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American History Teacher: Job Description & Requirements

Read about a career in American history teaching. Research the educational and skill requirements and learn about the job description and employment and salary outlook for an American history teacher.

Career Definition for an American History Teacher

American history teachers have the opportunity to teach many different grade levels, although the majority teach middle or high school. Like all teachers, an American history teacher's duties include giving classroom presentations and individualized instruction, planning lessons, preparing and grading tests, maintaining classroom order, evaluating student performance, giving grades, and meeting with parents and administrators. Teachers often serve as individual learning facilitators, use hands-on instructional methods, and encourage critical thinking.

Education Bachelor's degree; master's or doctorate needed for collegiate professors
Job Duties Provide instruction, plan lessons, encourage critical thinking
Median Salary (2017)* $59,170 (all high school teachers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8% (all high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Almost all middle and high school teachers in public schools hold at least a bachelor's degree in their particular field. At postsecondary institutions, master's and doctoral degrees have become the minimum standard to become a professor of American history. Traditionally, those who planned on teaching a particular subject, such as American history, usually majored in said subject at a 4-year college or university while taking teacher-preparation courses. While this may still be the status quo, many states offer programs allowing college graduates with subject matter expertise to obtain a license without taking education courses.

Licensing Requirements

All 50 states require public school teachers to be certified to qualify for teaching positions. Teachers in private school settings are not required to hold certification. Certifications are specified by age group; a secondary school license enables a teacher to instruct students in grades 7-12. Although certification requirements vary per state, all states require that candidates hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Required Skills

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that American history teachers must have the following skills:

  • Ability to instruct individuals with varying learning styles
  • Communication and active listening skills, as well as patience
  • Ability to communicate on computers and the Internet
  • Cultural sensitivity and ability to tolerate stress

Employment and Salary Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all high school teachers had a median salary of $59,170 in May 2017. Employment opportunities for all high school teachers were expected to grow 8% from 2016-2026, per the BLS. Comparatively, the rate of employment growth for teachers instructing kindergarten through elementary school children was predicted to increase by 7% during the same time.


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