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Become A High School Teacher

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Working As A High School 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

  • $49,000

    Average Salary

What Does A High School 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 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 Teacher Career Paths

High School Teacher
Instructor Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Instructor Team Leader Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Tutor Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Tutor Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
High School Principal
9 Yearsyrs
Tutor Team Leader Chairperson
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Education Consultant Principal
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Case Manager Director Of Admissions
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Adjunct Instructor Associate Dean
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Vice Principal
8 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Program Coordinator Educational Programs Coordinator
Education Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Department Chairperson Vice Principal
Middle School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Adjunct Faculty Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Education Consultant Student Dean
High School Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Human Resources Manager Recruitment Director
College Director
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Principal Elementary School Principal
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Assistant Professor Department Chairperson
Academic Director
7 Yearsyrs
Guidance Counselor Vice Principal School Principal
Secondary School Principal
8 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Professor Associate Dean
Instruction Dean
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Teacher And Coach 6.1 years
Secondary Teacher 5.0 years
Teacher Advisor 3.7 years
History Teacher 3.3 years
Junior Teacher 3.0 years
Top Careers Before High School Teacher
Teacher 20.1%
Internship 7.4%
Volunteer 5.4%
Tutor 4.6%
Instructor 4.1%
Cashier 3.2%
Assistant 2.1%
Top Careers After High School Teacher
Teacher 16.5%
Cashier 6.5%
Internship 5.8%
Volunteer 4.9%
Instructor 4.6%
Tutor 4.4%
Owner 3.1%
Manager 2.6%

Do you work as a High School Teacher?

High School Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

47.0%

Male

40.3%

Unknown

12.7%
Ethnicity

White

59.1%

Hispanic or Latino

16.8%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

8.4%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.1%

French

12.3%

German

4.6%

Portuguese

3.7%

Chinese

3.4%

Italian

3.2%

Arabic

2.7%

Russian

2.6%

Mandarin

2.4%

Japanese

2.1%

Hindi

1.2%

Hebrew

1.0%

Korean

0.8%

Greek

0.7%

Albanian

0.6%

Swahili

0.5%

Turkish

0.5%

Filipino

0.5%

Romanian

0.4%

Hmong

0.4%
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High School Teacher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.9%

Liberty University

7.2%

Walden University

6.6%

National University

5.8%

Grand Canyon University

5.6%

University of South Florida

4.8%

New York University

4.8%

Wayne State University

4.6%

University of Houston

4.5%

University of Florida

4.3%

Nova Southeastern University

4.2%

Texas A&M University

4.1%

Capella University

4.0%

Arizona State University

3.8%

University of Central Florida

3.7%

Florida State University

3.7%

Eastern Michigan University

3.5%

Northern Arizona University

3.4%

Lamar University

3.3%

University of North Texas

3.3%
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Majors

Education

16.9%

Elementary Education

9.5%

Business

9.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

7.9%

Educational Leadership

7.0%

English

6.3%

Special Education

5.2%

Psychology

4.5%

Secondary Education And Teaching

4.2%

History

3.8%

Biology

3.8%

Nursing

2.9%

Chemistry

2.6%

Theology

2.5%

Curriculum And Instruction

2.5%

Mathematics

2.5%

School Counseling

2.4%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Health Education

2.1%

Communication

2.0%
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Degrees

Masters

35.8%

Bachelors

34.0%

Other

15.8%

Doctorate

5.4%

Certificate

4.4%

Associate

3.4%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$49,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$32,000
Min 10%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Board Of Education
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a High School Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a High School Teacher in the United States is $49,599 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $32,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $75,000.

Real High School Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
High School Teacher Holland Christian Education Society Holland, MI Sep 23, 2015 $117,310
High School Teacher Mt. Edgecumbe High School Sitka, AK May 30, 2015 $79,248
High School Teacher Alhambra Unified School District Monterey Park, CA Aug 01, 2015 $78,815
High School Economics Teacher Lycee Francais de San Francisco San Francisco, CA Jul 09, 2016 $77,003
High School Literature Teacher La Fondation Du Lycee Francais International de Washington Bethesda, MD Dec 09, 2016 $74,377
High School Teacher Irwin County Schools Irwinton, GA Jan 27, 2016 $72,000
High School Economics Teacher Le Lycee Francais de San Francisco San Francisco, CA Apr 22, 2016 $71,849
Teacher of Chinese for High School Language Class Great Neck Union Free School District Great Neck, NY Aug 31, 2015 $71,780
High School Chemistry Teacher Board of Education of St. Mary's County Leonardtown, MD Aug 17, 2015 $70,613 -
$86,283
High School Teacher Liberty Union High School District Brentwood, CA Dec 15, 2015 $68,209
Middle School & High School Teacher, Spanish Immersion Progra Fayette County Public Schools Lexington, KY May 16, 2016 $66,714
High School Spanish Teacher ICEF Public Schools Los Angeles, CA Jul 09, 2016 $65,800
High School Teacher, Mandarin Chinese Language Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, Inc. San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 19, 2015 $65,281
High School Teacher, Computer SCI, Robotics & ENG Dept Head Lotus School for Excellence Aurora, CO Oct 02, 2015 $64,550
High School Teacher, Mandarin Chinese Language Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, Inc. San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 19, 2015 $53,761
High School Teacher Park Hill School District CO Oct 05, 2015 $53,596
High School Physics Teacher Claiborne County School District Port Gibson, MS Feb 08, 2016 $53,500
High School Spanish Teacher Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four Cordova, SC Jun 30, 2016 $52,592
High School Teacher New Design Charter School Los Angeles, CA Sep 15, 2015 $52,530
High School Spenish Teacher Inner City Education Foundation Public Schools Los Angeles, CA Aug 23, 2016 $52,530
High School Teacher, Mandarin Chinese Language Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, Inc. San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 19, 2015 $52,175
High School Spanish Teacher Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four Cordova, SC Feb 05, 2016 $51,621
High School Chinese Teacher Board of School Trustees of Marion Community Schools Marion, IN Oct 01, 2015 $45,689
High School Chinese Teacher Board of School Trustees of Marion Community Schools Marion, IN Jan 05, 2015 $45,689
High School Chemistry Teacher Board of Education of St. Mary's County Leonardtown, MD Aug 30, 2016 $45,430
High School Chemistry Teacher Board of Education of St. Mary's County Leonardtown, MD Aug 17, 2015 $45,430 -
$62,993
High School Chemistry Teacher Waco Independent School District Waco, TX Sep 14, 2016 $45,300
High School Chemistry Teacher Waco Independent School District Waco, TX Jul 12, 2016 $45,300

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Top Skills for A High School Teacher

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Curriculum Development
  3. Lesson Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Attended a variety of professional developmental workshops centered on leaning goals, classroom management, student motivation and engaging activities.
  • Maintained professional competence by attending staff development programs, curriculum development meetings and other professional activities.
  • Developed and implemented a standard-based curriculum and lesson plans to enhance the effective and cognitive development of students.
  • Helped students understand mathematics related subjects and solved questions in algebra, calculus, and trigonometry area.
  • Designed lesson plans and associated curricula, balancing organizational policy and objectives with individual student learning requirements and academic goals.

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Top 10 Best States for High School Teachers

  1. Connecticut
  2. Alaska
  3. New Jersey
  4. Maryland
  5. Illinois
  6. California
  7. Oregon
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Michigan
  • (292 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (785 jobs)
  • (304 jobs)
  • (1,412 jobs)
  • (4,911 jobs)
  • (205 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (504 jobs)
  • (776 jobs)

Top High School Teacher Employers

Jobs From Top High School Teacher Employers

High School Teacher Videos

English Teacher (High School), Career Video from drkit.org

High School Teacher Career Information : How to Become a High School Teacher

High School Teacher Career Information : High School Teacher Salary

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