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What is a Computer Science Teacher

What Does a Computer Science Teacher Do

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.

Learn more about what a Computer Science Teacher does

How To Become a Computer Science Teacher

Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.

Education

Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.

Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.

Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.

Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.

Other Experience

Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.

In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.

In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.

Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.

Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.

Advancement

A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.

Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.

Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.

Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.

Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.

Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.

Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.

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Average Salary
$54,497
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
11%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
72,327
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Computer Science Teacher

Computer Science Teachers in America make an average salary of $54,497 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $79,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $37,000 per year.
Average Salary
$54,497
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Computer Science Teacher Demographics

Computer Science Teacher Gender Distribution

Male
Male
58%
Female
Female
42%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Computer Science Teachers, 42.2% of them are women, while 57.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Computer Science Teachers is White, which makes up 67.2% of all Computer Science Teachers.

  • The most common foreign language among Computer Science Teachers is Spanish at 40.4%.

Job Openings

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Computer Science Teacher Education

Computer Science Teacher Majors

Computer Science Teacher Degrees

Bachelors

65.3 %

Masters

24.3 %

Associate

4.9 %

Top Colleges for Computer Science Teachers

1. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

4. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

7. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

8. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

9. DePaul University

Chicago, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$39,975
Enrollment
14,280

10. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582
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Top Skills For a Computer Science Teacher

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.8% of Computer Science Teachers listed Lesson Plans on their resume, but soft skills such as Interpersonal skills and Speaking skills are important as well.

Best States For a Computer Science Teacher

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Computer Science Teacher. The best states for people in this position are Oregon, Alaska, North Dakota, and Washington. Computer Science Teachers make the most in Oregon with an average salary of $85,278. Whereas in Alaska and North Dakota, they would average $83,495 and $81,654, respectively. While Computer Science Teachers would only make an average of $75,549 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Oregon

Total Computer Science Teacher Jobs:
449
Highest 10% Earn:
$137,000
Location Quotient:
1.02
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Massachusetts

Total Computer Science Teacher Jobs:
1,115
Highest 10% Earn:
$115,000
Location Quotient:
1.14
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Michigan

Total Computer Science Teacher Jobs:
872
Highest 10% Earn:
$112,000
Location Quotient:
1.06
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Computer Science Teachers

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Top Computer Science Teacher Employers

Most Common Employers For Computer Science Teacher

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Computer Science Teacher SalaryAverage Salary
1$130,387
2$111,771
3
3.University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
$108,950
4$104,153
5$102,294
6$89,887

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