Math teachers with master's degrees are typically more specialized and may look for opportunity at the secondary or postsecondary level. A master's degree supports proficiency and expertise at higher level math, so prospective teachers often build their careers in that direction.
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Math teachers usually educate students in high school, college, and at adult education centers. Although a bachelor's degree may prepare math teachers for teaching high school students, job candidates who hold master's degrees can teach at both the college and high school levels. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some states require high school math teachers to pursue master's degrees as part of their continuing education requirements.
Although math teachers who hold master's degrees can easily find positions at junior colleges, technical schools, and high schools, most four-year colleges prefer to hire candidates who hold doctoral degrees, at least for tenure-track positions. Colleges hiring for adjunct faculty, on the other hand, may only require math professors to hold master's degrees. While postsecondary educators are generally not required to be certified, secondary educators teaching in public schools will need to be certified through their state of employment.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. in mathematics (depending on position)|
|Other Requirements||Teacher certification or licensure (secondary educators only)|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for secondary educators; 16% for postsecondary math teachers|
|Salary Range (2015)*||$57,200 for secondary educators; $67,170 for postsecondary mathematics teachers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Secondary-Level Math Teachers
Secondary-level math teachers educate students at any level between kindergarten and 12th grade. The various math concepts taught depend on the grade level. A grade school math teacher, for example, teaches math basics, such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, among other concepts. Teachers at the high school level will teach particular types of mathematics, such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. Instructors focus on the various formulas, equations and functions pertinent to their subject.
Postsecondary-Level Math Teachers
At this level, math educators with master's degrees tend to specialize in various advanced mathematical subjects in high schools, community colleges and, in some cases, 4-year colleges. These subjects include:
- College Algebra
- Applied Mathematics
- Mathematical Modeling
While a master's degree may be the highest degree needed to be a secondary-level math teacher, or to teach full-time at a community college or part-time at a 4-year school, most colleges and universities usually require a doctorate degree for tenure and full-time instructors. Doctoral students choose a specific area of mathematics in which to major or focus their studies.
The BLS reported that the median annual income for postsecondary mathematical science instructors was $67,170 in May 2015. The median annual salary for all postsecondary professors was $72,470 at that same time. Income can fluctuate, however, depending on the postsecondary institution where one is employed. Teacher salaries are generally highest at 4-year schools, followed by salaries at junior colleges and then technical schools.
According to the BLS, the salary range for most high school teachers in general was between $37,800 and $91,190 as of 2015. The median salary was $57,200, regardless of degree.
Math teachers at secondary and postsecondary levels tend to specialize in one type of math. Job growth rates are quite different, with high school teachers having average growth and postsecondary teachers experiencing high growth rates.