teaching and administrative licenses also qualify individuals to serve as substitutes, so the potential supply of substitutes may be higher than the number of substitute licenses. However, the pandemic brought dramatic increases in teacher illness and quarantine that may have outpaced the larger supply of substitutes present during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. 

Figure 1. Trend in number of individuals with valid Ohio substitute teacher licenses

graph that shows the the number of individuals with a valid substitute license skyrocketed in 2021 and 2022

Department Initiatives Addressing Teacher Supply

The Department recognizes it is in the best interest of the education system to ensure an adequate supply of highly effective teachers to support student success. As such, the Department has been working to increase the supply of qualified educators in Ohio. Several initiatives have been implemented to ensure a pipeline of quality teachers committed to the profession.

Addressing the need for substitute teachers:

  • The Department is collaborating with teacher preparation programs to revise Ohio Administrative Code to create a one-year substitute teaching license for college and university students completing their student teaching.
  • The Department is encouraging districts and institutions of higher education with teacher preparation programs to partner to help fill substitute vacancies.
  • The Troops to Teachers program actively recruits veterans as substitute teachers, primarily as an interim step to full licensure through the alternative licensure pathways.

Supporting the teacher pipeline:

  • The Department has partnered with the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the deans of Ohio’s educator preparation programs to establish a collaborative focused on addressing educator shortages. In fall of 2022, this collaborative convened five regional educator shortage summits across the state to gather interested parties to work towards solutions at a regional level.
  • The Department has been working with the Ohio Department of Higher Education and Apprenticeship Ohio to create a teacher apprenticeship program, with the expectation that districts would partner with educator preparation programs to fill local needs through apprenticeships. 
  • All application and evaluation fees are waived for active-duty military, spouses of active-duty military and veterans.
  • The Department continues to develop the Human Capital Management Resource Center, which provides guidance and tools for district administrators and central office staff to attract, hire, retain and support teachers and other educators.
  • The Department worked with the Management Council of the Ohio Education Computer Network to create a free, online job posting board as a centralized tool for educational service centers, districts and schools.
  • The Department implemented licensure changes to expand opportunities for teacher re-entry into the workforce:
  • The Department supports districts seeking to diversify and expand their local teacher pipelines through expedited licensure pathways, including the Alternative Resident Educator teacher pathway for individuals with bachelor’s degrees.
  • Federal funds supported states with projects that effectively recruit and retain teachers of color from underrepresented groups. The Department used these funds to offer grants to districts to diversify and develop grow-your-own teacher programs.
  • The Department offered grant opportunities to schools and districts to start new Educators Rising chapters to encourage high school students to enter the teaching profession.
  • Ohio has joined a multi-state collaboration to further develop workforce metrics, such as retention and mobility, with available Ohio data that can be tracked over time; other resources will include a talent data and mapping tool to monitor trends more locally.

Sources and Notes


  • Grade bands – Elementary (K-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
  • Proper certification - A “properly certified or licensed teacher” has successfully completed all requirements for certification or licensure in the subject of the teaching assignment and currently holds that corresponding license. For teachers to be properly certified or licensed, according to ORC 3319.074(2), their teaching assignments must align with their license parameters in all the following ways:
    • Subject areas in which they provide instruction, including core academic subjects; and
    • Grade levels in which they provide instruction; and
    • With the student population to whom the teacher provides instruction, such as gifted, regular education or special education.
  • Full-time equivalent (FTE) is a unit of measurement for counting teachers by weighting each teacher by the teacher’s compensated hours as a proportion of total possible compensable hours over a school year before summarizing to the school, district or state level. FTE also applies to students with regard to their time of enrollment as a proportion of total possible enrollment time.
  1. Veneri, Carolyn M. “Can occupational labor shortages be identified using available data?” Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 1999,
  2. Sutcher, L., Darling-Hammond, L., & Carver-Thomas, D. 2016. A coming crisis in teaching? Teacher supply, demand and shortages in the U.S. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute.
  3. Bleiberg, Joshua, and Matthew A. Kraft. (2022). What Happened to the K-12 Education Labor Market During COVID? The Acute Need for Better Data Systems. (EdWorkingPaper: 22-544). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:
  4. Lieberman, M. “How Bad Are School Staffing Shortages? What We Learned by Asking Administrators.” Education Week, 22 Oct. 2021,
  5. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, School Pulse Panel (2021–22). Retrieved December 2, 2022, from
  6. United States Department of Education. 2021. Title II Reports: National Teacher Preparation Data., accessed June 15, 2022.
  7. Papay, J. P., Bacher-Hicks, A., Page, L. C., & Marinell, W. H. (2017). The challenge of teacher retention in urban schools: Evidence of variation from a cross-site analysis. Educational Researcher, 46(8), 434–448.
  8. Ronfeldt, M., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2013). How teacher turnover harms student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 50(1), 4–36.

Originally published: April 2023

Last Modified: 5/18/2023 2:09:02 PM