The future of education in Idaho could be in jeopardy due to a teacher shortage.
If kids are your calling, you don't necessarily have to go back to school.
Last Spring, educational leaders in the Gem state were calling the shortage a "teacher famine" because they said the situation had become so severe. Now predictions show it will likely get worse and enrollment in Idaho schools is projected to increase 14.5 percent by the year 2025, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
"We're hitting that time now that a lot of teachers are retiring from the school districts and traditionally trained teachers are not coming out of the universities fast enough or in enough subjects," says Cherri Sabala, a local ABCTE Program representative. "There's a lot of demand for math, special ed and science teachers."
One local mother of four, who attended an informational session Saturday on how to become a certified teacher, wants to be a part of the solution.
"My eldest daughter is actually autistic and has ADHD. So, I see how caring, how wonderful they [the teachers] are with her," says Tia Chavarria, an aspiring teacher. "I get to see the home side of it but it would be amazing to be an influence on the school side of it as well."
Chavarria meets the requirement of already having a bachelor's degree. She is excited to enroll in the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence Program, or ABCTE. It's all online and you can go at your own pace.
Programs like ABCTE open up the possibility for school districts and charter schools to draw from talent that's already within communities.
Once certified, Chavarria hopes to make a difference working for the Boise School District as an elementary level, special education teacher.
"As a teacher, you can influence their lives just by getting to know them that much more," she says.
The average age of those enrolled in the program is 39, and 85 percent of those who get ABCTE certified stick with it.