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Become A Physics Teacher

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Working As A Physics 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

  • $62,175

    Average Salary

What Does A Physics 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 Physics 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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Physics Teacher Jobs

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Physics Teacher Career Paths

Physics Teacher
Math And Science Teacher Language Arts Teacher ESL Instructor
Academic Director
8 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Assistant Director Coach
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Instructor Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Physics Instructor Adjunct Professor
Curriculum Director
9 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Faculty Chairperson
Dean
5 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Assistant Professor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Instructor
Director Of Instruction
6 Yearsyrs
Math And Science Teacher Spanish Teacher Pre-K Teacher
Director Of Teacher Education
5 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Instructional Designer Program Manager
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Program Coordinator Education Coordinator
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
8th Grade Science Teacher Math Teacher Education Director
Educational Program Director
6 Yearsyrs
Instructor Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson Assistant Principal
High School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
8th Grade Science Teacher 8th Grade Teacher Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Education Director Adjunct Instructor
Online Instructor
10 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Assistant Principal
Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Assistant Principal Education Director
School Director
7 Yearsyrs
Physics Instructor Mathematics Instructor Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Principal Presenter Science Teacher
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Physics Teacher?

Physics Teacher Demographics

Gender

Male

62.8%

Female

32.1%

Unknown

5.1%
Ethnicity

White

53.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Asian

12.2%

Black or African American

11.5%

Unknown

6.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.3%

French

13.2%

Mandarin

7.7%

Russian

6.6%

Chinese

5.5%

Portuguese

4.4%

Arabic

4.4%

Italian

3.3%

Greek

2.2%

German

2.2%

Turkish

2.2%

Urdu

2.2%

Hindi

2.2%

Georgian

1.1%

Azerbaijani

1.1%

Japanese

1.1%

Albanian

1.1%

Korean

1.1%

Ukrainian

1.1%

Hausa

1.1%
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Physics Teacher Education

Schools

University of Houston

8.6%

University of Phoenix

6.7%

Lehigh University

6.7%

University of South Florida

5.7%

Montclair State University

5.7%

University of Georgia

5.7%

New York University

4.8%

Wayne State University

4.8%

University of New Hampshire

4.8%

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

4.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.8%

Boston University

4.8%

Drexel University

4.8%

Grand Canyon University

4.8%

Ohio University -

3.8%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.8%

University of Texas at San Antonio

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University

3.8%

University of Southern California

3.8%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

3.8%
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Majors

Physics

27.7%

Education

11.8%

Mathematics

6.2%

Elementary Education

5.8%

General Education, Specific Areas

5.5%

Health Education

5.3%

Biology

4.7%

Chemistry

4.4%

Electrical Engineering

4.0%

Mechanical Engineering

3.8%

Business

3.3%

Computer Science

3.1%

Educational Leadership

2.6%

Secondary Education And Teaching

2.2%

Geology

1.8%

Engineering

1.8%

Curriculum And Instruction

1.6%

Astronomy And Astrophysics

1.5%

Civil Engineering

1.5%

Educational Technology

1.5%
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Degrees

Masters

38.4%

Bachelors

29.2%

Other

14.2%

Doctorate

11.7%

Certificate

3.7%

Associate

1.9%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.1%
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Real Physics Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of California, Davis Sacramento, CA Jul 07, 2014 $120,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH Jan 09, 2014 $110,000
Physics Teacher for Secondary School La Fondation Du Lycee Francais International de Wa Bethesda, MD Sep 02, 2014 $109,200
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Feb 03, 2014 $102,666
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA Feb 25, 2014 $99,200
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary New York University New York, NY Sep 22, 2014 $95,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA Mar 26, 2014 $94,000
Physics Teacher-Secondary Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 15, 2015 $90,841
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA Feb 19, 2013 $90,100
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA Jun 27, 2013 $90,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary Yale University New Haven, CT Feb 18, 2014 $90,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Feb 20, 2013 $90,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA Jun 19, 2013 $90,000
Physics Teacher Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jun 15, 2015 $78,669
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL May 06, 2014 $78,000
Physics Teacher-Secondary Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 03, 2015 $77,639
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary The University of Georgia Athens, GA May 20, 2013 $77,000
Physics Teacher-Secondary Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jan 05, 2014 $76,870
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA Mar 19, 2014 $76,149
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of Hawaii Urban Honolulu, HI Jun 05, 2013 $76,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary Clarkson University Potsdam, NY Aug 01, 2014 $63,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of Minnesota Duluth, MN Nov 18, 2013 $63,000
Mathematics and Physics Teacher Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Starkville, MS Jan 10, 2016 $62,819
Physics Teacher Brooklyn Amity School New York, NY Sep 10, 2014 $62,610
Physics Teacher Milkyway Education Center, Inc. Clifton, NJ Sep 11, 2013 $62,610
Physics Teacher Kipp Bay Area Schools San Jose, CA Jul 01, 2015 $61,900

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Top Skills for A Physics Teacher

ClassroomManagementPhysicsCurriculumTaughtMathematicsLaboratoryExperimentsLessonPlansAlgebraII11ThGradeExamsPhysicalScienceTaughtPhysicsGeometryChemistryPre-CalculusElectricityPrinciplesConceptualAdvisorProfessionalDevelopmentWorkshopsPhysicsClassesTopics

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  1. Classroom Management
  2. Physics Curriculum
  3. Taught Mathematics
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Focused professional development on inquiry-based instruction, classroom management, conferencing, parent involvement, and student engagement.
  • Modernized the physics curriculum, implementing a new experiment-centered, hands-on, conceptual physics course.
  • Organized and supervised students laboratory experiments.
  • Provided educational continuity by implementing established lesson plans while exercising judgment to present new material when necessary or appropriate.
  • provided the necessary direction to teach nine to twelve levels in Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry.

How Would You Rate Working As a Physics Teacher?

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Top Physics Teacher Employers

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Physics Teacher Videos

What can you do with a physics degree? Take 2

So You Want a Degree in Physics

Becoming a Physics Teacher