Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Robyne Elder

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. Kelly Manning


Research has shown teachers are the most important factor when determining student success, even with the field of education in a constant state of uncertainty. Schools all over the nation are struggling to acquire quality teachers into their buildings, and teacher preparation programs are having a difficult time producing enough teacher candidates. This study investigated what initial jobs students choose to take in their first year after completing an educational degree from one study university’s teacher preparation program, through numerous secondary data points and a participant survey. The quantitative data suggests that recent graduates are just as likely to go to an at-risk or failing school as they are to go to a non-at-risk school, which did not necessarily align with qualitative results. The qualitative data conveyed that decisions on employment were made using a myriad of factors, and there were no data suggesting that one specific idea or factor was more important than another. Recommendations include more collaboration between teacher preparation programs and school districts, as well as varied and increased student teaching experiences for teacher candidates.

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