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Become A Geography Teacher

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Working As A Geography Teacher

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $59,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Geography Teacher Do

High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Duties

High school teachers typically do the following:

  • Plan lessons in the subjects they teach, such as biology or history
  • Assess students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach students in full class settings or in small groups
  • Adapt lessons to any changes in class size
  • Grade students’ assignments and exams to monitor progress
  • Communicate with parents about students’ progress
  • Work with individual students to challenge them, to improve their abilities, and to work on their weaknesses
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules and administrative policies
  • Supervise students outside of the classroom—for example, at lunchtime or during detention

High school teachers generally teach students from the 9th through 12th grades. They usually specialize in one subject area, such as math, science, or history. They may teach several different classes within that subject area. For example, a high school math teacher may teach courses in algebra, calculus, and/or geometry.

High school teachers may teach students from different grades throughout the day. For example, in one class they may have students from the 9th grade and then in the next class they may have 12th-grade students. In many schools, students are divided into classes on the basis of their abilities, so teachers need to change their courses to match the students’ abilities.

High school teachers see several different classes of students throughout the day. They may teach the same material—for example, world history—to more than one class if the school has many students taking that subject.

Some high school teachers instruct special classes, such as art, music, and physical education.

When they do not have classes, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, and meet with other teachers and staff.

In some schools, teachers of English as a second language (ESL) and teachers of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) work exclusively with students who are learning the English language. These students are often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). These teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and help them with assignments for other classes.

Students with learning disabilities and emotional or behavioral disorders often are taught in traditional classes. Therefore, high school teachers may work with special education teachers to adapt lessons to these students’ needs and to monitor the students’ progress.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information and to expand a lesson taught in class.

Some high school teachers coach sports and advise student clubs and other groups, activities that frequently take place before or after school.

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How To Become A Geography Teacher

High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Education

All states require public high school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most states require high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science or history. Teachers typically enroll in their institution’s teacher preparation program and take classes in education and child psychology as well.

In teacher education programs, prospective high school teachers learn how to present information to students and how to work with students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit Teach.org.

Some states require high school teachers to earn a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification.

Teachers in private schools do not need to meet state requirements. However, private schools typically seek high school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and a major in a subject area.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Those who teach in private schools are generally not required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

High school teachers typically are awarded a secondary or high school certification, which allows them to teach the 7th through the 12th grades.

Requirements for certification vary by state. In addition to requiring a bachelor’s degree, states require teachers to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, typically gained through student teaching. States also typically require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge in the subject they will teach. Some states require teachers to have a minimum grade point average as well. For information on certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.

Often, teachers are required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.

All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing either type of program.

Training

In order to receive certification, teachers need to undergo a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and gain experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of time required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with other teachers and special education teachers. In addition, teachers need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. High school teachers must be patient when students struggle with material.

Resourcefulness. High school teachers need to explain difficult concepts in terms students can understand. In addition, they must be able to engage students in learning and adapt lessons to each student’s needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to be mentors or lead teachers. In these positions, they often work with less experienced teachers to help them improve their teaching skills.

With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals. Becoming a principal usually requires additional instruction in education administration or leadership. For more information, see the profiles on school and career counselors, librarians, instructional coordinators, and elementary, middle, and high school principals.

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Average Length of Employment
Secondary Teacher 5.0 years
Latin Teacher 4.3 years
Science Teacher 4.1 years
French Teacher 4.1 years
Teacher Advisor 3.7 years
Spanish Teacher 3.7 years
History Teacher 3.3 years
Literature Teacher 3.3 years
Geography Teacher 3.0 years
Language Teacher 3.0 years
Humanities Teacher 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Geography Teacher
Teacher 24.2%
Internship 3.5%
Volunteer 2.5%
Supervisor 2.0%
Top Careers After Geography Teacher
Teacher 22.6%
Tutor 4.3%
Volunteer 4.3%
Instructor 3.8%
Manager 3.4%
Lecturer 3.0%
Internship 3.0%

Do you work as a Geography Teacher?

Average Yearly Salary
$59,000
Show Salaries
$38,000
Min 10%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$59,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Honolulu Community College
Highest Paying City
Urban Honolulu, HI
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does a Geography Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Geography Teacher in the United States is $59,374 per year or $29 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $91,000.

Real Geography Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of California at Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA Feb 27, 2014 $139,200
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA Aug 21, 2014 $110,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX Jan 25, 2010 $95,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of California at Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA Jan 20, 2012 $82,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of Alaska Anchorage, AK Feb 23, 2010 $80,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Rutgers, The State Univ. of New Jersey Piscataway, NJ Jun 03, 2010 $80,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI Sep 04, 2014 $75,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Texas A&M University College Station, TX Mar 04, 2009 $74,667
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Hunter College/Cuny New York, NY Aug 07, 2014 $74,133
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Hunter College/Cuny New York, NY May 30, 2014 $74,133
History-Geography Teacher French American International School San Francisco, CA Apr 22, 2011 $74,098
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of Hawaii Urban Honolulu, HI Jul 24, 2012 $74,004
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Western Washington University Bellingham, WA Jan 08, 2008 $73,620
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary California State University, Fullerton Fullerton, CA Apr 18, 2008 $66,228
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary California State University, Fullerton Fullerton, CA Jan 18, 2008 $66,228
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Feb 10, 2011 $66,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Indiana University Bloomington, IN May 15, 2014 $65,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Knoxville, TN Aug 08, 2012 $65,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary International American University, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 01, 2012 $64,850
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary International American University, Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 29, 2012 $64,850
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Clark University Worcester, MA Jun 23, 2010 $64,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Minnesota State University, Mankato Mankato, MN Jan 16, 2014 $58,968
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND Jul 27, 2012 $58,500
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Boise State University Boise, ID Mar 22, 2013 $58,333
History and Geography Teacher, Secondary Level Lycee Francais de Chicago Chicago, IL Jul 09, 2016 $58,200
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL Nov 19, 2013 $58,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Knoxville, TN Oct 07, 2011 $58,000
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary California State University, San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA Mar 01, 2010 $56,004
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary Texas State University-San Marcos San Marcos, TX Mar 19, 2010 $56,000

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Top Skills for A Geography Teacher

  1. Geography Curriculum
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Lesson Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed a 7th grade Geography curriculum that explored climate regions through food.
  • Assisted in lesson planning, grading, and classroom management.
  • Created and led educational lesson plans for grades one through five in geography and environment.
  • Scaffold student learning in the process of creating and proposing government policy through the curriculum Project Citizen.
  • Facilitated student learning in Mathematics and Geography.

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Top 10 Best States for Geography Teachers

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Connecticut
  3. Illinois
  4. Michigan
  5. Alaska
  6. New York
  7. New Jersey
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Minnesota
  10. Texas
  • (316 jobs)
  • (137 jobs)
  • (668 jobs)
  • (372 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)
  • (350 jobs)
  • (354 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (238 jobs)
  • (1,443 jobs)

Geography Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

43.1%

Male

39.1%

Unknown

17.8%
Ethnicity

White

56.8%

Hispanic or Latino

14.9%

Black or African American

13.2%

Asian

11.0%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.1%

French

20.0%

Chinese

5.7%

Arabic

5.7%

Italian

5.7%

Russian

2.9%

Portuguese

2.9%

Ukrainian

2.9%

Czech

2.9%

Romanian

2.9%

Cantonese

2.9%

Serbian

2.9%

Mandarin

2.9%

Korean

2.9%
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Geography Teacher Education

Schools

University of South Florida

11.5%

Florida State University

7.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

7.7%

University of the West

5.8%

University of Central Florida

5.8%

University of Pittsburgh -

5.8%

Mount Saint Joseph University

5.8%

Texas A&M University

3.8%

University of Alabama

3.8%

Chapman University

3.8%

National University

3.8%

Florida Atlantic University

3.8%

University of California - Davis

3.8%

University of Akron

3.8%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.8%

Brigham Young University

3.8%

University of Louisville

3.8%

DePaul University

3.8%

Tarleton State University

3.8%

Hawaii Business College

3.8%
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Majors

Geography

18.1%

Education

13.7%

Elementary Education

12.8%

History

9.3%

Educational Leadership

5.3%

Business

4.0%

Environmental Science

4.0%

General Education, Specific Areas

4.0%

Geology

3.5%

Management

3.1%

Secondary Education And Teaching

3.1%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

English

2.6%

Curriculum And Instruction

2.2%

Political Science

2.2%

International Relations

2.2%

Special Education

2.2%

Counseling Psychology

1.8%

Linguistics

1.8%

Social Sciences

1.8%
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Degrees

Masters

41.9%

Bachelors

27.9%

Other

16.7%

Certificate

5.3%

Associate

3.2%

Diploma

2.6%

Doctorate

2.3%
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