In this study the career motivations and values of regional candidate teachers are investigated using a mixed methodology. Expectancy–value theory (Wigfield & Eccles, 2000) supports the understanding of motivations through the use of four key value categories: interest, utility, attainment and cost. A total of 135 pre-service teachers were surveyed using a modified survey instrument. This study addresses a gap in career motivational literature by exploring the motivations of regional teacher candidates. Current research indicates that quality staffing in Australian regional schools remains a significant concern. Findings indicated that candidates’ motivations tended to be aspirational, yet there also exist strong pragmatic imperatives for choosing teaching. Career motivations were aligned to job opportunities in local communities, as well as the desire for social contribution. The findings have implications for university programs in terms of developing teacher agency and supporting career pathways.