Online degree programs for aspiring science teachers are available at the bachelor's and master's levels. Coursework can be completed online, though there are some on-campus requirements, like a supervised teaching internship. Master's degree programs are designed for working teachers and generally require a bachelor's degree and at least one year of teaching experience. To complete online requirements, students will need access to a high-speed internet connection and a media player.
Bachelor's Degree in Science
There are a variety of undergraduate online degree programs in science that can facilitate the career goals of future science teachers. Prospective students can enroll in a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in biology, chemistry or physics that leads to teacher licensure. Students may also complete a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in applied or laboratory sciences, and then complete teacher licensure requirements after graduation. All programs train participants in fundamental science concepts that will be the focus of curricula for science teachers.
Program Information and Requirements
A typical B.A. or B.S. degree program in science takes between 120-130 semester hours. If students are enrolled full-time, they may complete the degree program in four years. Many programs are available entirely online, but others require students to complete student teaching internships or fulfill laboratory requirements at an approved local facility. Additionally, some institutions require students to take proctored exams. Courses are administered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats; asynchronous classes allow students to work at their own pace within broad parameters.
Students must have a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, an updated operating system and an approved browser. Course material is delivered through websites, downloadable lectures and streaming multimedia. In order to access multimedia presentations, the computer must have a media player.
Undergraduate degree programs in science have general education requirements in subjects including mathematics, English, social sciences and the humanities. These courses are either part of the curriculum or must be completed at an approved institution prior to enrollment.
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Master's Degree in Science Education
Master's degree programs in science education are structured to assist working educators in achieving a higher level of expertise in their field. Program titles include Master of Education, Master of Science and Master of Arts. Programs are widely available, and focus in-depth on interdisciplinary fields of earth and natural sciences. Students must have obtained a bachelor's degree, and some institutions require applicants to have at least one year of teaching experience prior to enrollment.
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Program Information and Requirements
The average length of a master's degree program in science education is between 30 and 33 credit-hours, and can be completed in two years. Programs are offered in both hybrid and completely online formats. Most programs allow for participants to work at their own pace in an asynchronous format. Course material is administered through websites and downloadable multimedia.
Programs often allow for students to select a thesis or non-thesis curriculum option, which can affect the overall length of the degree program. A non-thesis master's may still include original research or a project that needs to be defended before faculty members. Subjects studied in a natural science Master of Arts might include:
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Career Information for Graduates
Graduates of an undergraduate degree program in science are prepared to earn their teaching licensure through the board of education in the state in which they plan to teach. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), middle school teachers accounted for 627,500 jobs in 2014 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the mean annual wage for middle school teachers as of May 2015 was $58,760, and the projected employment growth for middle school teachers is expected to be 6%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024.
Graduates of a master's degree program in science education are qualified to work as high school teachers. The BLS cited a mean annual wage for this occupation of $60,440 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). This same source reported in 2015 that secondary school teachers held 962,820 jobs during that year.
A bachelor's degree in science will prepare students to become teachers of science, as long as they also complete the necessary teaching requirements as outlined by their specific program and the state in which they live. A master's degree in science can provide additional qualifications and qualifies graduates for more jobs.