Asee peer logo

Transition To Teaching: Perceptions, Interest, And Barriers In Stem Education

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Enhancing K-12 STEM Education with Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1279.1 - 14.1279.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Adrie Koehler Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

author page

Eugenia Fernandez Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

author page

Charles Feldhaus Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Transition to Teaching: Perceptions, Interest, and Barriers in STEM Education


Highly trained secondary teachers with hands-on industry experience will always be needed in the education world. With an increasing number of teaching positions going unfilled each year, school corporations have great difficulty in hiring qualified individuals who are certified to teach. In response, many universities in Indiana, such as Indiana State University, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and Ball State University, offer transition to teaching programs. These educational programs allow professionals possessing baccalaureate degrees in relevant areas to take educational coursework in appropriate instructional methods, curriculum development, and assessment techniques to become licensed secondary teachers. As a result, the transition to teaching model helps career changers move from industry to the classroom.

In recent years, the U.S. government has placed emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiatives1. As a reaction to STEM education being viewed as a top priority, state departments of education have increased the number of STEM-related high school graduation requirements2. With more high school graduation requirements in STEM areas, clearly, more STEM teachers are needed to instruct in these fields.

As a result of secondary education shortages and the governmental emphasis on STEM education, there has been an increase in the number of organizations offering incentives to encourage individuals with STEM backgrounds to teach in high-need schools located in urban and rural areas. Organizations such as Math for America offer fellowships to individuals willing to become certified math educators and then teach in high-need urban areas, specifically in the following cities: New York City, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC ( Likewise, North Carolina A & T State University offers fellowships and benefits to individuals interested in becoming certified to teach math or science in high-need rural schools ( Responding to both urban and rural needs, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation offers fellowships to individuals willing to become certified and teach STEM subjects in secondary schools ( All of these organizations recruit individuals possessing baccalaureate degrees in relevant areas. Additionally, individuals completing the three mentioned programs will not only become certified teachers, but also earn master degrees.

Literature Review

Over the next several years, demand for teachers in the United States is expected to grow considerably. In fact, “the U.S. Department of Education has estimated that 2.2 million teachers will be required by 2010”3. Nearly a third of the teaching vacancies will be attributed to retirement4. With predictions that almost a third of the current teaching population will retire by 2015, the result will be approximately 700,000 teachers leaving the profession due to retirement3.

Although many teachers will be leaving education as a result of retirement, this is not the only factor contributing to teacher shortages. Other teachers are leaving the occupation after only minimal time spent in the classroom. One study indicates that almost “one-third of all new teachers in the United States leave the teaching field within their first 3 years of teaching and almost 50% may leave within

Koehler, A., & Fernandez, E., & Feldhaus, C. (2009, June), Transition To Teaching: Perceptions, Interest, And Barriers In Stem Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5214

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015