Recruiting military veterans to address teacher shortages is an effective strategy that can benefit school districts. Why? Because veterans bring unique skills, experiences, and training that can be valuable in teaching.

You see, many veterans have experience working in diverse and challenging environments, developing leadership and teamwork skills, and handling stressful situations, all of which can translate well to the classroom.

As a young officer, I had the opportunity to be stationed at the “school house” for my military expertise. But first, let me explain the term “schoolhouse.” The “schoolhouse” is where soldiers are stationed to learn their expertise. It is the military’s version of a technical college.

While at the “schoolhouse,” I had the opportunity to work in several different positions. One of my jobs was writing curriculum and training manuals with a team of subject matter experts. I also was certified as a platform instructor, allowing me to train personnel from all five branches of the military.

My time at the “schoolhouse” equipped me with the skills I used throughout my career and help prepare me to be an educator.

Creating and delivering information is critical for every military officer and educator. As a result, when I became an educator, I was prepared with the basics of lesson design. So, while I had to learn the pedagogy of teaching children, I had a solid foundation to build on.

So, recruiting military veterans will allow school districts to tap into an often-overlooked pool of potential teachers. Many veterans have already completed some college education and may be interested in pursuing a career in teaching; however, they may not be aware of the opportunities available to them.

By reaching out to veterans and offering them pathways to teacher certification and licensure, school districts can potentially increase the number of qualified applicants for teaching positions.

To assist with this process, several states have passed legislation to make it easier for veterans to become alternatively certified teachers:

  • In 2019, Louisiana passed a law that streamlined the process for military veterans to become certified teachers.
  • Also, in 2020, Utah passed a law enabling veterans with relevant experience in specific fields to become teachers without completing a traditional teacher preparation program.
  • Similarly, in 2021, Indiana passed a law that allows veterans with relevant professional experience to become teachers without completing a traditional teacher preparation program.

These are just a few of several examples…

Is there also a benefit for the school district due to the legislative changes? Yes! Because the legislative changes can provide additional pathways for veterans to enter the teaching profession. They can also help school districts to address the ongoing teacher shortage crisis.

By providing more flexible pathways to teacher certification and licensure, school districts can potentially increase the number of qualified veteran applicants for teaching positions and recruit individuals with diverse experiences and backgrounds.

Now, it’s essential to note that while veterans may have many valuable skills and experiences, they may also face unique challenges when transitioning to civilian life and entering the teaching profession. Therefore, some veterans may require additional support to navigate the complex process of becoming certified teachers, and school districts should be prepared to provide this support.

“The future depends on what you do today.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

While recruiting military veterans and utilizing alternative certification pathways can effectively address teacher shortages, school districts need a comprehensive recruiting and retention plan that includes multiple strategies for attracting and retaining high-quality teachers.

By leveraging these strategies, school districts can create a competitive advantage that benefits their students and communities.

Is your district tapping the potential of military veterans as teachers?


Are you a classroom teacher, school administrator, or central office staff member looking for more educational guidance? Then join me for the Moore Leadership Moment on YouTube.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.