High School English Literature Teacher: Job Duties & Requirements

High school English literature teachers help introduce students to the joys of reading, analyzing, and understanding English literature. They share similar skills and abilities with college and university English professors and high school teachers in general. Keep reading to further explore this profession.

Career Definition for High School English Literature Teachers

High school English literature teachers work with students in grades 9 through 12, instructing them on how to read and interpret English literature. High school English literature teachers develop lesson plans and exams, grade papers, assign readings, facilitate discussion about English literature, and prepare students for standardized tests. They also perform general duties including supervising homerooms and study halls, measuring student progress, and working with colleagues and parents as necessary.

Education Bachelor's in English
Job Duties Develop lesson plans, grade papers, assign readings
Median Salary (2015)* $57,200 (all high school teachers)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (all high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

Most high school English literature teachers earn a bachelor's degree in English and then pursue state licensing and certification, which may require a master's degree. High school English literature teachers who are employed by private schools may not have to fulfill these requirements. Students interested in becoming high school English literature teachers will take a number of specialized classes in English literature while in college. High school English literature teachers have studied many aspects of English literature and its relation to society, including major writers, periods, and types of writing, plus general educational theory and practice.

Licensure and Certification

All states require public school teachers to be licensed, which requires the completion of a bachelor's or master's degree and passing a licensure exam in their field of study. Students may also require certification, but this varies by state.

Skills Required

High school English literature teachers should have good presentation and communication skills to ensure students learn the material presented as well as they can. High school English literature teachers need good time management skills because students change classes several times throughout the day, limiting a teacher's time with any one class. A general passion for both the written word and teaching is needed to engage students in the material.

Career and Economic Outlook

High school teachers can expect an average job growth of 6% for the 2014 to 2024 decade, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) figures ( Additionally, the BLS reported that the 2015 median annual salary for high school teachers was $57,200.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Career and Technical Education Teacher

With a bachelor's degree and work experience in their area of specialty, these educators teach in vocational and technical programs like healthcare, auto repair, and culinary arts. Licensure or certification may be required depending on the state, and students may be required to complete continuing education to maintain licensure. A slower-than-average employment growth of 4% was forecast from 2014-2024. High school career and technical education teachers earned an annual median wage of $56,130 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Postsecondary Teacher

Although a Ph.D. is often required, those working at community colleges or trade schools may secure employment with a master's degree and related work experience. In 2015, postsecondary educators teaching English language and literature earned a median salary of $61,990 per year, according to the BLS. All postsecondary educators were projected to see a faster than average rise in jobs of 13% from 2014-2024.

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