High School History Teacher Requirements and Career Information

Oct 08, 2019

Learn how to become a high school teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties, and licensure to find out if teaching high school history is the career for you.

If you're thinking about a career as a high school history teacher, you will need a bachelor's degree and state licensure to teach in a public high school. Here is more information about getting a bachelor's degree and license, as well as the career outlook and salary for high school history teachers.

Essential Information

High school history teachers conduct classes on important historical events, people and places. They also engage students in the study of various related social sciences and provide instruction for conducting historical research and formulating arguments. Most states require public high school history teachers to hold at least a bachelor's degree, usually in history or education, and teaching licensure.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements State license required for public school positions
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% for high school teachers
Median Salary (2018)* $60,320 annually for high school teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

High School History Teacher Requirements

How to Become a History Teacher

  • Earn a bachelor's degree in history or education
  • Complete teacher preparation program
  • Obtain teaching license
  • Alternate option: earn a bachelor's degree in any field and enroll in an alternative licensing program

Beginning a career as a high school history teacher requires that candidates first complete a bachelor's degree program. Most prospective high school history teachers earn a bachelor's degree in history. This degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Students planning to teach high school history should enter into a secondary teacher preparation program during their undergraduate college career. Typically, students must wait until their sophomore year before entering this supplementary program. Teacher education programs prepare students by providing training in teaching methods as well as a student teaching internship. Teacher preparation programs are also available to postgraduates and take about one year to complete for someone who has already earned a bachelor's degree.

Upon completion of the bachelor's degree program, candidates must earn state licensure to teach high school history in a public school. Most state licensing requirements mandate that candidates hold a bachelor's degree, complete a teacher education program, and pass an exam showing competency in their teaching field.

For candidates who don't complete a teacher preparation program during or after their undergraduate program, many states also offer an alternative licensure procedure. This route to licensure typically grants the candidate a provisional license, allowing them to teach under the supervision of a fully licensed teacher while taking education courses on the side. After one or two years, the provisional license will be upgraded to a full license if requirements are met.

High school history teachers for private high schools are not always required to have licenses. However, many private high schools still require teachers to hold a bachelor's degree and prefer those who have also completed a teacher preparation program.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school teachers, including history teachers, held 1,072,500 jobs in 2018. The BLS also reported that employment opportunities for high school teachers are expected to grow by 4% between the years 2018-2028, though this growth will vary by location, depending on the level of funding for public education in each state and locality.

How Much Do High School Teachers Make?

In May of 2018, the BLS reported that secondary school teachers made a median annual salary of $60,320. Many teachers were allowed to earn extra income by advising or coaching extracurricular activities and by conducting summer classes. In 2018, most high school teachers belonged to a teachers' union, and the union was responsible for negotiating hours and wages.

High school history teachers work with students to better understand historical events. They typically need a bachelor's degree in history and completion of a teacher education program, either while an undergraduate or after college. Job opportunities for high school teachers, including those who teach history, are predicted to grow 4% between 2018 and 2028.

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