ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New York could face a worsening teacher shortage crisis over the next decade.

New York is expected to need 180,000 new teachers in the next decade, but there may not be enough educators to fill those roles. The Board of Regents is trying to alleviate that. This week, they changed the certification requirements needed to teach all grades. What was once 100 hours of in-class teaching is now 50. 

New York’s student population is expected to grow by 61,000 in the next seven years, but those enrolled in the state’s teacher enrollment programs have decreased by 49%.

Jim Baldwin is New York’s Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy. He says there are various factors at play when it comes to the cause of this shortage including other career opportunities and the high cost of receiving a bachelor’s degree. 

Baldwin says teacher certification in New York is a complex system that has changed over time, “So we’re really trying to respond to the field, respond to the conditions that our school districts are experiencing when it comes to being able to hire appropriately certified teachers and looking at each of the major certifications of teachers in New York.”

Baldwin also adds that this recent change will allow teachers to have more mobility in their careers. “What this ‘all grades literacy certificate’ will do is really provide teachers with an opportunity who are focused on the elementary grades to move into the middle and high school grades if they choose to do so or vice versa,” Baldwin said. 

Baldwin acknowledges there are issues going on that may discourage prospective teachers, but he hopes the benefits of being an educator outweigh that. “There are so many rewards to being a teacher and to working in schools and to help children self-actualize,” he said.

The Education Department believes this will not only help to fix the teacher shortage, but it will also focus on specific obstacles for those entering the profession.