How to Become A High School Teacher

Technology and demand have become the main engines of growth in the education sector. As jobs are becoming more complex and varied, many students are pursuing higher education to prepare themselves for technical careers ahead. This has pressed the need for skilled teachers all over the nation.



A career as a teacher can be challenging, exciting, and dynamic. Unlike many other occupations, teaching is all about helping students grow academically and socially. This occupation brings a sense of achievement and satisfaction, and is suitable for individuals who are passionate about helping others. Teachers are known for dedicating their services to building a more literate and skilled nation. Educated individuals directly contribute to the development of the economy and can gear the nation towards success.

There are various career paths within the teaching profession.  While some may prefer to teach young preschoolers, others may want to teach in high schools. The education and licensing requirements for teachers may vary from state to state.

Become a High school teacher

If you want to become a high school teacher in your state, you must meet the educational and licensing requirements set by the state’s department of education. Most states require teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. For some teaching positions, a certification and master’s degree may be necessary.

To summarize, here are the steps to becoming a high school teacher:

  • Get a high school degree
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in secondary education
  • Get a teaching license
  • Get certified (optional)

Bachelor degree in Secondary Education

Many universities offer undergraduate degree program in secondary education. The program structure incorporates coursework and fieldwork that covers various aspects of the education sector.

Students would build a strong understanding of the behavior and psychology of adolescence. The curriculum may cover different courses that enable students to develop teaching skills needed for modern day classrooms.

Curriculum

The curriculum is likely to vary from school to school. Generally, students would cover introductory classes in the first few semesters, and progress towards more advanced classes in junior and senior years. Here are a few main courses described below:

  • Foundations of Education (2-4 credits)

In this course, students would gain an overview of the profession and its various social, economic, historical, and philosophical aspects. It is important for the students to understand the main theories and teaching practices applied in institutions nowadays.

  • Instructional Technology (2-4 credits)

Technology has become an important part of secondary and higher education. This course is designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge of technologies used in classrooms. The course would cover important topics such as computer software, technology planning, and emerging technologies.

  • Cultural Diversity in the Classroom (2-4 credits)

Classrooms have become more culturally diversified and varied. Teachers must have an understanding of students of different backgrounds and issues that exist in classrooms. This course will cover important topics such as learning styles, prejudice, and stereotyping.

  • Educational Psychology (2-4 credits)

In this course, students cover important theories and principles of psychology. Students would learn how psychological principles affect instructional practices.

  • Secondary Methods and Data Driven Pedagogy (2-4 credits)

This course is designed to help teachers recognize different teaching and learning styles. Students develop problem solving and assessment skills. The course may include important topics such as evaluation and testing and educational assessment.

  • Classroom Engagement and Management (2-4 credits)

The course is on how to successfully manage classroom environments and student behavior. It would cover important topics such as discipline and management, instructional time management, and classroom procedures.

  • Curriculum Development and Assessment (2-4 credits)

This course may help students learn how to develop classroom curriculums. Students gain practical experience in developing curriculums, objectives, and lessons for secondary school students.

  • Effective Communication (2-4 credits)

Communication is an important part of teaching. The course would enable students to polish their communication skills for teaching. Topics such as critical reading, foreign language, audience, and English composition are covered in the course.

  • Critical Thinking (2-4 credits)

This course is geared towards the development of critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. Students cover a wide range of topics in this course and focus on the process of critical thinking.

Skills

  • Communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Assessment skills
  • Patience
  • Critical thinking skills

Duration

The duration typically ranges between 4-6 years. It is important to remember that the time needed to prepare for this career will depend upon the academic path chosen by an individual. A bachelor’s degree takes approximately 4 years to complete, whereas a masters degree will take further 2 years of college education. It is also possible to enroll in an online bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Online programs are self-paced and may be completed in a shorter time period.

Licensing and Certification

To earn a teaching license, individuals must have a bachelor’s degree in the field. Teaching licenses are issued by the department of education in a state. Applicants must meet the minimum training criteria to be eligible for a license.

Although certification is not mandatory, it may help high school teachers boost their career opportunities. There are many different types of certifications available. Individuals may have to pass a skills and knowledge test to acquire a teaching certification.

Training

Many teachers start their careers through on-the-job training as a teaching assistant. Individuals can enroll in various training programs and gain hands-on-experience in classroom settings. Most states require teachers to first pass a background check.

Career Opportunities

High school teachers are mostly employed by private and public schools. In 2012, approximately 955,800 individuals held jobs as high school teachers. The median annual income of these professionals was $55,050 in 2012.

 

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