If the birthplace of jazz is where you would like to teach science, you should be aware that public school teachers need a bachelor's degree before teaching, the first of many steps required to complete the process of becoming certified. Whether you would like to teach children before or after they reach high school, here are the steps to become a science teacher.
How to Become a Science Teacher in Louisiana
|Average Salaries for Science Teachers in Louisiana (2018)*||$49,960 (middle school); $51,810 (secondary school)|
|Degree Field||Education with a science focus|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, Principles of Learning and Teaching and science subject assessment tests|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Undergraduates who want to become science teachers should enroll in a teacher preparation program. Regardless of whether you have begun a bachelor's degree program or not, you can still apply and enroll in a program that includes curriculum designed to teach you the teaching competencies needed to earn certification.
The goal here is to obtain a Bachelors of Art or Bachelor of Science degree and complete science education coursework. This is the requirement for those who wish to teach this subject in Louisiana. Many accredited higher education institutions exist throughout the state that offer undergraduate courses that cover general education and science pedagogy.
In this case, specific competencies taught will follow Standards for Science Teacher Preparation through the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). These preparation programs also include 180 hours of observation experience and student teaching in a yearlong residency.
Finally, all teachers are required to take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests in reading, writing and math. As of 2006, an SAT combined score of 1030 or an ACT composite score of 22 are among the exams that can be used instead of the Core tests. In addition to the Core exams, a prospective science teacher has specific certification tests to complete depending on the grade levels they want to teach. These are:
- Middle School (Grades 4-8) - Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 5-9 (5623), 160 qualifying score
- Middle School Science (5440), 150 qualifying score
- Secondary Education (Grades 6-12) - Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12 (5624), 157 qualifying score
- General Science: Content Knowledge (5435), 156 qualifying score
Should you wish to choose a specialty at the high school level, other evaluations are necessary for becoming a teacher in biology (5235), chemistry (5245), and physics (5265).
Looking for and applying to teaching jobs within Louisiana is facilitated through a web-based recruitment system called Teach Louisiana (www.teachlouisiana.net). This system is free to use and requires you to fill out a candidate profile. A handy PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded that will walk you through the recruitment tool and how to search for jobs.
Certification in Louisiana follows a 3-tiered system. After earning an initial Level 1 certificate, teaching science for three (3) years and passing performance evaluations, a Level 2 certification can be obtained. In order to obtain a level 3 certification, an applicant must have a master's degree and five (5) years of teaching within their area in addition to 3 out of 5 successful evaluations.