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Become A Secondary Teacher

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Working As A Secondary 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

  • $52,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Secondary 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 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 Teacher Jobs

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Secondary Teacher Career Paths

Secondary Teacher
Student Teacher Instructor Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Student Teacher Lead Teacher Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Student Teacher Lead Teacher
Lead Pre-K Teacher
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Instructor Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Tutor Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
High School Principal
9 Yearsyrs
Tutor Team Leader Chairperson
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Tutor Consultant Principal
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Social Studies Teacher Team Leader Assistant Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Social Studies Teacher Special Education Teacher Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Social Studies Teacher Adjunct Instructor Associate Dean
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Administrator Business Office Manager
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Education Consultant Assistant Superintendent
Director Of Instruction
7 Yearsyrs
Math Teacher Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Vice Principal
8 Yearsyrs
Bilingual Teacher Special Education Teacher Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Bilingual Teacher Special Education Teacher Guidance Counselor
Middle School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Principal Elementary School Principal
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
Science Teacher Program Coordinator Educational Programs Coordinator
Education Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Bilingual Teacher Resource Teacher Department Chairperson
Academic Director
7 Yearsyrs
Coach Head Basketball Coach Business Education Teacher
High School Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Secondary Teacher 5.0 years
Teacher 3.9 years
Teacher Advisor 3.7 years
History Teacher 3.3 years
Junior Teacher 3.0 years
Humanities Teacher 2.5 years
8th Grade Teacher 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Secondary Teacher
Teacher 30.0%
Tutor 5.3%
Instructor 5.3%
Internship 3.5%
Volunteer 2.5%
Cashier 2.2%
Coach 2.2%
Top Careers After Secondary Teacher
Teacher 28.4%
Principal 4.7%
Instructor 4.7%
Tutor 3.8%
Owner 2.7%
Cashier 2.5%
Supervisor 2.4%
Consultant 2.4%

Do you work as a Secondary Teacher?

Average Yearly Salary
$52,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$31,000
Min 10%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Rowan University
Highest Paying City
Baltimore, MD
Highest Paying State
Delaware
Avg Experience Level
5.0 years
How much does a Secondary Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Secondary Teacher in the United States is $52,628 per year or $25 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $31,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $86,000.

Real Secondary Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Teacher Post Secondary-Periodontist Roseman University of Health Sciences South Jordan, UT Sep 15, 2016 $150,000
Secondary Teacher West Contra Costa Unified School District Hercules, CA Aug 16, 2015 $98,172
Secondary Teacher West Contra Costa Unified School District Hercules, CA May 22, 2015 $98,172
Teacher, General Secondary District of Columbia Public Schools Washington, DC Aug 01, 2014 $96,460
Secondary Teacher-Mathematics Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Oct 01, 2014 $92,244
Secondary Teacher-Mathematics Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 04, 2014 $91,750
Teacher, Secondary (Foreign Language) Fontana Unified School District Fontana, CA Sep 13, 2016 $91,614
Secondary Teacher-Biology Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Aug 06, 2014 $90,841
Teacher-Secondary Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Aug 06, 2013 $90,841
Teacher-Secondary//Apc//Biology Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 01, 2013 $89,942
Secondary Teacher-Mathematics Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Oct 01, 2014 $88,849
Secondary Teacher-Chemistry Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Sep 09, 2014 $87,757
Secondary Teacher-Biology and Chemistry Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD May 01, 2015 $77,639
Teacher-Secondary/Apc/Mathematics Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 01, 2013 $77,570
Teacher Secondary Mathematics Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Feb 01, 2013 $76,870
Teacher-Secondary Mathematics Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Feb 01, 2013 $76,870
Teacher-Secondary Physics Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Nov 06, 2013 $76,870
Secondary Teacher-Math Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Mar 20, 2014 $76,870
Secondary Teacher-Physics Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 12, 2014 $76,870
Teacher, Secondary Math La Joya Independent School District Mission, TX Aug 31, 2016 $54,949
Secondary Teacher Wayne County Public Schools Goldsboro, NC Oct 01, 2013 $54,480
Secondary Teacher Wayne County Public Schools Goldsboro, NC Jan 03, 2016 $54,480
Teacher, Secondary Math Hidalgo Independent School District Hidalgo, TX Oct 02, 2014 $54,000
Secondary Teacher West Contra Costa Unified School District Richmond, CA Jan 12, 2015 $53,862
Secondary Teacher Houston Independent School District Houston, TX Jul 16, 2016 $53,750
Secondary Teacher Norfolk Public Schools Norfolk, VA Jul 01, 2013 $53,521
Teacher, Secondary Mathematics La Joya Independent School District Mission, TX Jun 14, 2016 $51,851

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Top Skills for A Secondary 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:
  • Promote a productive learning environment, while implementing effective classroom management strategies targeted to the growing and developing adolescent.
  • Provided technical assistance in the assessment, curriculum development, and use of materials, equipment and management of student behavior.
  • Implemented substitute lesson plans and assisted teachers and caregivers in a Life Skills classroom for intellectually and physically challenged students
  • Utilized Connected Mathematics Curriculum to teach sixth grade students.
  • Created and designed AP US History lesson plans aligned with state objectives.

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Top 10 Best States for Secondary Teachers

  1. Alaska
  2. Massachusetts
  3. California
  4. Iowa
  5. New Jersey
  6. Michigan
  7. Connecticut
  8. Maryland
  9. Minnesota
  10. Kansas
  • (33 jobs)
  • (442 jobs)
  • (2,382 jobs)
  • (125 jobs)
  • (606 jobs)
  • (437 jobs)
  • (210 jobs)
  • (266 jobs)
  • (270 jobs)
  • (129 jobs)

Secondary Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

55.5%

Male

32.3%

Unknown

12.2%
Ethnicity

White

61.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

7.8%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.9%

French

23.6%

German

5.5%

Hindi

3.6%

Russian

1.8%

Portuguese

1.8%

Hawaiian

1.8%

Japanese

1.8%

Urdu

1.8%

Dakota

1.8%

Sanskrit

1.8%

Arabic

1.8%

Italian

1.8%
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Secondary Teacher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.3%

Liberty University

8.4%

University of North Texas

7.8%

Grand Canyon University

7.1%

Wayne State University

6.5%

Texas A&M University

5.8%

Capella University

5.2%

Walden University

4.5%

National University

3.9%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

3.9%

Texas State University

3.9%

Grand Valley State University

3.9%

University of Oklahoma

3.9%

University of Central Missouri

3.2%

Kansas State University

3.2%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.2%

Texas Woman's University

3.2%

University of Texas at Austin

3.2%

University of Florida

3.2%

Johns Hopkins University

3.2%
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Majors

Education

18.2%

Educational Leadership

11.6%

Elementary Education

10.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

7.0%

English

6.9%

Business

6.5%

Secondary Education And Teaching

5.8%

Curriculum And Instruction

3.9%

Psychology

3.7%

Special Education

3.6%

History

3.4%

Mathematics

3.4%

School Counseling

2.3%

Educational Technology

2.3%

Biology

1.9%

Sociology

1.9%

Communication

1.8%

Liberal Arts

1.8%

Theology

1.8%

Health Education

1.5%
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Degrees

Masters

44.3%

Bachelors

27.5%

Other

14.0%

Doctorate

6.0%

Certificate

4.4%

Associate

2.3%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.3%
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Secondary Teacher Videos

High School Science Teacher, Career Video from drkit.org

Seating Chart That Works – Ideas for the Secondary Teacher & Classroom

A Career in Teaching - Secondary School Teacher (JTJS52010)

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