Editors note: A prior version of this article said more than a third of teachers do not have a teaching degree. That has been corrected to more than a third of teachers applicants do not have a degree

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — 35% of teacher applicants do not have education degrees throughout Bay District Schools. Many instead graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in another field.

“Students are not pursuing educational degrees,” BDS Director of Communications Sharon Michalik said.

Michalik said they now have more teachers without teaching degrees than ever before.

“Ten years ago about five percent of those applicants would be what we call alt-cert,” Michalik said. “So coming to us from that non-traditional teaching background. And now it’s 35 percent so it’s definitely an increase.”

Michalik said some teachers have graduate degrees in accounting and engineering but wanted to change fields. While that enhances student learning, it is more difficult for administrators.

It’s a challenge for the principal and it’s a challenge for the colleagues because there is a lot of amazing professional development embedded in a traditional teaching degree,” Michalik said. “And those teachers have student teaching experience.”

But she said the district is providing more support for staff without teaching experience.

“We know they need a lot of support, we want to make sure they have it and so there’s lots of job-embedded professional development and these mentors that can help support them as well,” Michalik said. “So they’re not lone-rangering it and you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself.”