New bachelor’s degree aimed at helping to fill teacher shortage

Jun 27, 2023Amanda Fenwick
San Jacinto College news

Houston Endowment awards $1.5 million grant to support degree launch

PASADENA, Texas — San Jacinto College will launch its second bachelor’s degree — a Bachelor of Applied Science in Education with an emphasis in early childhood education — at the start of the spring 2024 semester.

The San Jacinto College Board of Trustees approved the new degree earlier this year. Now, the College is working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges on additional approvals and accreditations.

“Our goal is to help fill the workforce gap that currently exists in early childhood education by providing a new bachelor’s degree for students who are currently working in the education field,” said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “The need for qualified early childhood and elementary school teachers and professionals is real. As demographics in our region and state change, there is also an increasing need to attract a more diverse pipeline of teachers. San Jacinto College is committed to working with our education partners to provide them with skilled and trained employees.”

Those who have already earned an Associate of Applied Science in early childhood/child development and are working in the industry can enroll in the bachelor's degree program. Students can use a valid industry-based child development associate credential and one of the previously earned San Jacinto College early childhood certificates or previous education toward their final requirements for graduation with the bachelor’s degree.

According to a February 2023 report by the Learning Policy Institute, Texas has the largest teacher workforce of any U.S. state with more than 370,000 teachers in 2021-2022. By 2030, the need for highly qualified early childhood and elementary teachers in Texas is projected to increase by 13%. Nearly 3.2 million full-time teachers were employed throughout the U.S. last fall, but many local school districts were hit hard by vacancies: There were more than 25,000 job postings in the Houston-Galveston metro area alone.

“Pasadena ISD is thankful for our partnership with San Jacinto College and truly appreciates the commitment it has always shown to serve our school district and our community,” said Jeremy Richardson, associate superintendent for human resources. “Students who graduate from San Jacinto College with a Bachelor of Applied Science in education and an emphasis in early childhood will be ready to make a difference for our students and our schools.”

To help launch this degree and meet this critical need in the San Jacinto College community and throughout the region, Houston Endowment awarded San Jacinto College a $1.5 million grant for three years through 2026. These funds will cover the required employee and operating costs during the initial two to three years of the program.

“Our community requires more great teachers to meet the needs of our students,” said Ann Stern, president and CEO of Houston Endowment. “San Jacinto College’s new bachelor’s degree program offers a high-impact opportunity for candidates to earn their teaching certification, which helps strengthen the teacher pipeline and the future of the profession.”

San Jacinto College intends to enroll an initial cohort of 50 students beginning in spring 2024, increasing that number to 125 for the second-year cohort. The College estimates 225 students enrolled in the program by the third year.

For more information about this new program, email

About Houston Endowment

Houston Endowment is a private foundation that partners with others to achieve a vibrant and inclusive region where all residents can thrive. We advance equity of opportunity through deep commitments to pre-K-12 public education and civic engagement, support cultural assets that engage and connect us, and drive sustainable change across our region.  

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the people of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. The College is one of the top 10 community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College is a Hispanic-Serving Institution that spans five campuses, serving approximately 41,000 credit and non-credit students annually. It offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

For more information about San Jacinto College, visit

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