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Junior High Teacher: Job Description and Career Requirements

Mar 28, 2019

A junior high teacher provides instruction in a specific subject to students in grades six, seven and eight. Learn about the education and skills required, in addition to the benefits and rewards, in this challenging profession.

Career Definition of a Junior High Teacher

Junior high teachers, also called middle school teachers, play an integral role in the academic and personal development of students during the confusing transition period from elementary to high school. Junior high teachers specialize in one subject, which allows for in-depth exploration of specific topics. Junior high teachers constantly struggle to hold the interest of all students, though the best teachers use their specialized knowledge to facilitate the self-discovery that allows students to see themselves and the world in new ways.

Education Bachelor's degree plus fulfillment of teaching externship
Job Skills Motivating, calming, and inspiring to students, and excellent communication skills
Average Salary (2017)* $61,040
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 8% increase

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Those who want to teach junior high school must obtain a bachelor's degree in the subject they plan to teach or in education, in addition to completing all requirements set forth by their school's education department. They must perform a student teaching externship and fulfill all state certification and licensure requirements, according to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Skills Required

Hormones begin to rule the moods, attention spans and attitudes of students during middle school. Junior high teachers must have an affinity for this age group, know how to gain their trust, inspire their confidence and provide motivation. Excellent communications skills are needed to work with students and their parents.

Career and Economic Outlook

Job opportunities for middle school teachers were expected to increase 8% from 2016-2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of this growth depends on where a teacher lives. The need for instructors is greatest in the Southeast, while middle school teaching jobs in the Northwest are expected to decline. The estimated average salary for public and private middle school teachers in 2017 was $61,040.

Alternate Career Options

Other options for careers in this field include:

Elementary, Middle and High School Principal

With teaching experience and a master's degree, principals are employed to manage schools' operations, such as staffing, curricula and a wide variety of everyday activities. Most of these workers are also required to be licensed. Average employment growth of 8% was forecast by the BLS for principals during the 2016-2026 decade. A median annual salary of $94,390 was reported for principals in 2017.

Instructional Coordinator

With a master's degree and related work experience, instructional coordinators oversee for a school's or a school district's curricula and educational standards. Depending on where the instructional coordinators work, they may be required to be licensed. In 2017, the BLS reported median wages of $63,750 per year, while projecting faster than average job growth of 11% from 2016-2026.

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