High School History Teacher: Job Description & Career Requirements

Read on to see what high school history teachers do. See about education and training requirements. Find out what the career prospects and earning potential are.

Career Definition

High school history teachers offer students classroom instruction that builds upon the national, state, local, and global history they've learned in earlier grades. Most high school history teachers help their students to move beyond rote memorization into critical analysis of historical events.

Careers in teaching high school history classes may also include teaching civics, economics, and general social studies. High school history teachers may also be responsible for overseeing study halls, supervising after-school activities and field trips, assessing student performance and working with fellow teachers, students, parents, and school officials as needed. A school district's demand for teachers, including high school history teachers, is largely dictated by student enrollment, although budgetary factors can be an influence as well.

Become a High School History Teacher

Required Education

High school history teachers typically earn a bachelor's degree. High school history teachers are likely to major in history, social studies or education. Some states require that high school history teachers, like other teachers, earn a master's degree within a specified length of time. Teaching high school history classes means having studied history, economics, education, and English, and having completed a student-teaching internship.

Licensing and Certification Requirements

High school history teachers are typically required to meet state licensing and certification requirements. This often requires taking state licensing and certification exams, although regulations vary by state.

Skills Required

High school history teachers need to be well-organized and manage their time and tasks well. They need to be objective assessors of student performance and demonstrate strong leadership skills. They must also have the passion and dedication needed to instill a lifelong love of investigation and learning in their students.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts slower-than-average job growth of 6% for high school teachers between 2012 and 2022. Additionally, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for high school teachers was $55,050 in 2012.

Alternate Career Options

Teacher Assistant

A teacher assistant performs a support role for teachers and students through tasks like classroom preparation and management, record keeping, and small group or one-on-one work with pupils. Employment typically requires at least a high school diploma, although employers commonly prefer an associate's degree; teacher assistants who work with special needs students may also be required to pass a state test. The BLS reports that jobs in this field are expected to increase 9% from 2012-2022, and the median salary among teacher assistants was $23,640 in 2012.


A librarian typically works in a public or school library, helping people track down books and other sources of information. Librarians choose what materials to purchase; they also organize it and create programs to promote those materials. Librarians may supervise paraprofessional staff, too.

Employment often requires a master's degree in library science. Librarians who work in public schools may need professional certification or licensure, depending on the state, and those who work in special libraries (like law libraries or medical libraries) may need to hold a relevant professional degree. The number of jobs for librarians is expected to increase 7% from 2012-2022, per the BLS; the agency also reported that librarians earned median pay of $55,370 in 2012.

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