Ever wonder how many teachers there are in the U.S.? We’ve got the answer! Plus, find out how many work in public vs. private schools, the number of teachers by grade levels, and much more.
All the following data is according to MDR Education as of 2022.
How many teachers are there in the U.S.?
All together, there are 4,007,908 teachers in the United States. This includes all K-12 public and private schools, plus adult education and career/technical schools. Teachers account for about 2.5% of the working population.
Teacher Numbers by Grade Levels
There are 11,355 total public and private schools in the U.S. that cover all grades K-12 (that’s just under 10% of schools). These schools that combine grades K-12 employ 291,724 teachers. That’s about 7% of the total number of teachers in the U.S. Otherwise, most students attend schools broken down by grade level.
Elementary School Teachers
There are 2,006,810 teachers that work in elementary schools, more than half the total number of teachers. Elementary schools are generally defined as kindergarten through fifth grade, though some include sixth grade and some continue to eighth grade.
Middle School Teachers
Middle schools, usually sixth through eighth grade, employ 545,325 teachers, while junior highs (seventh and eighth, and sometimes ninth) account for another 96,160. All together, they make up about 16% of the teacher population.
High School Teachers
About a quarter of teachers work in high schools (24.7%), totaling 992,386. U.S. high schools usually serve grades nine through twelve.
State and County School Teachers
Many states operate educational organizations that provide instruction to the public. These are primarily in the form of special services in special education or career and technical education, such as state-run schools for the deaf and the blind. There are 102,598 teachers that work in state-run schools in the U.S.
Individual counties within states may also run their own schools, often to provide special services such as special needs, adult education, and career and technical education. Some county schools are administered by county superintendents’ offices; others are independent. County schools account for 14,870 teachers.
Other Types of Teachers
Special Education School Teachers
While many students with disabilities attend their local public schools, some attend special schools that can better focus on helping them succeed. There are 39,311 teachers who dedicate their time to special education schools, making up just under 1% of the teacher population.
Career and Technical School Teachers
There are 31,821 teachers who work in career and technical schools, which offer students real-world job skills. These schools may replace some or all of the traditional high school years, and give students hands-on experience so they can enter the workforce immediately after graduating.
Some schools specifically serve adults instead of children. There are 4,461 teachers who work in adult education, helping students learn a new language, earn their GED, or explore enrichment topics.
How many teachers work in public vs. private schools?
Most teachers in the U.S. work in public schools: a total of 3,525,397. This category includes organizations that provide free instruction to the public, operated by a public school district. These schools may be for elementary- and secondary-age children, adult education, career and technical education, and special needs students. Public school teachers account for 88% of the teachers in the U.S.
Some federally funded public schools in the U.S. are located on Indian reservations and are run by local Native American tribal councils. These are known as Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, and they’re part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). There are 2,857 teachers that work in these schools.
Private and Catholic schools account for about 9% of teachers. There are 234,682 teachers who work in private (non-Catholic) schools, while 127,504 teach in Catholic schools. These schools usually require students to pay tuition and may cover grades K-12, including special needs. They also include privately run career/technical and adult education organizations.
Charter and Magnet School Teachers
Magnet and charter schools are both publicly funded schools. Magnet schools are part of the traditional public school system, but they usually offer a specific focus on subjects like STEM or the performing arts. Currently, 89,598 teachers work in magnet schools, and 23,159 work in STEM schools. All together, they make up about 3% of public school teachers.
Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run. Rather than being bound by state education laws, these schools create their own contracts (known as “charters”). Charter schools in the U.S. employ 198,621 teachers.
Other Teacher Statistics
Title I School Teachers
Title I schools are those that receive additional federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education due to the high percentage of low-income families they serve. About 47% of public schools currently qualify for Title I funding, and 2,066,541 teachers work at those schools.
Blue Ribbon School Teachers
The U.S. Department of Education also recognizes Blue Ribbon schools. These include both public and private schools that either attain overall high academic achievement or help to close the achievement gap for under-achieving populations. Blue Ribbon schools are recognized once a year, with 291 named in the U.S. in 2022. Those schools employ 12,465 teachers, making them just 0.3% of the total number of teachers in the country.
Year-Round School Teachers
Though most schools hold classes 180 days a year, with a substantial break during the summer, there are several thousand year-round schools and they employ 79,168 teachers.
Virtual School Teachers
Virtual schools have gained popularity in recent years but still make up just a tiny fraction of the total. These schools are held entirely online and allow students to attend classes in an environment that suits their personal needs. There are less than a thousand of these schools in the U.S., and 15,781 people work as virtual teachers.
Now that you know how many teachers are in the U.S., take a look at 12 Powerful Statistics That Prove Why Teachers Matter.