High School Criminal Justice Teacher: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a high school criminal justice teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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To teach criminal justice in high school it is necessary to have a bachelor's degree, although a master's degree may be preferred. Criminal justice is considered a vocational course in high school, so in addition to their state teaching license, criminal justice teachers may also need a vocational teaching certificate.

Essential Information

High school criminal justice teachers are responsible for instructing students in how the criminal justice system works, and they also monitor student progress. In all states, high school teachers must complete a teacher education program, which usually leads to a bachelor's degree; however, a master's degree is sometimes preferred for criminal justice teachers. Other requirements may include a vocational teaching certificate and work experience in criminal justice. Criminal justice teachers are required to earn state licensure before teaching at the high school level in a public institution.

Required Education Completion of a teacher education program leading to a bachelor's degree; master's degree preferred
Other Requirements State teacher licensure; vocational teaching certificate sometimes required; work experience in criminal justice preferred
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% for all high school teachers
Median Salary (2018)* $60,320 annually for all high school teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

High School Criminal Justice Teacher Job Description

A high school criminal justice teacher's duties are much the same as that of other high school teachers. They are responsible for putting in place and teaching a curriculum that maximizes student learning potential. A teacher's job is to facilitate learning through presentations and individual instruction. Teachers are also responsible for setting a professional example for students and monitoring student progress.

Teaching criminal justice includes discussing the function, organization and history of the agencies and laws that comprise the criminal justice system. Often, the study of criminal justice encompasses the subjects of law enforcement and criminal court and corrections systems.

Education and Career Requirements for High School Criminal Justice Teachers

Criminal justice teachers must normally have at least a bachelor's degree in order to be considered for employment at the high school level. Depending on the school, some work experience in a criminal justice related field may be required, and a graduate degree may be preferred. Because some states consider criminal justice a vocational subject, teachers may also be required to have a vocational teaching certificate.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private school teachers usually don't need a license, but public school teachers must obtain a state license. Specific licensing requirements for high school teachers vary by state, although all states require teachers to obtain a bachelor's degree and complete an approved teacher training program that includes some supervised teaching experience. Typically, teachers are tested for competency in skills such as reading and writing in a state licensure exam. States may offer alternative licensing procedures for candidates who have a degree in the subject they will teach, but have not yet completed an approved training program. This training process generally takes 1-2 years and involves working under the supervision of experienced teachers.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The BLS projects that high school teaching jobs will experience a 4% increase between 2018 and 2028, which is about average compared with the national average for all occupations. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for high school teachers was $60,320 in May 2018.

High school criminal justice teachers instruct students from grades 9 through 12 in criminal justice studies. They help develop curriculum, teach classes, grade assigned work, and monitor student progress through their courses.

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