Ahead of Teacher Appreciation Week 2017, University of Phoenix® College of Education commissioned an survey to better understand why America’s teachers enjoy teaching, what they struggle with on a day-to-day basis, and why they would recommend their profession to others.

The University of Phoenix survey of 1,001 U.S. full-time K-12 teachers conducted online in spring 2017, revealed that a high majority of teachers are satisfied with their career choice, and that they would also recommend their profession to others. However, as the nation faces a teacher shortage1, our country’s educators are feeling the pressure in the classroom. The findings show that while teachers are generally happy, the shortage has led to larger class sizes and created high teacher turnover rates, among other issues. In fact, 41 percent of teachers reported at least one unfilled teaching position at their school.

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The most reported side effect of the teacher shortage is larger class sizes, followed by high teacher turnover rates and the need for teachers to teach “toward the middle.”


A third of teachers today started their careers in a different field and made the change to teaching. Of teachers that are career changers, 36 percent of those come from the business and management field.

Although there is a shortage in the profession, almost all teachers report being happy in their careers, with a strong majority stating that they would recommend their profession to others.


Most teachers would recommend their profession because they enjoy the opportunity to positively impact and make a difference in their students’ lives.


Additional Findings

A third of teachers are career changers

  • 64% of educators agree that “real world” experience is a benefit of having a career changer lead the classroom
  • 48% of teachers agree that career changers bring fresh ideas to the education environment
  • 46% agree that career changers bring more teacher diversity to the school
  • 42% responded that career changers add unique teaching styles and perspectives on the material being taught
  • 85% of respondents who have been teaching for more than 20 years see the benefits to having career changers in the classroom

Teachers feel that they have more opportunities to assume leadership roles than in the past

  • 47% of those who have worked five years or more in the profession say they have gotten more opportunities to assume leadership roles in the past five years
  • Out of those, 56% serve on special committees
  • Additional opportunities for leadership include mentoring (45%) and running special after-school programs (34%)


1 https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/pol/tsa.pdf


This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between March 29 and April 3, 2017. Respondents included 1,001 U.S. residents employed full-time as teachers in grades K-12 who have at least an undergraduate degree. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Amanda Barchilon.