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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

  • $60,000

    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 Teacher Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Coach Lead Teacher
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Team Leader Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor 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
Tutor Consultant Principal
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Mathematics Instructor Adjunct Instructor Lead Teacher
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Mathematics Instructor Adjunct Instructor
Associate Dean
11 Yearsyrs
Mathematics Instructor Adjunct Instructor Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Professor Associate Dean
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Education Consultant Assistant Superintendent
Director Of Instruction
7 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Assistant Professor Department Chairperson
Vice Principal
8 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Education Consultant Vice Principal
Middle School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Assistant Professor Department Chairperson
Academic Director
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Pastor School Administrator
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Physical Education Teacher Guidance Counselor Elementary School Principal
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
Physical Education Teacher Guidance Counselor Student Dean
High School Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Physics Teacher?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Math Teacher 4.2 years
Science Teacher 4.1 years
French Teacher 4.1 years
Physics Teacher 4.0 years
Teacher 3.9 years
Biology Teacher 3.5 years
Science Instructor 3.2 years
Chemistry Teacher 3.2 years
Economics Teacher 3.1 years
Calculus Teacher 2.2 years
Geometry Teacher 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Physics Teacher
Math Teacher 11.9%
Teacher 11.6%
Tutor 4.6%
Internship 3.4%
Math Tutor 2.7%
Instructor 2.6%
Lecturer 2.1%
Volunteer 2.1%
Top Careers After Physics Teacher
Math Teacher 15.1%
Teacher 9.8%
Tutor 4.8%
Instructor 4.3%
Math Tutor 3.3%
Lecturer 2.9%

Do you work as a Physics Teacher?

Average Yearly Salary
$60,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$40,000
Min 10%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
California Institute of the Arts
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Physics Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Physics Teacher in the United States is $60,865 per year or $29 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $40,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $91,000.

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 University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Feb 20, 2013 $90,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary Yale University New Haven, CT Feb 18, 2014 $90,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA Jun 27, 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 Washington State University Pullman, WA Sep 02, 2014 $76,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary University of Minnesota Duluth, MN Nov 18, 2013 $63,000
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary Clarkson University Potsdam, NY Aug 01, 2014 $63,000
Mathematics and Physics Teacher Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Starkville, MS Jan 10, 2016 $62,819
Physics Teacher Milkyway Education Center, Inc. Clifton, NJ Sep 11, 2013 $62,610
Physics Teacher Brooklyn Amity School New York, NY Sep 10, 2014 $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

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Biology
  3. Physics Curriculum
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Attended a variety of professional development workshops centered on learning goals, classroom management, student motivation and engaging learning activities.
  • Developed a biology dichotomous key authoring program that controls a videodisc.
  • Modernized the physics curriculum, implementing a new experiment-centered, hands-on, conceptual physics course.
  • Created engaging physics content to communicate course material to 140 students using lab equipment and presentations.
  • Provided educational continuity by implementing established lesson plans while exercising judgment to present new material when necessary or appropriate.

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Top 10 Best States for Physics Teachers

  1. Alaska
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Jersey
  5. Illinois
  6. Michigan
  7. Maryland
  8. Oregon
  9. New York
  10. California
  • (24 jobs)
  • (275 jobs)
  • (128 jobs)
  • (360 jobs)
  • (583 jobs)
  • (337 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)
  • (65 jobs)
  • (284 jobs)
  • (1,440 jobs)

Physics Teacher Demographics

Gender

Male

56.8%

Female

28.6%

Unknown

14.6%
Ethnicity

White

53.6%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Asian

12.4%

Black or African American

11.5%

Unknown

6.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.8%

French

13.1%

Mandarin

7.7%

Arabic

6.2%

Russian

5.4%

Portuguese

5.4%

Chinese

5.4%

German

4.6%

Hindi

2.3%

Italian

2.3%

Japanese

2.3%

Urdu

2.3%

Yoruba

1.5%

Bengali

1.5%

Greek

1.5%

Hebrew

1.5%

Swedish

0.8%

Hausa

0.8%

Turkish

0.8%

Dutch

0.8%
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Physics Teacher Education

Schools

Wayne State University

6.5%

University of Phoenix

6.5%

Illinois Institute of Technology

5.8%

University of Houston

5.8%

Purdue University

5.8%

Montclair State University

5.8%

New York University

5.2%

University of Texas at Arlington

5.2%

Pennsylvania State University

5.2%

University of Georgia

5.2%

Lehigh University

5.2%

University of South Florida

4.5%

University of North Texas

4.5%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

4.5%

Boston University

4.5%

National University

3.9%

University of Texas at San Antonio

3.9%

Texas A&M University

3.9%

Stevens Institute of Technology

3.9%

Drexel University

3.9%
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Majors

Physics

28.0%

Education

10.5%

Mathematics

6.2%

Elementary Education

5.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

5.2%

Biology

4.8%

Mechanical Engineering

4.8%

Electrical Engineering

4.7%

Health Education

4.5%

Business

3.5%

Educational Leadership

3.5%

Chemistry

3.4%

Computer Science

2.9%

Secondary Education And Teaching

2.6%

Geology

2.3%

Physical Sciences

1.7%

Curriculum And Instruction

1.6%

Engineering

1.6%

Biomedical Engineering

1.5%

Astronomy And Astrophysics

1.4%
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Degrees

Masters

37.3%

Bachelors

32.4%

Other

13.3%

Doctorate

10.9%

Certificate

3.1%

Associate

1.9%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.1%
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Physics Teacher Videos

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