Becoming an Economics Teacher
Economics teachers train students in a wide range of economic and financial subjects, such as markets, supply and demand, profit, and competition. These topics may be taught in high schools or even in middle schools. Teachers plan lessons, deliver instruction, assess student progress on an on-going basis, and evaluate students' accomplishments compared to state guidelines. Teachers might also be responsible for students outside of the classroom, while in common areas such as hallways and lunchrooms, for example. Teaching takes a great deal of patience, but many educators find satisfaction in later observing their students' accomplishments.
Economics teachers, and teachers in general, need to have key skills such as patience, instructional skills, communication skills, and good computer skills, the last of which is important for use with classroom technology. The median annual salary for high school teachers as of 2015 was $45,471.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Teachers are expected to have at least a bachelor's degree to become licensed. Undergraduates aspiring to become middle or high school teachers often major in the subject they wish to teach, which would be economics. Economics degree programs leading to teacher certification combine the study of economics topics, such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, and financial management, with education courses focusing on subjects such as classroom technology, instructional methods, and classroom management. Student teaching is a certification requirement for teachers in most states and is a component of most teacher education programs.
Take employment as a substitute teacher during college. Some states allow aspiring teachers to work as substitutes during college, as long as they've completed a minimum amount of credit hours. Those who would like to become substitutes should contact their state board of education, where special permits or licenses might be available. Working as a substitute teacher offers the chance to gain experience in the classroom and improve the skills needed to be successful as a teacher, including effective communication and classroom management. Additionally, working as a substitute teacher allows future teachers to gain knowledge from seasoned professionals.
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Step 2: Obtain Teaching License
All public school teachers must obtain a state teacher's license. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but most states mandate graduation from an accredited teacher education program and a certain number of hours spent working as a student teacher. Licensure to become an economics teacher will also often include passing an examination administered by the state board; candidates must demonstrate knowledge in both teaching practices and economics. After completing a bachelor's degree program, student teaching experience, and passing all professional examinations mandated by his or her state, an individual should be ready to apply for teacher certification. Requirements to maintain an active license may also differ, but typically include continuing education courses.
Step 3: Earn Master's Degree
Certain states require teachers to earn a master's degree shortly after earning certification. Master's degree programs take approximately two years to complete. Master's programs may be intended for those who have received a bachelor's degree in economics but lack certification or for teachers who would like to increase their knowledge of the economics or education field. One choice for those who have a bachelor's degree in economics but are not licensed to teach is a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, which includes the necessary education coursework and student teaching internship for certification.
Step 4: AttemptCareer Advancement
Economics teachers have many opportunities for advancement. An experienced teacher teaching at the high school level, may advance to mentoring other teachers with less experience. They may also become lead teachers to guide those with less experience to strengthen their teaching skills. There are also opportunities to rise within the school hierarchy and become a guidance counselor, assistant principal, or principal. In some cases, economics teachers may become administrative assistants or even executive assistants. With a master's degree or higher, economics teachers have the opportunity to work in a postsecondary environment in a university setting.