History buffs can share their love of the past by becoming teachers at various levels of education. Find out about how to become a history teacher and what prospective teachers can expect for salary and employment outlook.
History teachers educate students about different time periods and historical trends. They fulfill a variety of duties that range from instructing students in class to supervising extracurricular activities. These educators can teach at the middle, high school, or postsecondary level.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree (middle and high school)
Master's or doctoral degree (postsecondary)
|Other Requirements||Teacher education program
State teaching license
|Projected Job Growth* (2014-2024)||6% (all middle and high school teachers)
13% (all postsecondary teachers)
|Median Salary* (2015)||$55,860 (all middle school teachers)
$57,200 (all high school teachers)
$69,400 (postsecondary history teachers)
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
History Teacher Career Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for middle and high school teachers are expected to increase by 6% from 2014-24. The BLS notes that demand for middle and high school teachers will be approximately equal to the national rate for all other occupations. Teachers at the postsecondary level are predicted to experience a 13% increase in employment. This will be due to rising enrollment rates at four-year institutions.
In May 2015, the BLS reported that middle school teachers earned a median annual salary of $55,860, while high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $57,200. Postsecondary history teachers earned a significantly higher salary, receiving a median salary of $69,400 per year.
History Teacher Job Duties
History teachers develop students' knowledge of historical events and social science at the middle school, high school and postsecondary levels. They prepare for class by deciding what material to cover, as well as how extensively they should discuss topics. For example, American history teachers may briefly cover the French Revolution, but delve much more deeply into the American Revolution. Once the curriculum is set, history teachers present lectures and grade instruction materials. History teachers may also have duties outside of the classroom, such as preparing class trips or monitoring student organizations.
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History Teacher Employment Options
Middle and High School Teaching Positions
Most history teachers at the middle school and high school levels work for public or private institutions, as well as some institutes of higher learning. To work in public schools, teachers are generally required to hold bachelor's degrees in history, complete a teacher education program and obtain licensure from the state in which they teach. Once licensed, history teachers must complete a state-set number of continuing education credits. History teachers typically do not have to be licensed to work in private schools, though they are required to hold bachelor's degrees.
Postsecondary School Teaching Positions
History teachers at the postsecondary level typically work in four-year colleges, universities and community colleges, though positions in vocational and technical schools are also available. Qualifications for postsecondary positions depend on the employing institution. Tenured professors at four-year colleges and universities generally have doctoral degrees. History teachers who hold master's degrees typically work at two-year colleges, though they may also qualify for part-time and temporary positions at four-year institutions.
After earning a bachelor's degree in history, a student who wishes to be a history teacher must decide whether they wish to teach at the middle and high school or college level. Licensure is required for middle and high school teachers, but postsecondary teachers must have at very least a master's degree in their field of expertise. It's worth considering, however, that postsecondary teaching positions are expected to be in higher demand and offer higher compensation.