BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Schools across the ArkLaTex are reopening in a few weeks, but a growing problem across the nation is a shortage of teachers. Now, schools are working to fill the deficit.

“At this present time, we have about 50 teachers that we continue to look for,” said Bossier Parish Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey. “We encourage alternative certification for people who want to get crossover certifications.”

This means if you have a 4-year college degree, regardless of major or specialty, you can become a teacher in Louisiana.

“There’s a fast track called our alternate certification in Louisiana, where we can get them certified quickly to be eligible for hiring,” said Bossier Parish Schools Human Resources Director Sherri Pool. “And they finish their certification while they’re teaching as a teacher with a practitioner’s license.”

The shortage is not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a steady decrease of career pursuit over the past two decades.

“The number of people that are in the teacher and education programs has decreased in the universities across the United States in the last 15-20 years, fourfold, so everybody is in the same boat,” Downey said.

If you have ever thought about shaping the lives of America’s youth, now is your chance.

“Teachers are what make our country strong,” Pool said. “There’s nothing greater than being a teacher. I have four generations of teachers in my family and it’s because you make a difference. You can really make an impact in everyone’s life for years to come and have a legacy of having that influence on our youth so that they grow up and are successful.”

If you’re interested in the certification process, head to Teach Louisiana’s website.