Do you think you would like to work as a teacher? Do you think you are capable of teaching a group of high school students in a particular subject area? Do you enjoy working with young adults and feel that you have what it takes to reach them on an academic and social level? If you answered yes to each of these questions, then maybe it is time for you to think about completing the necessary educational requirements so that you can become a high school teacher. As a secondary education teacher you will be responsible for preparing engaging lessons that will help you deliver specific instruction to your students. Even though you will be teaching high school students, it will still be important for you to incorporate games and activities that will allow your students to apply what they have been learning. You will also be expected to grade homework and classroom assignments, as well as to use a variety of assessment methods to measure your students’ understanding of specific topics and concepts.To be qualified to work as a high school (or secondary) teacher you must have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree program. After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, you will also need to complete the specific licensure requirements as mandated by your state of residence. Currently, it is most common for students who want to be a high school teacher to pursue a degree in the subject area that they plan to teach. For instance, if you plan to teach high school science then you may choose to complete your bachelor’s degree program in a major area like biology.
By pursuing your degree program and training in this manner it will make you qualified to teach your particular subject area to students of any age. However, colleges and universities also offer bachelor’s degree programs with a concentration in secondary education. Should you decide to travel this educational route, you would then choose a specific subject area to focus a large portion of your studies in. Just prior to graduation you will also be required to complete a semester of student teaching, which will take place in a real school setting. Take a moment and request a free information packet from any of the schools listed on our site that interest you. Should you decide to further your educational degree, you may be able to seek employment as a counselor, an educational specialist, an administrator, or you could teach at the college level.
Thinking about becoming a teacher? Consider becoming a teacher in secondary education! Secondary education covers four years of high school or one year of middle school and three years of high school in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of secondary teachers is expected to grow 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average, so there will be plenty of need going forward for new teachers to join the workforce. A teacher can make a lasting impact on young peoples' lives, especially during the rapid development of teenage years, so this occupation can be very rewarding for individuals who have a strong desire to impact social change and progress. Individuals who are looking to become teachers in secondary education need to possess a large amount of patience, as students come from a variety of backgrounds and level of ability. Resourceful people will also be a great fit for this job because explaining complicated subjects to students takes imagination to accomplish effectively given limited tools. Individuals who enjoyed their own educational experience and have a desire to give that experience to others are most successful in this occupation. In this article, we will be exploring all the educational paths you can take to become a teacher in secondary education. We will also discuss the various challenges and benefits of the position in different kinds of schools, such as private schools, parochial schools, and public schools.
Associate's Degree in Secondary Education
Though an associate's degree can be earned in teaching, bachelor's degrees are always required to teach in any accredited institution at the secondary education level. However, an associate's degree in teaching can be earned and the credits obtained can later be applied towards a bachelor's degree program. This program is perfect for individuals who might not know which area of study they want to teach upon graduation because it offers the core competency classes for teaching in any field. Another benefit of these programs is that they allow you to complete student teaching in your second year, so you will not have to do this in your fourth year of your bachelor's degree program. These types of programs are most often offered by two-year schools, like community colleges, meant to be completed with the intent to transfer the credits earned to a four-year university and a bachelor's degree program. Though some online courses are available, they are extremely rare. While completion of an associate's degree in teaching will not qualify you to teach your own class in secondary education, you will be eligible to be employed as a teacher's aide, a personal tutor, or even a preschool teacher in some instances. Courses included in these programs are core competency courses for teaching, such as: teaching methods, curriculum development, introduction to secondary education, and more. An associate's degree takes two to three years to complete and a degree program in secondary education will cost about $35,000 on average. This makes the associate's degree program an option for those looking to keep the total cost of their education as low as possible as they can then transfer to a four-year institution having completed the first two years with a cheaper tuition.
Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education
As your occupation will require you to teach in an educational setting, most if not all employers expect you to hold at least a bachelor's degree to demonstrate your passion, love, and experience in higher education. One route you can go is pursuing a bachelor's in education, which will qualify you for most positions but won't necessarily qualify you for advancement in the field of education. A bachelor's degree in education offers a broad base of liberal arts education as well as intensive courses in pedagogy and content of the teaching profession. These educational programs are custom-tailored to a state's certification requirements, and are offered at most accredited colleges and universities. Additionally, there are programs available online to earn your bachelor's degree in education. The bachelor's degree in education is usually offered as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Typically, these programs allow you to name a minor to help you display the subject you are interested in teaching, such as math, biology, English, and so on. Many large institutions also offer the degree course as a specialization in a field with a focus on education within that field. These programs will have names like Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Mathematics Education, Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Science Education, Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Social Sciences Education, and so on. Some institutions require a student to double major in secondary education and the field in which they would like to teach. Courses in these programs include: adolescent or developmental psychology, teaching methods, classroom management, introduction to secondary school teaching, curriculum development, instructional strategies, pedagogy and theories of teaching and learning, research methods, and other core competencies. No matter what area of study you are hoping to specialize in, these courses provide the framework for the education of any great teacher in secondary education. Performing well in these programs and earning a high grade point average (GPA) is paramount to gaining access to the most desired positions in education.
A bachelor degree in education typically takes 4-5 years to complete and costs roughly $32,000 per year on average for out-of-state students, for a total of about $128,000 for the entire degree program. However, there are a very wide variety of degree programs available, and some can be attained in-state for as little as $45,000 for the whole experience. Online courses can be attained for even cheaper, sometimes, and are growing in popularity and acceptance by employers in the field. There are many different factors involved, but there are many different programs worth looking into that offer financial assistance, such as the government program for forgiveness of federal loans for which many teachers are eligible. As you can see, becoming an educator in secondary education requires specialization after the core competencies are complete. You must determine which area of study you will teach and declare during your bachelor's program. In order to get a better idea about what these specialized programs offer, we'll take a closer look at three areas of study: science, math, and social science.
Bachelor of Science for Secondary Education
If you are hoping to teach subjects like chemistry, biology, physics, earth science, or astronomy in secondary education, you'll need to consider earning a bachelor's degree in science education. Sometimes, education degrees in science are offered as Bachelor of Arts degrees in subjects like chemistry and physics. Bachelor's degrees are offered with education as a major or minor, depending on the program, but both achieve the same result. For instance, you may major in physics with a minor in education as opposed to the other way around, but both will qualify you to take the state exam to be a high school physics teacher. Another option would be to complete your bachelor's degree in a field of science, then pursue the teaching program, but this would obviously take longer than taking the programs concurrently at the same institution as a part of the same bachelor's program. Most bachelor's degree programs in science are backed by an organization that is in charge of accreditation, such as the National Council for Accreditation of Science Teachers. Some of the courses offered in a bachelor's degree for teaching in science are: chemistry, biology, evolution, supervised demonstration, natural science, quantitative methods in science, statistics, statistical data analysis, and many more, dependent largely on the specific area of study. These courses are taken in conjunction with or following the core competencies required for teaching. Many of these programs also include experiential learning, requiring you to demonstrate the ability to lead in-class experiments and deliver planned curricula to students grades 9-12. When pursuing this degree, it's important to keep in mind that not all high schools offer every subject, so this is something to consider when designing your coursework in college. Teaching astronomy in high school may interest you, but this course of study isn't mandatory in state guidelines, so is only offered as an elective at certain schools where interest is high. As a result, you may find a tough time finding your ideal job straight out of college. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go this route if you are passionate about teaching a subject, but you need to have realistic expectations.
Bachelor of Arts in Math for Secondary Education
Subjects that can be taught with a bachelor's degree in math include: pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, trigonometry, statistics and personal finance. A bachelor's degree in math can be pursued in conjunction with a degree in education, and either of these fields of study can be the major or the minor. For instance, you can earn a bachelor's degree in algebra with a minor in education or vice versa and both will satisfy the qualifications to take the state certification and become a high school algebra teacher. You can also complete a degree program in a math subject, then pursue a teaching program, but this would take longer than a program already tailored towards a degree specifically for teaching a subject. A sample of the typical course load of a bachelor's degree in math would include subjects like: calculus, mathematical reasoning, linear algebra, abstract algebra, applied statistical methods, and the history of mathematics. These courses are taken in addition to courses geared towards getting the student ready for a role in education. Nearly every program also requires a certain number of credit hours to be completed in the field, demonstrating teaching methods and depth of knowledge in an actual classroom setting. This is known as a practicum, student teaching, or supervised field experience. There are often varying level of mathematical ability in any high school, whether it's a public or private school, so the role of a math teacher in high schools can therefore vary quite widely. The most advanced subjects, like calculus, may not have as many qualified students and, therefore, may be harder to find open positions to teach them. As a result, many of the more advanced subjects require master's degrees to be taught at the secondary level.
Bachelor's of Arts in Social Science for Secondary Education
The social sciences are subjects such as US history, world history, government, civics, world geography, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science. These subjects use both qualitative and quantitative research methods to discover trends and truths about politics, culture, and people. A bachelor's degree in social science can be achieved with a focus on secondary education, and either of these subjects can be the minor or the major. For instance, you can earn a bachelor's degree with a major in US history and a minor in secondary education, or vice versa, and both would qualify you to teach US history in a public school. You may earn a degree in the social science you are interested in, then pursue a teaching degree program, but this would take longer than taking a course tailored toward earning a degree in social sciences to teach. If you pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in social science, you will take courses such as: global studies, sociology, economics, geography, world history, European history, US history, and political science. Many of these higher level programs are offered as highly specific courses that are geared towards your personal interests and the subject you would like to teach. As a hopeful teacher, you will also be required to complete a certain number of credit hours in the field, demonstrating your ability to teach in a classroom setting.
Supervised Field Experience
No matter which subject you choose to pursue, you will always be asked to complete a supervised field experience in order to demonstrate that you can put what you have learned into practice teaching children. Unless you pursue an associate's degree in education, this experience will always come near the end of your education as it is seen as a culmination of all the knowledge you have been taught. In general, hopeful teachers spend a full semester doing supervised field experience, under the guidance of a seasoned professional, though the number of hours you must complete varies state by state and program by program. Supervised field experience takes on many different forms and some programs accept one type of supervised field experience that others do not accept. In general, this experience needs to be pertinent to your field and what you would like to teach. Here are just a few examples of the work that can be completed that would qualify as supervised field experience:
• Tutoring individual students
• Teaching in small or large group settings
• Assisting teachers
• Administering assessments
In addition to this supervised field experience, some programs may require you to complete a pre-teaching experience, or practicum, as well. It's important to keep in mind that these experiences are required by everyone in a bachelor's degree program, so this is one advantage to completing your degree on a physical campus. Oftentimes, colleges and universities will have individuals (sometimes even whole offices) dedicated to helping students find and attend these programs. A well-established university will have a bevy of partner programs set up just for this purpose and will help you get into the role that best suits the requirements of your degree. Upon completion of your supervised field experience, you will typically receive an evaluation from the teacher or education professional who supervised you during the program. You must receive a passing grade during this experience to be qualified to take the Praxis exam or any other state required exam to become a teacher.
As mentioned several times above, it is possible to gain a teaching certification without completing a program in education. In order to take this alternative path to teaching, you must possess a bachelor's degree in the subject you wish to teach, then you must pass basic skills tests as well as Praxis exams and any other exams required by a state for people entering the field of education. This route to becoming an educator was made possible about 25 years ago because of a growing shortage of qualified teachers to fill an expanding number of classrooms. There are several programs that run across several states, such as Teach for America, TNTP Teaching Fellows, and the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence. However, each state has its own route to alternative certification and there are many more localized programs that can walk you through the steps. In general, you will complete the teaching portion of a bachelor's degree in secondary education and it will take 1-2 years. The vetting process for these programs is intense and requires multiple interviews as well as demonstrations of your mastery of the subject matter. It is possible to obtain a master's degree in a subject during one of these programs.
Praxis Exams and Certification
Praxis exams are state certified tests that are used to determine the proficiency of an individual in multiple subjects, like math, reading, and writing. There are various levels of the test to measure proficiency at various levels of ability. The Praxis Core is typically taken at the beginning of your bachelor's degree program as a way to demonstrate your knowledge of subjects traditionally taught in a classroom setting. In order to get into a teaching program, this is generally the one test that will determine if you are eligible to attend. Upon completion of your program, you will need to complete another Praxis exam to obtain certification in your state. The Praxis Subject Assessments are meant to determine your proficiency in the subject in which you intend to teach. It is possible to complete multiple Praxis Subject Assessments if you plan on teaching more than one subject. Depending on which state you hope to teach in, you may be required to complete the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching exam as well. This is meant to determine your understanding of materials you've been taught on the subject of teaching. This test is typically required of anyone who wants to teach at the secondary education level, grades 7-12.
Once you have completed your education, it's time to start looking for an open position. There are many different choices out there for a prospective educator, but perhaps one of the biggest questions to ask yourself would be if you want to teach in a public or a private school. There are many similarities between the two, but many differences as well, and we will try to break down the advantages and disadvantages of both in the next few paragraphs. Public schools are funded by a state's taxes and are required, by law, to accept every student. These factors can be both good and bad. Good because it generally means funding is available and more funding can be lobbied in the event that certain expenditures cannot be met. It's also good because public school teaching jobs are far more abundant, teaching a vast majority of the country's children. However, state governments have a lot of say in the curriculum of public schools since the taxpayers are footing the bill, so the flexibility of the curriculum is almost nonexistent. Also, the tendency of public schools to become overcrowded cannot be overstated. Private schools are funded by their tuition and typically employ a selective admissions process. This can be an advantage because it keeps the number of kids in each classroom down and ensures a high level of ability for you to teach. However, it sometimes excludes kids of different socio-economic backgrounds because the high tuition costs are prohibitive for less wealthy families. While some of this is curtailed by education funds and scholarships, the school's only source of funding is most often tuition, so they cannot offer a scholarships or financial aid to everyone at the school. Private schools may be religiously affiliated, or affiliated with a local church or parish. These are called parochial schools. In this case, the religious authority may have a much larger say in what and how you teach than in an independent, private school. The last big difference we will discuss is pay. The median annual salary for a high school teacher last year was about $57,000. There is a lot of variance in that number as the level of pay for a professional educator typically grows from year to year, so more tenured individuals make much more than someone just starting out. However, it is important to note that educators in a private school setting are earn approximately $10,000-$15,000 less per year on average than a teacher in a public school. Though the freedom to teach specific subject matter and spend much more time with each individual student is important to some individuals, this financial difference may change the minds of others.