Tourists may head to the “Silver State” in search of gambling and entertainment opportunities, but teachers looking for full-time work have hit the jackpot over the past decade, according to recent public sector employment figures.

Nevada showed the greatest five- and ten-year percentage increase in full-time employees in public education, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released Census of Governments’ State and Local Government and Payroll report.

Employment in the public education sector – which includes elementary and secondary school districts, as well as higher education systems – rose 35.2% in Nevada over the five-year period between 2002 and 2007. The percentage increase is even greater – 54.84% – for the ten-year period between 1997 and 2007.

The Census of Government divides public education into five sub-categories: higher education instructional employees, all other higher education, elementary and secondary instructional employees, all other elementary and secondary employees, and other education.

In Nevada, the greatest increase in education employment was in the elementary and secondary instructional employees category for the five-year period, and in the all other higher education category for the ten-year period.

Rounding out the other states in the top five for percentage increase public education employment were: North Carolina, Arizona, Florida and Wyoming, respectively for the five year period 2002-2005.

The increase in employment for teachers mirrors growth in population. All of the states in the top five experienced significant population growth over this time frame.

Nevada’s population increased by almost than 20% between 2002 and 2007. In fact, four of the top five states posted double-digit growth rates for the period, according to Census Bureau statistics.

Arizona, New Hampshire, Vermont and North Carolina posted the largest percentage gains for the ten-year period 1997-2007.

On a national level, public education employment increased by 7.45% between 2002 and 2007, and by 23.38% between 1997 and 2007.