High School Teacher: Requirements & Career Info

High school teachers must have some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

A bachelor's degree is required in order to become a high school teacher, and some states also require high school teachers to hold a master's degree. Appropriate state licensure is likewise needed for teachers working in public schools. Most high school teachers specialize in a particular subject, like history, biology or many other fields.

Essential Information

High school teachers design curricula, instruct students and plan activities for grades 9-12. Training for those who want to teach in public schools includes completing a bachelor's degree program and meeting state licensing requirements. Some states require secondary school teachers to earn a master's degree. Internship experience is also usually necessary.

Required Education Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's degree required in some states
Licensure State license for public school positions
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for secondary school teachers
Median Salary (2015)* $57,200 annually for secondary school teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Requirements for a High School Teacher

Most aspiring high school teachers enroll in a bachelor's degree program in education and concentrate or minor in the subject they wish to teach. As such, they take courses in education development and instruction, in addition to courses in their chosen subject. For example, aspiring history high school teachers may enroll in courses that help them learn teaching techniques, in addition to classes in history and history education.

Teaching Practice

Bachelor's degree programs in education generally require aspiring teachers to complete a student-teaching experience, sometimes called an internship. These programs typically last a semester and help students gain experience preparing lessons and teaching concepts. Student teachers may also be responsible for evaluating students in coordination with regular instructors.

Licensing Information

High school teachers in public schools must earn a state teaching license. Each state determines its own requirements for licensure, but most generally require applicants to earn a bachelor's degree in education, complete a teaching internship and pass state tests in reading, writing and the subject they are going to teach. Some states may mandate that teachers eventually earn a master's degree in order to continue teaching at the high school level.

Alternative Licensing Programs

Most states now implement alternative licensing and certification programs to accommodate college graduates without a degree in education who want to teach high school after pursuing other careers. These programs vary and may include the completion of supplemental education or subject courses while participants teach under a provisional license.

Career Information for a High School Teacher

High school teachers work in public or private schools and are in charge of developing and presenting lesson plans according to state and school district curriculums. Teachers generally specialize in a subject, such as math, chemistry or English. Other duties may include supervising extracurricular activities, such as student clubs or class field trips. These professionals may also assess student progress and coordinate interventions with other education professionals and parents.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job growth for high school teachers was expected to be 6% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reported that some U.S. regions, such as the South and West, should experience more growth than other areas, such as the Midwest and Northeast. High school teachers earned a median annual salary of $57,200 as of May 2015.

High school teachers typically need a bachelor's degree in secondary education that also includes coursework in their chosen subject. This program prepares students for teaching licensure or certification. Growth in employment opportunities for high school teachers is expected to be average from 2014-2024, though particular subject areas will be more in demand than others.

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