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Life Science Teacher: Job Duties & Requirements

Life science teachers use lectures and classroom presentations to provide students with information about a variety of living organisms, including animals, plants and humans. Find information about education and licensing requirements for life science teachers here, as well as what to expect in terms of job growth and potential salary.

Career Definition for Life Science Teachers

Life science involves the study of living things and how they relate to each other and their environmental surroundings, and may include topics in biology, botany, ecology, or zoology. Teachers who specialize in life science develop lesson plans and labs, assign homework, and test students on their understanding of the subject. Instruction may take place on a whole-class or small-group basis; some students may require individual help. Additional duties can include preparing students in grades 9-12 for standardized tests or supervising extracurricular or out-of-class activities.

Required Education Bachelor's in life science
Job Skills Develop lesson plans, assign homework, test students, communication skills, organization skills
Median Salary (2015)* $57,200 (all high school teachers)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (all high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

Aspiring life science teachers usually earn a bachelor's degree in the subject from an accredited university. A life science curriculum often includes courses in biology, chemistry, earth science and physics. Public school requirements typically include completion of a state-approved teacher training program and a license. Graduates of a college or university life science program do not need a certification or license to teach in a private school.

Skills Required

Life science teachers must be organized and have good communications skills. They should also be able to inspire confidence and motivate students in the classroom environment. Creativity, patience, and the ability to recognize students' strengths and weaknesses are also essential.

Employment and Salary Outlook

Nationwide, employment opportunities for high school teachers in general are expected to grow by a fast-as-average rate of 6% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As reported by the BLS, the median annual salary for high school teachers was $57,200 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare and implement classroom lessons in arithmetic, language arts, and hands-on subjects like science. Entry-level qualifications for public school teachers include a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a state certification; private school teachers do not need to be certified. Nationwide, kindergarten and elementary teachers can expect a 6%, or fast-as-average, growth in employment from 2014-2024, as reported by the BLS. As of May 2015, elementary school teachers earned median yearly wages of $54,890 while kindergarten teachers earned $51,640 (www.bls.gov).

Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers help students in grades 6-8 transition from elementary to high school, and they typically specialize in a major content area, such as biology. Professional requirements are nearly identical to those of kindergarten and elementary school teachers and include completion of a bachelor's degree program in education or a major content area. Employment prospects for middle school teachers are expected to increase by 6% nationwide, or as fast as average, between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. The BLS also reported that the median annual wage for middle school teachers in May 2015 was $55,860 (www.bls.gov).

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