How Can I Become a High School Health Teacher?

Explore the career requirements for high school health teachers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, licensure, and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Health Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

High school health teachers help students learn about their bodies and how to best care for them. See the table below for information about education requirements, licensure, job outlook, and expected salary for this career.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Health education
Key Skills Teaching students, developing and grading exams, helping students outside of class
Licensure Required Required in all 50 states for public school teachers
Job Growth (2012-2022) 6% (all high school teachers)*
Median Salary (May 2013) $55,360 (all high school teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a High School Health Teacher Do?

To teach health education at the high school level, you'll need to be organized and skilled at classroom management and student assessment. You'll primarily teach students about a variety of health-related topics, such as nutrition, drugs and alcohol, disease prevention, exercise, reproduction and developmental psychology. You'll be responsible for developing your lessons, though many states regulate or recommend standard health curricula for public high schools. You might need to teach certain health topics, such as CPR, that require you to obtain specialized certification. Aside from providing instruction, assigning homework and testing your students, you'll also need to work with school administrators, other teachers and parents to formulate the best course of study and teaching methods.

What Education Do I Need?

Several schools offer bachelor's degree programs in health education, though you can also choose several health-related majors and complete a separate post-baccalaureate education program. Possible classes that you might encounter include public health, disease prevention, health ethics, human sexuality, nutrition and first aid. Your educational training covers teaching methods, curriculum development and child psychology.

Some states might require that you obtain a master's degree before or shortly after earning your teaching license. Although most degree programs include teaching experience within their curricula, the American Association for Health Education also offers internship affiliations and professional development training through non-school organizations based locally, regionally or internationally (www.aahperd.org).

How Do I Get My License?

The requirements for licensure vary depending upon the state you're planning to work in. Typically, you'll need to pass at least one exam and have completed a minimum number of classroom hours under the guidance of a licensed teacher. You can often qualify for provisional licensure after completing a bachelor's degree in health science while you obtain the necessary teaching experience or training mandated by the state.

What Can I Expect From the Job Market?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for all secondary school teachers were anticipated to increase by six percent between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). According to the Women's Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes physical activity for women and girls, the highest demand for health and physical education teachers will come from inner-city and rural areas (http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org).

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