eLuma survey of more than 700 elementary and secondary school therapists reveals that the Great Resignation may be coming to K-12
Recently, we released the Outlook for K-12 Therapy & Special Education Professions report, revealing that under-compensated therapists are burning out and considering a career change.
“Our K-12 professionals in schools across the country are some of the most dedicated in the world, but as with any role, factors such as prolonged pressures of the pandemic, longer hours, economic inflation, and stagnant wages may be leading to a ‘Great Resignation’ moment for therapists and special education professionals,” said eLuma Founder and CEO Jeremy Glauser. “Schools and districts have limited options to correct the fundamental challenges facing therapists. The good news is we still have time to shake up the model to attract and retain more talented people in these vital roles.”
In this survey, we polled more than 700 therapists and special education professionals in K-12 schools across the country. The study assessed how satisfied these education professionals are and how confident they are in their career outlook.
Key findings include:
- 52 percent of therapists experiencing burnout said they’ll leave the profession within five years, and 69 percent experiencing elevated work stress said they’ve looked for a new position recently.
- Compensation was the most commonly cited reason for discontent, with half of respondents saying they feel undercompensated and only 29 percent reporting satisfaction with their compensation.
- 75 percent of “extremely undercompensated” therapists said they were actively looking for a new role.
- 2 in 5 speech-language pathologists said they plan to leave the profession within five years, the highest percentage among therapists polled. Physical therapists were least likely to leave their profession (28 percent).
- 2 in 3 therapists reported feeling respected in their profession, compared with 28 percent who said they feel a lack of professional respect.
- The top reported reasons for burnout were documentation and paperwork (71 percent), heavy caseloads (50 percent), and disrespect from non-clinical staff (43 percent).
The report’s findings reflect sentiments recently published in The Hill. Author Sam Farmer, an autism spectrum writer and contributor, reported that burnout is exceptionally high for teachers who work with students who think, act, and learn differently and “special education teachers have been leaving the field at almost double the rate of general education teachers, often due to stress, low pay, and risks to their own physical health.”
“We’re seeing the early warning signs of a problem that could have generational impacts if we don’t act, and we can’t afford to have at-risk young people fall behind because we’re unable to take care of the educators and therapists who dedicate their professions to building them up,” said Glauser. “There is hope, though, for turning the ‘Great Resignation’ into the ‘Great Comeback,’ and that will involve bringing to the table more creative solutions to address this slow-burning crisis.”