Key Takeaways

  • The pandemic, cost of living, social perceptions of the teaching profession and more have highlighted the antiquated model of teacher pipelines.
  • With new technologies and new responsibilities, the role of the educator is shifting. Our pathways programs must be nimble enough to adapt. 


Imagine a respected teaching profession that attracts some of the best talent in both caregiving and learning development and content expertise. New educator pathways and experiences make it easier to identify teacher talent, retain current teachers, and ensure that teachers are set up for success.


The landscape of teacher recruitment and pathways into the profession is undergoing significant transformation. Traditional routes into teaching are no longer sufficient to meet the diverse needs of schools and students across the globe. The driving forces behind these changes include a persistent teacher shortage exacerbated by the pandemic, evolving educational technologies, and a growing recognition of the need for a more diverse teaching workforce that reflects the student population. Additionally, the financial and time investment required by conventional teacher preparation programs has made the profession less accessible to many potential candidates.

Efforts to address these challenges have led to innovative solutions and signs of progress. One notable development is the rise of apprenticeship programs in teaching. These programs offer a “learn while you earn” model that provides aspiring teachers with hands-on classroom experience under the mentorship of experienced educators while also allowing them to earn a salary. This initiative is well underway through Federal programs.

Additionally, initiatives like Launch Pad demonstrate a forward-thinking approach to teacher recruitment and education reform. By integrating technology and real-world experience into the curriculum, such programs aim to prepare students for high-paying tech careers directly out of high school, offering an alternative to traditional college pathways. This approach acknowledges the changing landscape of work and the increasing importance of technology skills across professions, including teaching.


The New Teacher Project (TNTP) focuses on impacting how teachers enter and succeed in the classroom from the angles of advocacy, policy, and action. TNTP works  alongside districts to build teacher residency programs that meet the needs of their communities and provide teachers with the resources to thrive as educators as well as  advocating on behalf of teacher interns for equitable working conditions and competitive pay. To ensure lasting and impactful change occurs TNTP partners with other organizations to increase the number of teachers across the nation. 

Design Principle - Intentional


The Center for Black Educator Development partners with high schools to develop a pipeline for future black educators using culturally relevant practices and curriculum by establishing Teaching Academies on high school campuses. Student interns receive a semester of emotional and instructional support, and culturally rich coaching. They can graduate high school with an associate’s degree and a certificate to work as a paraprofessional. Students are also eligible for a teaching fellowship and scholarships  through partnerships with local Philadelphia universities. 


Next Education Workforce, a project of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, builds the capacity of teams of professionals working with larger groups of students. These roles within the team are specialized based on skill sets. The core elements of the Next Education Workforce model include teams of educators with different expertise sharing a roster of students, deeper and more personalized learning and innovative pathways to professional learning and advancement. Designated team leaders and extended specialized team members (special educators, reading specialists, etc.) support the core group of educators (read about the Stevenson Elementary, AZ journey here). This radical shift in the role of the teacher and the staffing model is a great way to attract and retain talent. 


The National Center for Grow Your Own supports teacher and leadership  apprenticeship models at the local, state and national level. These programs often connect educators with opportunities in their communities and result in low-no-cost placements for developing and nurturing skills. This apprenticeship model also ensures that educators are paid for their time and Districts and organizations seeking to build mentorship programs can work in conjunction with The National Center for Grow Your Own to navigate varying state and federal policies. 

Teaching Apprenticeships Town Hall

On this Getting Smart Town Hall we heard from experts on what a modern apprenticeship system looks like and policies and federal initiatives that are underway to create earn and learn opportunities in technology and teaching pathways.

Considerations for Getting Started

Expand and promote apprenticeship programs.

Advocate for expanding apprenticeship programs within the education sector. Highlight their benefits to potential teachers and lobby for state and federal support to increase their availability and accessibility.

Invest in mentorship and support systems.

Develop robust mentorship and support systems for new teachers, including those entering through non-traditional pathways. Ensuring new educators feel supported and valued is crucial for retention and job satisfaction.

Emphasize diversity and inclusion

Actively work to recruit a more diverse teaching workforce. This includes not only racial and ethnic diversity but also diversity of experiences and backgrounds. A more diverse teaching staff can better address the needs of a diverse student population.

Leverage technology.

Integrate technology into teacher training and professional development. This prepares teachers to use the latest educational technologies effectively and adapt to the rapidly evolving digital landscape of the classroom.

Facilitate allternative certification pathways.

Streamline the process for individuals seeking to enter the teaching profession through alternative certification pathways. This could include reducing bureaucratic hurdles, offering financial incentives, and providing clear and accessible information about the requirements and benefits of these pathways.