If you think that the only qualification needed to teach high school math is a math degree, think again! A teacher not only instructs students, but also plans lessons, interacts with parents and administrators, reviews homework, and sets exams. High school math teachers do need a bachelor's degree (and in some states, a master's), but must also become licensed to teach, which usually requires a degree that includes supervised teaching experience.
High school math teachers provide instruction in algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. They create lesson plans, administer exams and grade homework. Besides working with students, they may also speak to parents and school administrators regarding student performances. A bachelor's degree and state license is usually required; however, a master's is sometimes necessary. Supervised teaching experience is also commonly needed.
|Required Education||Bachelor's generally required, some states may require a master's|
|Other Requirements||State license typically required for public school positions|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for secondary school teachers|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$60,440 annually for secondary school teachers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Requirements for High School Math Teachers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all 50 states mandate licensure of public school teachers (www.bls.gov). Individuals interested in teaching at private schools may not require a license, but schools usually give preference to applicants holding a bachelor's degree in the subject area in which they intend to teach.
Although specific requirements for licensure vary by state, completing an education degree program inclusive of supervised teaching is generally necessary, according to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (www.nctm.org). An aspiring high school math teacher might choose to earn a bachelor's degree in mathematics while undergoing secondary education teacher training or a bachelor's degree in secondary education with a major in mathematics, for instance.
In addition to mathematics coursework, these programs cover topics such as educational psychology and teenage development, as well as various instructional methods. Requirements also include student teaching experiences; these provide aspiring high school math teachers opportunities to help plan lectures, grade assignments and explain concepts in classrooms under the supervision of licensed math teachers.
Aspirants who already have a degree in math may be able to take an alternative route to licensure. Many of these programs are designed specifically to address shortages of teachers in subjects such as math, stated the BLS. Alternative licensure programs may allow candidates to begin teaching professionally under supervision while completing education coursework.
On top of completing education requirements, prospective high school math teachers must pass proficiency exams in mathematics and basic skills, like reading and writing, in order to achieve licensure. Most states also make continuing education mandatory for license renewal. The BLS noted that while a bachelor's degree is generally the minimum degree requirement, some states also require that teachers complete a master's degree in education within a stipulated amount of time after they begin working.
Career Information for High School Math Teachers
Job Outlook and Salary
The BLS reported that overall employment of high school teachers was expected to increase by 6% from 2014-2024, partially due to the large number of current teachers expected to retire or leave the profession during that time span. The BLS also stated that high school teachers made a mean yearly wage of $60,440 as of May 2015.
High school math teachers may also pursue voluntary certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), which offers a credential to mathematics instructors teaching adolescents and young adults. Earning certification may count toward continuing education requirements, and many states provide salary incentives, according to NBPTS (www.nbpts.org).
A bachelor's degree that includes supervised teaching and a concentration in mathematics is the minimum requirement in order to become licensed to teach at public schools in most states. If you already have a degree in math, you may be able to start teaching with supervision right away while completing your teacher training. Continuing education is required to maintain a teaching license, and voluntary certification programs are also available for those who wish to pursue further learning.