Selected helps thousands of teachers find new jobs. From these conversations, we discovered that many job seekers are unclear about when public and private, Pre-K to 12 schools hire teachers for the next school year. Selected also helps over a thousand school recruitment teams at district, charter, independent, and religious schools hire teachers. This article shares observations and insights into school hiring trends so that job seekers can better prepare, apply, interview, and secure new teaching jobs for the next school year. Different types of schools hire at different points in the calendar year, and earlier than many realize. The cost of missing a hiring window is high — you might find yourself excluded from great opportunities or forced to wait a full year for another chance to join a school you love.
Different Schools, Different Hiring Seasons
We are surprised by how many teachers accidentally miss a hiring cycle and resign themselves to waiting a full year, sub long-term, or even take temporary, non-teaching work.
The following information intentionally generalizes nuanced hiring trends to provide a rule of thumb. If you are looking for a new role for the next school year, we hope this articles makes it easier for you to remember (during a busy school year) when to start a job search.
Below is a summary diagram of the general hiring seasons for independent, charter, and district schools:
Ultimately, hiring deadlines are set by specifics schools that you want to join, so do the appropriate research. Mid-school year hiring is a different subject that we’ll cover in a separate article (we did add some notes in the sections below).
We observe ebbs and flows in hiring seasons, even within a single season. Competing needs drive activity, examples include:
- Known needs: New school year, persistent demand for scarce specialties (e.g., STEM, special ed, teachers of color).
- Anticipated needs: Student enrollment growth, involuntary terminations from performance reviews.
- Semi-anticipated needs: Teacher renewal rate, parental leave rate.
- Unanticipated needs: Unexpected resignations, involuntary terminations (e.g., a new hire not being a fit), teachers reneging on renewal commitments during the summer (e.g., they were interviewing and found a new role), teachers leaving the region (or profession).
The reasons above drive schools to hire throughout the year, but also result in a distinct hiring season with a clear start, peak, and effective end. Understand the rhythm and use it to your advantage, as you prepare, search, apply, and interview to get job offers.
Independent Schools Hiring Season
- Independent Schools: Include all types of private schools, such as parochial and religious schools, day schools, and boarding schools — both nonprofit and for-profit
- School Year Starts: August or September (often before public schools)
- Hiring Starts: December
- Interview Activity Peaks: February to March
- Hiring Mostly Done: April to May
- Start early! Many candidates who we speak to are caught unprepared and miss out on great opportunities. This means preparing your resume and applying by December.
- Focus on independent schools first: Then switch to other school types by early March. But remember to manage these processes in parallel.
- Survey the range of schools: Independent schools are very diverse. Take the time to compare and contrast different schools and research specific schools that would be a good fit for your skills and experiences.
- Highlight extracurriculars: Many Independent Schools look to hire faculty members that can lead after-school activities. So, if you are a former athlete, passionate about writing, crafts, etc. make that known!
- Can I still get jobs after peak season? Yes, schools will continue to fill their open positions. Continue to apply and reach out to Independent Schools even after March because they may still be looking. Some schools don’t update their job listings immediately so some jobs may actually be unavailable, while others are actually available!
Charter Schools Hiring Season
- Public Charter Schools: Include a diverse range of schools from large, non-profit or for-profit Charter Management Organization (CMO) networks to individual community charter schools
- School Year Starts: Late August to early September (could be similar to, or just before, district schools. There are also schools that run all year.)
- Hiring Starts: March
- Interview Activity Peaks: April to July
- Hiring Mostly Done: August
- Research differences: Not all charter schools are created equal. There are many different types of schools — and they operate very differently. Understand the specifics of a particular school’s process steps, timing, application requirements, culture, values, and pedagogy. If you want to discover tons of great schools in your area that you might not have heard of, check out Selected.
- Follow application steps carefully: Charter schools frequently have similar recruitment processes to district schools. Even if you connect with a recruiter through a school’s website, job board, job search app, or career fair — they may still ask you to complete a comprehensive application at some point during the interview process. Many larger networks use an Applicant Tracking System and collect specific data on all candidates for internal reporting on recruiting, planning and budgeting, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, or tracking against on-the-job performance.
- Ask schools if they practice an “Extended Day” model: This means teachers are expected to work with students until 4 or 5 p.m. each day (many schools do compensate for this time). Make sure that you’re aware of the school model and any expectations interviewers may have for you to go beyond “traditional” school hours.
- Continued hiring: Like other school types, charter schools continue to hire well through the summer and even make last-minute hires in the fall. CMOs that operate a large number of schools usually have vacancies throughout the entire school year.
District Schools Hiring Season
- Public District Schools: Include small to large district, public schools
- School Year Starts: Beginning of September
- Hiring Starts: April
- Interview Activity Peaks: April to July
- Hiring Mostly Done: August
- Find an “in”: Many teachers are hired through referrals, so finding a friend inside the school system or speaking directly to a principal helps tremendously. These internal advocates can keep a lookout for your application on the central system and speak up for you during the interview phase. So, try to do this step before applying via the website.
- Apply via a central website: Typically, candidates can apply through a central website for multiple district schools. The advantage is being able to apply to many schools at once, the disadvantage is varying degrees of control and transparency into which school you’ll end up at. Applying through this type of site is usually a good idea if you already know the districts that you want work for.
- Keep an eye open for mid-year jobs: Depending on the district, schools may continue to hire past their peak hiring season and well into the school year. If teacher retention is a big issue for a district, schools may steadily look for many new teachers throughout the year.
Job Search Recommendations
To find a new teaching job and school that you love (by deciding from several, compelling offers), consider the below recommendations that we frequently tell Selected users:
- Start early and let Selected do the work for you. Don’t miss out because you’re not spending all of your time job searching. Flip the script. Tell Selected what you want, sit back, and have schools (of all types and locations) reach out to you first. Create a profile to get started.
- Develop an intimate understanding of hiring dynamics: Different school types have very different processes and hiring seasons — adapt your approach.
- Run a parallel process for different school types: Receiving offers at the same time is crucial in leveraging them into the best situation for yourself (e.g., compensation, responsibilities, school fit). Here are tips for negotiating teaching job offers.
- Prioritize school quality and fit: These will have the greatest impact on your long-term career growth. This is why our app asks you (and schools) culture questions — we show you schools that we believe are a great fit.
- Be inclusive: Have an open mind to discover amazing schools that may surprise you. We see some candidates self-imposing limitations (e.g., “I only want to work for a district school in this one area”) and missing out on great opportunities.
- Figure out who is currently hiring: Don’t waste your time applying to a school that doesn’t need you. Check out the websites of schools you are interested in, or use a modern app like Selected that matches you only with actively hiring recruiters and principals.
- Find an insider: Network and leverage relationships at schools you are interested in. The probability of getting a job increases significantly if you have an internal advocate, or you can connect directly with a decision maker.
- Don’t give up because you didn’t get initial traction: For schools, needs change constantly. A “no” now can turn into a “yes” later, so keep reaching out.
Selected helps teachers find jobs at schools they love. We offer a free school matching and career support platform for teachers that connects them with 1,100+ PK-12 public and independent schools in urban metro areas in the Northeast and West Coast, including New York City, NJ, CT, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, and Los Angeles. Create a FREE profile and start speaking with hiring schools immediately!