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Secondary Math Teacher Career Info and Education Requirements

Secondary math teacher positions require some formal education. Learn about the degree, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Secondary math teachers utilize a variety of technical, social and organizational skills. They must have expertise in the subject matter but also need to take on responsibilities that come up naturally when working with students.

Essential Information

Secondary math teachers teach subjects such as algebra and geometry in public or private middle schools and high schools. They prepare lesson plans, provide instruction and grade assignments and exams. Secondary math teachers generally hold at least a bachelor's degree in math and a secondary teacher certificate; however, a master's is sometimes required. Public school teachers must be licensed in the state where they teach. Alternative licensure may be available as well.

Required Education Bachelor's required, master's sometimes needed
Other Requirements State license required for public school positions
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for secondary school teachers
Median Salary (2015)* $57,200 annually for secondary school teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Secondary Math Teacher Career Info

Secondary teachers usually teach students in grades 6-12. Secondary math teachers may cover concepts such as fractions, scientific notation, exponents and the metric system in pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, statistics and calculus classes. In addition to classroom instruction, teachers prepare lesson plans, supervise students during homeroom and study hall, provide students with individualized support and feedback, hold parent-teacher conferences, grade homework and exams, oversee extra-curricular activities and take students on field trips. Teachers also help identify students with behavioral problems or learning disorders and obtain proper assistance for them.

Teachers work during the school year, which typically runs from September through June except in areas with year-long school schedules. They may either take the summer off or earn additional income by teaching summer school.

Education Requirements

Secondary teachers must hold at least a bachelor's degree. Individuals who teach secondary math often hold a bachelor's degree in mathematics and an undergraduate secondary teacher certificate or equivalent. Some schools also offer bachelor's degrees in math education or a bachelor in math with a teaching concentration. Whichever path is chosen, a combination of study in math and education are required.

A bachelor's degree program in math includes courses in calculus, multi-variable calculus, linear algebra, statistics and number theory. Teacher education classes explain teaching methodology, the human learning process and curriculum development. Most teaching programs also require students to complete an internship where they gain supervised teaching experience.

Licensure Requirements

All public school teachers must be licensed in the state in which they teach. Licensure requirements vary by state, but all states require teachers to hold a bachelor's degree and complete a teacher education program. To earn licensure, prospective teachers must pass examinations that test basic reading and writing skills as well as knowledge of the subject they intend to teach.

Because math and science teachers are often in short supply, many states provide alternative licensure options for these teachers. Alternative licensure is designed for individuals who hold bachelor's degrees in math but who did not complete a concurrent teacher certification program in college. Those seeking licensure through alternate options may need to complete teacher education courses before earning the license. Some states allow qualified applicants to teach under the supervision of an experienced teacher while completing teacher training courses in the evening or on weekends.

Private school teachers usually do not need to be licensed. However, many private schools require secondary teachers to obtain a master's degree in their subject.

Secondary teachers as a whole can expect to see average job growth and modest salaries, yet they have the perk of summer vacation. Secondary math teachers should have at least a college mathematics degree. Beyond that they must have licensure for public schools and usually a master's degree for private schools. An education that balances technical, social and organizational skills is important so they are prepared for the various responsibilities of the job.


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