Latin Teacher: Job Description & Requirements

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

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Latin teachers are the educators specialized in the language and culture of ancient Rome which serves as the basis for all the languages in Western culture. These educators can specialize at either a high school or college level but will need different degrees such as a bachelor's for K-12 and a master's or doctorate for the university level.

Essential Information

Latin teachers enhance students' knowledge of ancient Western cultures as well as the language of Latin. Some Latin teachers work with high school students whereas others teach at colleges and universities. The majority of Latin teachers possess degrees in classical studies.

Required Education Bachelor's degree to teach K-12; Graduate degree for teaching postsecondary
Other Requirements Prospective K-12 instructors must complete an education credentialing program if their major was not in teaching; State licensure for K-12 teachers is required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% (foreign language postsecondary); 6% (high school teachers)
Median Salary (2015)* $61,380 (foreign language postsecondary); $57,200 (high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that foreign language teachers, such as Latin teachers, prepare lessons that explore the language and related cultures (www.bls.gov). For instance, teachers may explain how lawyers and doctors in the modern world use Latin.

Sometimes called classical studies teachers, these teachers also instruct students on how to translate classical literature from the original Latin. To verify a student's progress in Latin studies, teachers also watch student presentations and administer exams.

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Job Requirements

Educational requirements vary based on the grade level taught. Latin teachers working with grades K-12, for example, are usually only required to hold bachelor's degrees, whereas those working at colleges and universities usually have graduate degrees in classical studies. Undergraduate classical coursework includes several Latin language classes as well as courses in Roman culture, classical literature and philosophy. Graduate coursework focuses on advanced language lessons by examining classical poetry, prose, drama and comedy, all written in the original Latin.

In addition, organizational skills are often necessary since Latin teachers must prepare lesson plans, assemble handouts and grade papers all in a timely manner. Strong communications skills are also important because teachers must give effective lectures and explain difficult concepts, such as the difference between Latin verb tenses. Latin teachers also need good interpersonal skills to work one-on-one with students and with other faculty members.

Licensure Requirements

Latin teachers working in public schools for grades K-12 must be licensed by their state, according to the BLS. Obtaining a license requires first meeting the necessary requirements determined by each state, such as earning a bachelor's degree. Prospective teachers may also be required to complete a credential program that trains them on how to instruct and motivate students, although some college degree programs in education may include this instruction.

After completing the required education, would-be teachers must pass a licensing exam to verify their level of knowledge in a particular subject. Licensing is usually not mandatory for postsecondary professors or private school teachers.

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated an 11% job growth for all postsecondary foreign language teachers in the years 2014-2024 and a 6% growth for high school teachers. The BLS also reported that postsecondary foreign language and literature teachers earned $61,380 as a median annual wage in 2015, while secondary school teachers earned a median wage of $57,200.

Latin teachers can teach at different education levels but doing so will require different degree requirements. These professionals impart knowledge not only of language, but also of culture and history. Salaries vary with education level, with university and college professors earning slightly more than high school teachers.

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