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Working As a High School Biology 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

  • $53,000

    Average Salary

What Does A High School Biology 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 High School Biology 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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High School Biology Teacher Career Paths

High School Biology Teacher
Science Teacher Instructor Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Science Teacher Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Science Teacher Adjunct Professor Principal
High School Principal
9 Yearsyrs
Middle School Science Teacher Math Teacher Lead Teacher
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Middle School Science Teacher Math Teacher Adjunct Instructor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Middle School Science Teacher Math Teacher Professor
Associate Dean
11 Yearsyrs
High School Science Teacher Instructor Lead Teacher
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Teacher Education Consultant Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Teacher Consultant Principal
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Teacher Administrator Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Biology Teacher Education Consultant Department Chairperson
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Biology Teacher Education Consultant
Vice Principal
8 Yearsyrs
High School Science Teacher Program Coordinator Educational Programs Coordinator
Education Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
High School Science Teacher Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Biology Teacher Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Academic Director
7 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Instructor Instruction Assistant Principal
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Student Teacher Lead Teacher Preschool Lead Teacher
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
High School Teacher Guidance Counselor Student Dean
High School Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
High School Teacher Professor Associate Dean
Instruction Dean
9 Yearsyrs
8th Grade Science Teacher Curriculum Specialist School Principal
Secondary School Principal
8 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Math Teacher 4.2 years
Science Teacher 4.1 years
Biology Teacher 3.5 years
Physics Teacher 3.5 years
Chemistry Teacher 3.2 years
Science Instructor 3.2 years
Top Careers Before High School Biology Teacher
Internship 5.7%
Teacher 4.4%
Tutor 3.7%
Instructor 2.7%
Assistant 2.4%
Top Careers After High School Biology Teacher
Teacher 7.5%
Instructor 3.1%
Internship 2.7%
Manager 2.7%

Do you work as a High School Biology Teacher?

Average Yearly Salary
$53,000
Show Salaries
$42,000
Min 10%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$66,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Lycee Francais de New York
Highest Paying City
Baltimore, MD
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
3.2 years
How much does a High School Biology Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a High School Biology Teacher in the United States is $53,408 per year or $26 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $43,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $66,000.

Real High School Biology Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
High School Biology Teacher Stockton Unified School District Stockton, CA Sep 12, 2014 $73,850
High School Biology Teacher Stockton Unified School District Stockton, CA Jul 22, 2014 $73,850
High School Biology Teacher Baltimore City Public School System Baltimore, MD Jan 09, 2011 $71,000
High School Biology Teacher Baltimore City Public School System Baltimore, MD Jun 08, 2011 $65,899
High School Biology Teacher Fontana Unified School District Fontana, CA Oct 02, 2012 $63,371
International Baccalaureate High School Biology Teacher Lycee Francais de Chicago Chicago, IL Oct 26, 2016 $62,190
High School Biology Teacher Horizon Educational Services of Columbus, Inc. Columbus, OH Aug 02, 2009 $60,000
High School Biology Teacher Berrien County Board of Education Nashville, GA Aug 04, 2010 $59,000
International Baccalaureate High School Biology Teacher Lycee Francais de Chicago Chicago, IL Sep 03, 2015 $57,865
High School Biology Teacher Baltimore City Public School System Baltimore, MD Jun 12, 2011 $57,369
High School Biology Teacher Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education Savannah, GA Jul 01, 2010 $57,178
High School Biology Teacher Irvington Board of Education Irvington, NJ Oct 23, 2011 $56,996
High School Biology Teacher Barnwell School District #45 Barnwell, SC Sep 24, 2016 $54,947
High School Biology Teacher Mercer County Schools Harrodsburg, KY Aug 09, 2015 $54,476
High School Biology Teacher Colleton County Schools Walterboro, SC Jul 01, 2014 $54,000
High School Biology Teacher Specialized Education of D.C., Inc. Washington, DC Sep 13, 2010 $48,255
High School Biology Teacher Specialized Education of D.C., Inc. Washington, DC Sep 06, 2010 $48,255
High School Biology Teacher Specialized Education Services, Inc. Washington, DC Sep 07, 2010 $48,255
High School Biology Teacher Inglewood Unified School District Inglewood, CA Dec 20, 2011 $47,310
High School Biology Teacher St. Lucie County School Board Fort Pierce, FL Jun 16, 2014 $47,045
High School Biology Teacher Irvington Board of Education Irvington, NJ Aug 23, 2011 $46,971
High School Biology Teacher Fort Bend Christian Academy Sugar Land, TX Aug 01, 2015 $45,320
High School Biology Teacher Fort Bend Christian Academy Sugar Land, TX Aug 01, 2014 $44,000

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Top Skills for A High School Biology Teacher

  1. Biology
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Lesson Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Passed Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments in Secondary Education, Biology, and Chemistry.
  • Directed student procedures and classroom management.
  • Implemented lesson plans that provide academic rigor where students are actively engaged in meaningful learning experiences.
  • Developed laboratory experiments, monitored lab equipment, supervision of students during lab work.
  • Complete weekly laboratory experiments which incorporate real-world mindsets and PBL constructs into student learning.

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Top 10 Best States for High School Biology Teachers

  1. Connecticut
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Jersey
  4. New York
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Minnesota
  7. Alaska
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Vermont
  10. Illinois
  • (157 jobs)
  • (345 jobs)
  • (429 jobs)
  • (308 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (296 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (1,114 jobs)

High School Biology Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

57.2%

Male

30.3%

Unknown

12.5%
Ethnicity

White

59.5%

Hispanic or Latino

13.3%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

10.5%

Unknown

5.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.7%

Portuguese

10.3%

French

6.9%

Russian

6.9%

Italian

6.9%

Indonesian

3.4%

German

3.4%

Dutch

3.4%

Gujarati

3.4%

Hindi

3.4%
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High School Biology Teacher Education

Schools

Arizona State University

9.2%

University of Florida

6.2%

Walden University

6.2%

University of California - Davis

6.2%

East Carolina University

6.2%

University of Phoenix

6.2%

Mississippi State University

6.2%

Southern Connecticut State University

4.6%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.6%

Wayne State University

4.6%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.6%

Bridgewater State University

4.6%

University of West Florida

4.6%

Western Kentucky University

4.6%

Colorado State University

4.6%

George Mason University

4.6%

National University

3.1%

University of Alabama

3.1%

Western Governors University

3.1%

Reinhardt University

3.1%
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Majors

Biology

32.1%

Education

10.8%

Secondary Education And Teaching

6.8%

Elementary Education

5.7%

Nursing

5.4%

Educational Leadership

4.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

4.4%

Environmental Science

4.1%

Curriculum And Instruction

3.0%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

3.0%

Business

2.7%

Psychology

2.7%

Public Health

2.4%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.4%

Chemistry

2.0%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.7%

Microbiology

1.7%

Pharmacy

1.7%

School Counseling

1.4%

Zoology

1.4%
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Degrees

Masters

41.2%

Bachelors

32.9%

Other

12.6%

Doctorate

7.5%

Certificate

4.4%

Associate

1.0%

License

0.2%

Diploma

0.2%
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Updated May 19, 2020