Middle school teachers are required to have a bachelor's degree and their teaching license. They typically teach one subject, or a few related subjects, and may earn a bachelor's degree in education or in the subject they plan to teach.
Middle school teachers, also known as junior high teachers, instruct students who have completed elementary school but have not yet entered high school. Depending on their location within the U.S., these students can be in grades five through eight. Middle school teachers must have at least a bachelor's degree, and they must be prepared to meet the particular needs of the young adolescent student. Teacher licensure or certification is necessary for those who teach in public schools.
|Required Education||Bachelor's; some employers require a master's|
|Licensure||State license or certification to teach in public schools|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$55,860 annually|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual wage for middle school teachers was $55,860 and that elementary and secondary schools were the most common employers. The BLS predicted that, between 2014 and 2024, middle school teachers could expect 6% job growth, which was around the national average across all employment fields. Specialized areas of teaching such as special education and English as a Second Language (ESL) were expected to offer more job opportunities.
Overall, the BLS projects that student enrollment in the nation's school systems will increase during the 2014-2024 decade, with the highest levels of enrollment taking place in southern and western states. As is typical in education, opportunities will be greater in inner cities and rural areas.
Since middle school teachers teach classes by subject, expertise in specific subjects is required. Teachers may have undergraduate degrees in education, or they may hold a subject-specific baccalaureate degree. All public school teachers and some private school teachers are required to obtain a state teaching certificate. In addition, some states offer a specific middle school teaching endorsement to complement the general teaching license.
Teachers of this age group must also be cognizant of the needs and learning styles particular to the young adolescent. The full developmental range of this age group must be understood and factored into teaching methodology, including the intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth characteristics of children in this age range.
Middle school expands upon the concepts that were introduced in elementary school. Most middle schools rotate classes, which are organized into language arts, science, mathematics, history and social studies. In some districts, fine arts is added into the curriculum.
Classes today are populated with students from a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. To teach effectively, teachers should be aware of the environmental factors that influence their students outside of class. Some school districts offer additional training in this area. Heavy workloads and lack of funding are often cited as sources of frustration for teachers, as well as the tendency for standardized testing to govern the curriculum, reports the NMSA.
Subject-specific lesson plans and evaluations take up a considerable amount of time, as does administering and grading tests and assignments. Teachers must be also aware of current assessment methods and use them to evaluate students' progress; this information usually must be relayed to school staff and students' families.
Aside from classroom duties, middle school teachers may supervise extracurricular activities or clubs, coach a sport, manage a study hall or a homeroom, or chaperone events and field trips.
Middle school teachers instruct students in grades 5 through grade 8. They prepare students for the transition to high school. The job growth in this field is expected to be 6% from 2014-2024, which is the national average for all occupations.