History Teachers: Job Description, Salary Info, and Requirements

Becoming a history teacher is generally done through an undergraduate degree program. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Depending on the level they wish to teach, history teachers need to complete a bachelor's degree, preferably with a double major in education and history, and obtain teaching credential. Teaching at the postsecondary level requires a master's degree. Postsecondary history teachers often focus on a single era, while middle and high school teachers usually focus on multiple time periods.

Essential Information

Teaching history at the middle school and high school level requires at least a bachelor's degree in education and a teaching certificate. Aspiring history teachers are encouraged to double major or minor in history, or complete an education degree that offers history as a concentration. Additionally, those who plan to teach in a public school need to be licensed, which requires completion of student teaching, passing state certification exams and applying for a teaching license from the state board of education. Postsecondary history teachers need a master's or doctoral degree.

Career Titles Middle School Teacher High School Teacher Postsecondary Teacher
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Master's or Doctoral degree
Other Requirements State license or certification State license or certification N/A
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (all teachers) 6% (all teachers) 13% (all teachers)
Median Salary (2015)* $55,860 (all teachers) $57,200 (all teachers) $72,470 (history teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Options

History teachers guide students through the study of events in the distant and near past. Middle and high school history teachers teach about multiple time periods, while college instructors often focus on a specific era.

Middle School History Teacher

Middle school history teachers may follow a state or district curriculum but usually create their own lesson plans, assignments and exams. In addition to leading classes, these teachers attend to a number of administrative tasks. These tasks include grading tests and essays, assigning overall grades and meeting with the parents to discuss student performance.

Middle school teachers as a group made a median salary of $55,860 annually in 2015. The BLS projected 6% growth in middle school teaching positions from 2014-2024.

High School History Teacher

High school history teachers impart factual knowledge and a conceptual understanding of historical events to a class of students. History teachers may follow a state or district curriculum. They also meet with school administrators to discuss their own performance, issues affecting their working environment and the implementation of new teaching methods.

In 2015, all high school teachers earned a median salary of $57,200. The BLS projected 6% growth in all secondary school teaching positions over the 2014-2024 period. Although job growth is strong, more openings may be in high-need areas like math, science and special education.

Postsecondary History Teacher

At the postsecondary level, history teachers are usually called professors. They lecture, lead seminars and mentor graduate students. They specialize in a specific area and have typically completed original research in their field.

Postsecondary history teachers usually hold a doctoral degree in history. Master's degree holders may be hired by community colleges. Most postsecondary history instructors don't have formal training in education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), postsecondary history teachers earned a median salary of $72,470 in 2015. The BLS projected 13% job growth among postsecondary teachers for the years from 2014-2024. This growth was expected to be driven by increased college enrollment as well as retirements in the industry.

No matter the level, history teachers are expected to create and follow lesson plans and schooling guidelines, possibly following an established curriculum, as well as follow through with associated administrative tasks. At each level, employment is expected to grow, with postsecondary history teachers seeing the highest growth.

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