Certified Teacher Job Description, Duties and Employment Options

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

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Teachers who have gained certification in addition to a bachelor's degree can expect a number of job options and are qualified for the public school systems. They can choose to teach the age level and subject matter of their choice. Their job duties include creating daily lesson plans, grading and keeping their classrooms in line.

Essential Information

People who like working with children and helping them to learn may consider becoming certified teachers. Most certified teachers perform their jobs in classroom settings and employ various methods of instruction that comply with state educational standards and meet the needs of their students. All public school teachers are required by law to be certified by a state licensing board. Many certified teachers specialize in teaching a specific age group or subject. In order to qualify for certification, teachers must complete a teacher education program and may be required to complete a student teaching requirement.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Student teaching
Licensure or Certification Required for public school teaching
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school)
Average Salary (2015)* $57,730 (elementary teachers); $58,760 (middle school teachers); $60,440 (secondary teachers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Teacher Job Description

Certified teachers generally instruct students at preschools or public elementary, middle or high schools. Depending on what grade they teach, certified teachers can teach multiple subjects or specialize in a particular subject. They are licensed professionals with bachelor's degrees who completed teacher education programs in order to qualify for state certification.

They may work with a diverse population of students; some may be specifically trained to educate students with physical or mental disabilities.

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Job Duties

Certified teachers provide instruction, observe and evaluate student performance. They create lesson plans, grade homework, administer tests, lead class discussions, maintain discipline and provide additional assistance as needed by students in order to guarantee academic success.

The main task for teachers from kindergarten through primary level is to teach students the basic skills needed in arithmetic, reading and writing. They also introduce children to scientific theories and the significance of historical events.

Teachers at the middle school and high school levels are usually certified to teach a specific subject. They are responsible for teaching students problem-solving skills, critical thinking and collaboration techniques. Teachers often work with and instruct students in the use of advanced tools, such as scientific apparatuses or computers.

Employment Options

Most employment options for certified teachers are full-time positions in public schools. Some teachers work on an on-call basis as substitute teachers. Other certified teachers become tutors and can be employed by a tutoring service or self-employed. Online teaching positions are also available; these are typically at the high school level.

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school teachers were expected to grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024. Teachers willing to work in urban areas and those who were bilingual could expect to find the greatest number of job opportunities. Teachers in math and science were also expected to be in demand.

The job growth rate for certified teachers is just average, so looking at higher demand subjects and locations is one way to stay competitive. It's important to have a bachelor's on top of certification to qualify for jobs. Aspiring teachers should consider which subject and/or age level they want to teach before they begin their education.

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