High School Teacher Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Jul 28, 2019

Discover the definition of a secondary school teacher, the high school teacher work environment, and how to pursue the profession.. Get a quick view of the requirements and details about education, high school teacher duties, and licensure required to find out if a high school teacher career is for you.

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High School Teacher Job Description

High school teachers work for schools that enroll students from grades 9-12. These teachers can be influential in students' lives, since students will apply what they learn to their future endeavors. Though teaching can be rewarding, high school teachers may have challenging jobs when dealing with unmotivated or disruptive students. Stress can occur when facilities aren't up to standards and workloads become difficult to manage, since teachers often work more than 40 hours per week.

What Does a High School Teacher Do?

A high school teacher's responsibilities involve putting together informative and engaging lesson plans for their subjects. Teachers use a variety of visual aids, textbooks and creative projects to gain student involvement. As technology becomes an increasingly large part of education, high school teachers may be required to have and teach computer skills. Other duties may include:

  • Making administrative and budget decisions
  • Chaperoning classes and trips
  • Prioritizing teaching methods
  • Completing parent and student counseling
  • Enforcing rules and disciplinary action
  • Lecturing and discussing concepts
  • Preparing material for presentations
  • Grading tests and conducting progress reports
  • Recordkeeping student activities in accordance with laws and school policies

High School Teacher Job Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; master's may be required
Degree Field(s) Education and chosen area of focus
Licensure/Certification Licensure required in all states to teach in public schools; private school requirements vary; professional certification available
Experience Student teaching required for licensure in most cases; professional experience in the specific field valuable
Key Skills Presentation, lesson-planning, counseling, organizational, communication, and record-keeping skills; knowledge in specific teaching subject
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8%
Median Annual Salary (2018) $60,320

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

High school teachers are generally required to have a bachelor's degree and state license in order to teach in a public school. These degree programs will typically be in the field they are teaching (for example, high school teachers who wish to teach physical education will pursue a bachelor's degree in physical education). However, a master's degree is sometimes necessary.

Private high school teachers are not always required to have a 4-year degree, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that private high schools may still favor applicants who have a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). The BLS also notes that prospective candidates may consult the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, which accredits education programs for teachers (www.bls.gov). These institutions may help candidates to facilitate their entry into the profession.

While in college, prospective high school teachers may simultaneously participate in a teacher preparation course or program, which is typically required by state licensing boards and may be a part of their curriculum to earn a degree. These programs usually provide aspiring teachers with experience in student-teacher interactions.

Licensing and Certification

Public high school teachers must also be licensed in the state in which they are going to teach. Private high school teachers may be exempt from this requirement.

High school teachers may also opt to complete a professional certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (www.nbpts.org). Completing a certification is voluntary, but teachers may wish to obtain this for the potential career benefits, including possible salary increases. Additionally, the NBPTS certification is nationally recognized for teachers who may move from one state to another during their careers.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Jobs for high school teachers are predicted to increase 8% from 2016-2026, according to the BLS. In 2018, the BLS listed the median annual salary of secondary school teachers at $60,320. However, high school teachers in the top paying states of California and New York made an average salary of over $80,000 per year.

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