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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:
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.
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before High School Teacher
Top Careers After High School Teacher
Hispanic or Latino12.0%
Black or African American0.8%
High School Teacher
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University of Phoenix13.8%
Grand Canyon University6.2%
New York University5.1%
University of Houston4.8%
University of South Florida4.6%
Florida State University4.5%
University of North Texas4.2%
Michigan State University4.1%
Northern Arizona University3.9%
University of Florida3.7%
Wayne State University3.7%
Texas State University3.7%
Texas A&M University3.5%
University of Central Florida3.4%
Arizona State University3.4%
High School Teacher
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|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 -
|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-Special Education||Elite Consortium Group, Inc.||Covina, CA||Jul 15, 2015||$54,262|
|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 Spenish Teacher||Inner City Education Foundation Public Schools||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 23, 2016||$52,530|
|High School Teacher||New Design Charter School||Los Angeles, CA||Sep 15, 2015||$52,530|
|High School Teacher, Mandarin Chinese Language||Capistrano Valley Christian Schools, Inc.||San Juan Capistrano, CA||Sep 19, 2015||$52,175|
|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 -
|High School Chemistry Teacher||Waco Independent School District||Waco, TX||Jul 12, 2016||$45,300|
|High School Chemistry Teacher||Waco Independent School District||Waco, TX||Sep 14, 2016||$45,300|
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High School Teacher Career Information : How to Become a High School Teacher
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