TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – New data from the Florida Education Foundation shows that the state is facing a critical shortage of teachers, leaving hundreds of jobs available in Tampa Bay.

Teachers across the state have been fighting for better conditions.

Hillsborough County has also pay scales, as 8 On Your Side previously reported, making it difficult for counties to recruit out-of-state instructors, and that is reflected in the data coming from this year’s FEA count of advertised vacancies from 66 of Florida’s 67 school district websites.

FEA found 3,578 full-time vacancies in Florida this month. While that number is down from 4,063 vacancies last year on the same date, FEA spokeswoman Joni Branch says it is still higher than the two previous years.

For the more than 3,500 full-time teaching vacancies in Florida, approximately 3,000 students are without a full-time teacher.

Teaching vacancies by year

Take a look at how full-time teaching vacancies have been trending in Florida. Hover over the bar to see the exact number.


Source: Florida Education Association

“We have seen several districts, such as Hillsborough, making special efforts to recruit new teachers,” Branch said. “Other districts, such as Lake, have been working harder to retain experienced teachers.”

Hillsborough County is making a dent in the state’s critical teaching deficit.

As of late July, the school district had more than 1,100 newly-hired teachers. However, the district still has nearly 300 vacancies, according to its recruiting website, Frontline Education.

Public School vacancies in Tampa Bay

 According to a 2018 report by the USDE Office of Postsecondary Education, Florida’s teacher shortage is concentrated to these areas:

  • General science
  • Earth and space science
  • English
  • Math
  • English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • Reading
  • Exceptional Student Education (ESE)

Reflective of that report, much of Polk County and Sarasota County’s needs includes many special education instructors and ESE.

“Many districts still rely on long-term substitutes to fill a substantial number of classroom” Branch said. “Kids deserve full-time, certified teachers in all of our public schools. We know what Florida needs to do to recruit and retain certified teachers. Fair, competitive pay is at the top of the list, and that pay needs to come as a salary.”