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Math Teacher: Educational Requirements

Math teachers at the middle and high school levels generally receive a bachelor's degree in education. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as job outlook and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Math teachers guide students through understanding of mathematical concepts from addition and subtraction all the way to complex calculus. For those interested in teaching mathematics, there are expected degrees for different levels of education, such as at least a bachelor's degree for middle school and high school and a doctoral degree for those teaching in postsecondary schools.

Essential Information

Math teachers instruct their students in concepts ranging from division to calculus. Typically working with students in middle to high school, math teachers are responsible for preparing lectures, assigning homework and grading tests. A bachelor's degree in education along with state licensure is the typical requirement for middle and high school math teachers, while postsecondary mathematics teachers typically need a doctoral degree.

Career Titles Middle School Teacher High School Teacher Postsecondary Teacher
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Doctoral degree
Other Requirements State license State license N/A
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% 6% 16%
Median Salary (2015)* $55,860 $57,200 $67,170

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Middle School Math Teacher

Most teachers can start specializing in instructing math at the middle school level. Middle school math teachers are responsible for preparing lectures, assigning homework and grading tests.

High School Math Teacher

High school math teachers teach at the secondary level in public and private schools. Math teachers must have completed a bachelor's degree program and be licensed by their respective state. Private school math teachers generally need a bachelor's degree, but do not need to be licensed.

Postsecondary Math Teacher

College math teachers, or professors, teach courses pertaining to mathematical concepts, statistics and actuarial science. They teach students how to apply original and standardized mathematical techniques in solving specific problems and situations. College math professors can be engaged in teaching full-time, or they could work on additional mathematical research.

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Education for a Math Teacher

Colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in education with a concentration or specialization in teaching math. Some schools may offer programs specifically for those wishing to teach in middle school or high school, while other schools provide a comprehensive program, which allows teacher to teach at any grade level. Most programs begin with core courses in algebra, trigonometry and calculus. Other courses may include statistics and science.

Upper-Division Courses

After completing core coursework, student may take advanced courses in teaching mathematics. Topics in these classes may include teaching methods, classroom management and math curriculum development. In-class discussions may cover methods for measuring student improvements and achievements or instructional strategies to help students with learning disabilities.

Internship

Because most states require public school teachers to have some teaching experience, bachelor's degree programs usually include an internship or teaching practicum. These opportunities allow students to teach under the supervision of a licensed, professional teacher. Duties may range from assisting teachers with preparing math lectures to providing one-on-one student tutoring in a subject like geometry or calculus.

Master's Degree Programs

Some states require public school teachers to complete a master's degree in education after they begin teaching. Master's degree programs typically last 2-3 years and cover advanced topics in mathematics and techniques for teaching advanced math. Students in these programs may also be required to complete research projects on topics like teaching strategies and student assessments. A teaching practicum may also be included to help students implement what they have learned.

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not differentiate math teachers from all types of teachers in their employment statistics. For the years 2014-2024, the BLS estimated that employment of all middle school teachers would increase 6%, while the number of working high school teachers would increase only 6%. Postsecondary teachers who teach mathematical sciences will see a job growth rate of 16% from 2014-2024.

The BLS reported in May 2015 that all middle school teachers earned a median wage of $55,860 per year, while secondary school teachers earned $57,200 as a median annual wage. The BLS makes a distinction for math science postsecondary teachers, and it stated that these professors earned $67,170 as a yearly median salary in 2015.

The required education for a math teacher varies, depending on the level at which you want to teach. Those interested in middle and high school will usually need only a bachelor's degree, but those pursuing a college position will need a doctorate in mathematics. Public school teachers must complete a teaching practicum or internship before testing for their state teaching license.

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