High School Teachers

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High School Teachers

High School Teachers


Education

What’s Needed:

  • High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree.
  • Most states require a degree in your chosen content area although some classes may not need a major in that subject.
  • While all states have continuing education requirements only some require teachers to earn a master’s degree as part of their ongoing education.

What you study:

Unlike elementary school teachers who often major in education high school teachers usually major in their field of study. However many schools also require education classes. Coursework in education may include:

  • Secondary education
  • Educational history
  • Educational theory
  • Adolescent psychology


Video Overview

A brief recap of the high school teaching career. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.


A Day in the Life

It’s important to adjust lesson plans to the students’ pace.

You’ll get to class about half an hour before your students; this gives you time to go over last night’s lesson plans. Even if your classes share the same grade they rarely work at the same speed. It’s important to adjust lesson plans to the students’ pace.

Your students are past the age of needing a teacher there to guide them to their homeroom desks but they still appreciate your welcome as they file into the classroom. After the morning announcements from the principal are done you take attendance. Homeroom is short and uneventful giving you time to prepare a quiz for your first class. If you teach science you might use this time to set up lab equipment or prepare an experiment.

How you spend your day depends on your subject.

How you spend your day depends on your subject. As a biology or chemistry teacher you probably spend most classes lecturing or illustrating a fundamental principle with a demonstration. Laboratory work takes more time to set up but students love it so you plan lab work once or twice a week. As a math teacher you spend a fair amount of time solving problems on the board. You may specialize in a single branch of mathematics if you teach in a large school but in smaller schools you could be teaching multiple disciplines to different grade levels.

Analyzing a novel or critiquing students’ creative writing requires interaction.

As an English or history teacher you spend some time lecturing but students also talk. Analyzing a novel or critiquing students’ creative writing requires interaction. Your students are generally happy to participate especially when you assign books that resonate with them. In-class essays and worksheets give you some quiet time during which you can grade papers or plan lessons for the next class.

Your morning classes went smoothly and just before lunch one of your students stopped by your desk to ask some insightful questions. Pleased to know he was listening so intently you’re glad to answer even though it takes time from your lunch period.

After lunch is your study hall. While students read nap or do homework you grade papers and prepare for your afternoon classes. You only have two left and both go as smoothly as your morning lessons. After your last class your students leave in a rush but you have paperwork to finish. Like your students you also have homework. You leave school within an hour after the final bell and spend part of your evening grading tests or reading student essays.


Certifications and Licensing

All public school teachers must obtain certification. Teachers in private schools must also become licensed in many states. Certification requires student teaching and a lengthy test. Prospective teachers who did not take education classes in college may need to complete some coursework to become certified.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Most high school teachers teach full-time although some teachers in elective subjects work half days. Unless they choose to teach in summer school secondary school teachers are typically off for the summer months.

Work location:

Although most teachers still work in a standard school environment home-schooling has become more popular and has opened new opportunities for licensed teachers. Team-teaching arrangements with home-schooling families can provide more flexibility.


Recommended Websites

  • U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook: High School Teachers ? This site summarizes the basic information potential high school teachers need including salary information educational requirements and an overview of duties. It is ideal for students beginning their search for more information.
  • U.S. Department of Education ? Keep current about the latest education news and legislation that could affect high school teachers by visiting this site. Readers will find a wider perspective of the profession outside the classroom. Prospective high school teachers can also find out about financial aid and scholarship programs here. The Contacts section has a wealth of links to subject-specific organizations.
  • National Education Association ? With over 3 million teachers as members the not-for-profit National Education Association is one of the largest employee organizations in the nation. Visitors will find classroom resources news and discussions of legislative issues. For education students sample lesson plans offer an opportunity to see teaching from the other side of the desk.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

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    State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
    AK Anchorage $66230 $52K – $86K 880 0.51%
    AL Anniston – Oxford $47640 $35K – $58K 380 0.87%
    AL Auburn – Opelika $48980 $36K – $59K 230 0.48%
    AL Birmingham – Hoover $53190 $41K – $62K 2480 0.51%
    AL Decatur $50440 $40K – $59K 340 0.64%
    AL Dothan $56840 $41K – $74K 550 0.98%
    AL Florence – Muscle Shoals $50300 $37K – $60K 500 0.96%
    AL Gadsden $51220 $27K – $59K 320 0.95%
    AL Huntsville $50990 $40K – $65K 1300 0.64%
    AL Mobile $53040 $40K – $69K 1310 0.78%
    AL Montgomery $45870 $33K – $59K 850 0.54%
    AL Tuscaloosa $44650 $31K – $58K 520 0.58%
    AR Fayetteville – Springdale – Rogers $53330 $40K – $69K 1460 0.72%
    AR Fort Smith $43900 $30K – $63K 870 0.77%
    AR Hot Springs $46320 $34K – $59K 300 0.84%
    AR Jonesboro $42640 $33K – $56K 350 0.71%
    AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $50040 $35K – $67K 2440 0.73%
    AR Pine Bluff $51260 $37K – $61K 400 1.16%
    AZ Flagstaff $45380 $34K – $60K 350 0.62%
    AZ Lake Havasu City $ Kingman $38890 $31K – $48K 360 0.82%
    AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $42680 $32K – $59K 9940 0.57%
    AZ Prescott $37000 $31K – $47K 350 0.67%
    AZ Tucson $38500 $31K – $57K 1960 0.56%
    AZ Yuma $41800 $32K – $59K N/A N/A
    CA Bakersfield – Delano $65980 $46K – $89K 2030 0.74%
    CA El Centro $69160 $38K – $96K N/A N/A
    CA Fresno $69520 $42K – $110K 3380 1.07%
    CA Hanford – Corcoran $56080 $41K – $93K 540 1.44%
    CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $67270 $48K – $91K 25800 0.67%
    CA Madera – Chowchilla $75070 $51K – $99K N/A N/A
    CA Merced $70430 $49K – $94K 670 1.11%
    CA Modesto $75250 $51K – $93K 1510 0.99%
    CA Napa $76850 $49K – $95K N/A N/A
    CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $70060 $48K – $94K 7810 0.80%
    CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $66270 $43K – $90K 2390 0.83%
    CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $70650 $44K – $94K 7790 0.67%
    CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $70000 $42K – $106K 4890 0.60%
    CA Salinas $59790 $43K – $86K 760 0.49%
    CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $68690 $49K – $92K 7420 0.59%
    CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $66510 $48K – $95K 4060 0.41%
    CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $75750 $53K – $95K 4640 0.52%
    CA San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles $64950 $45K – $88K 1220 1.22%
    CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $80520 $52K – $109K 5520 0.39%
    CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $70070 $48K – $93K N/A N/A
    CA Santa Cruz – Watsonville $65790 $44K – $92K N/A N/A
    CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma $63210 $47K – $89K 1180 0.68%
    CA Stockton $60600 $42K – $86K 1550 0.79%
    CA Vallejo – Fairfield $50960 $39K – $75K 860 0.71%
    CA Visalia – Porterville $66300 $47K – $90K 1200 0.92%
    CA Yuba City $57790 $42K – $74K 380 1.03%
    CO Boulder $56520 $37K – $74K 1120 0.70%
    CO Colorado Springs $44370 $33K – $60K 2330 0.96%
    CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $56070 $38K – $76K 7550 0.61%
    CO Fort Collins – Loveland $47570 $34K – $62K 960 0.72%
    CO Greeley $46580 $34K – $70K 590 0.73%
    CO Pueblo $46430 $34K – $65K 470 0.87%
    CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $72860 $47K – $99K 3890 0.94%
    CT Danbury $67870 $50K – $91K 490 0.74%
    CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $65270 $42K – $91K 4230 0.77%
    CT New Haven $70010 $46K – $91K 2370 0.87%
    CT Norwich – New London $65500 $44K – $90K 840 0.65%
    CT Waterbury $60210 $40K – $89K 860 1.35%
    DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $65630 $41K – $109K 12850 0.55%
    DE Dover $54230 $41K – $72K N/A N/A
    DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $56840 $35K – $85K 2100 0.65%
    FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $46790 $38K – $65K 1150 0.57%
    FL Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach $45020 $34K – $67K 630 0.41%
    FL