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Working As a Secondary History 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

  • $62,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Secondary History 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 Secondary History 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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Secondary History Teacher Typical Career Paths

Average Length of Employment
Secondary Teacher 5.0 years
Science Teacher 4.1 years
Speech Teacher 4.1 years
Teacher Advisor 3.7 years
History Teacher 3.3 years
2nd Grade Teacher 3.3 years
Literature Teacher 3.3 years
Economics Teacher 3.1 years
Junior Teacher 3.0 years
Humanities Teacher 2.5 years
8th Grade Teacher 2.5 years
Government Teacher 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Secondary History Teacher
Teacher 23.7%
Instructor 8.5%
President 8.5%
Internship 3.4%
Educator 3.4%
Manager 3.4%
Top Careers After Secondary History Teacher
Supervisor 8.3%
Teacher 6.7%

Do you work as a Secondary History Teacher?

Highest Secondary History Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
History Teachers, Post Secondary Duke University and Medical Center Durham, NC Jun 15, 2010 $72,000
History Teachers, Post Secondary Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA Apr 15, 2009 $64,232
History Teachers, Post Secondary Shawnee State University Portsmouth, OH Jun 07, 2010 $54,150
Africana Studies & History, Post Secondary Luther College Decorah, IA Feb 22, 2010 $52,011
Secondary School History Teacher Atlanta International School Atlanta, GA Sep 08, 2015 $50,000 -
$70,000
History Teacher Post Secondary The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL Oct 13, 2011 $50,000
Secondary Spanish History/Geography Teacher Atlanta International School Atlanta, GA Jul 05, 2011 $48,000 -
$60,000
History Teacher Post Secondary Wright State University Dayton, OH Nov 06, 2009 $48,000
History & Geography In Secondary/French Program Co Dallas International School Dallas, TX Oct 02, 2011 $47,952
Secondary Teacher, History & Geography In French L Dallas International School Dallas, TX Jul 01, 2014 $47,194
Secondary History, Geography & Theory of Knowledge Dallas International School Richardson, TX Aug 01, 2010 $43,044
Secondary History Teacher Us Virgin Islands Department of Education May 01, 2014 $42,100

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Top Skills for A Secondary History Teacher

  1. World History
  2. Curriculum Development
  3. Classroom Management
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Integrated literacy strategies and technological resources into the instructional framework of American and World History curricula.
  • Participated in collaborative curriculum development and grade-level activities.
  • Plan daily lessons, grading, classroom management, and assessments.
  • Designed lesson plans and associated curricula, balancing organizational policy and objectives with individual student learning requirements and academic goals.
  • Teach a diverse body of students United States History from early colonialism to reconstruction while incorporating geography and government.

Secondary History Teacher Demographics

Gender

Male

52.3%

Female

35.4%

Unknown

12.3%
Ethnicity

White

63.8%

Hispanic or Latino

12.6%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

8.7%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.0%

Polish

25.0%

Secondary History Teacher Education

Schools

University of Southern California

9.1%

Texas A&M University

9.1%

West Texas A&M University

4.5%

University of California - Berkeley

4.5%

Wingate University

4.5%

Salem State University

4.5%

University of Notre Dame

4.5%

Rowan University

4.5%

University of North Texas

4.5%

Oakland University

4.5%

University of South Dakota

4.5%

Southeast Missouri State University

4.5%

Washington State University

4.5%

University of Northern Colorado

4.5%

Lindenwood University

4.5%

University of Mary Washington

4.5%

Liberty University

4.5%

William Paterson University of New Jersey

4.5%

University of Texas at Austin

4.5%

University of Mississippi

4.5%
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Majors

History

15.0%

Education

11.7%

Elementary Education

8.3%

Secondary Education And Teaching

8.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

5.0%

Political Science

5.0%

Social Sciences

5.0%

Special Education

5.0%

Educational Leadership

5.0%

School Counseling

3.3%

Speech Communication And Rhetoric

3.3%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Counseling Psychology

3.3%

Theology

3.3%

Writing

3.3%

Rehabilitation Science

3.3%

Liberal Arts

3.3%

Science, Technology, And Society

1.7%

Sociology

1.7%

Linguistics

1.7%
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Degrees

Masters

41.1%

Bachelors

27.4%

Other

12.3%

Doctorate

12.3%

Certificate

6.8%
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Updated May 19, 2020