Hundreds of Oklahoma college students are about to graduate with education degrees. There are plenty of available teaching jobs, and a lot of good paying ones are in other states.
Tuesday, Northeastern State had a job fair for their spring graduates, and while their students fill a lot of classrooms in Oklahoma, we found they're being recruited to other states with better pay and benefits.
When NSU has a job fair, recruiters come from all over - like Kansas - offering $10,000 towards student loans.
Kansas recruiter John Maples said, “We've only got two or three working for us from Oklahoma right now, but I'd like to get a few more.”
And New Mexico, offering tuition towards a master’s.
"Fingers crossed I'll hire a couple more this year," said New Mexico recruiter Wiliam Hawkins.
Other states compete with local districts, so NSU's 134 spring graduates have their choice of employers.
“It's very interesting that they're coming here to Oklahoma to recruit teachers back to their own state,” said student Dayna Philmon.
While it's easy for education graduates to find a job, students are choosing other fields; NSU's education enrollment is down by 50 students from two years ago.
Dean of Education Dr. Debbie Landry said, "While we work hard to be out there recruiting for the field of education, it's important to know we want to retain those graduates in our state to help with the shortage in Oklahoma."
For some students, that choice is easy.
“I grew up in Oklahoma, I went to school here and I feel like it's my duty to give back to the kids growing up here. I'm an Oklahoman forever," Tabytha Russell said.
But Texas, in particular, makes the choice more difficult, with a starting salary of $51,500.
Texas recruiter Gaylon Garrison said, "Also with a signing bonus if you're bilingual, or high school math or science teacher, and that's not a one-time stipend, that's as long as you teach."
That leaves some students who were trained here, who want to teach here, looking out of state.
“I know that some of the districts are making budget cuts, so the opportunities may not be there as they used to be. So I'm definitely having to expand my horizons beyond what my first choices are,” student Steven Wolf said.
NSU has a growing number of students in special ed. Course - that's one of the higher-paying positions in teaching.