How to Become a Math Teacher in 5 Steps
Explore the career requirements for a math teacher. Get the facts about degree options and licensing to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Teaching - Math degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Career Information At a Glance
Math teachers introduce and teach mathematical concepts to all grade levels. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree; master's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Bachelor of Science in Mathematics; Bachelor of Science in Education with a math concentration; other paths available|
|Key Responsibilities||Teach basic math, algebra, geometry, calculus and advanced mathematics|
|Licensure||License required by all states|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||6%* (secondary school teachers)|
|Median Salary (2014)||$56,310* (secondary school teachers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is a Math Teacher?
The concepts taught by math teachers vary greatly and relate directly to the grade level. In elementary school, mathematics lessons focus on simple operations, including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, along with basic geometry and measurement. As an elementary school teacher, mathematics would likely be only one subject of several you would teach. At the middle school level, you'll need to be more specialized, instructing students in subjects such as algebra, data analysis and geometry. As a high school math teacher you would offer your students a range of classes, including algebra, pre-calculus and calculus, advanced geometry, statistics and trigonometry.
Step 1: Research Education Options
As an aspiring math teacher, you may want pursue degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education or a Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in mathematics. You may also consider education degree programs, which specialize in a level of education, such as early childhood education or secondary education. You'll need to get your degree from an accredited 4-year college or university prior to seeking teacher licensure and to qualify for some certifications. You may also need to earn a master's or doctorate degree to qualify for licensing in some states.
Step 2: Begin Career Preparation in High School
You can begin pursuing your educational and career goals by taking a variety of math and computer science classes in high school and by volunteering for a tutoring or mentoring program. In addition, you may also join a math club or the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) as a student member (www.nctm.org).
Step 3: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
To become a math teacher, you may earn a bachelor's degree with an education component. Degree options may include a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education, a Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in math, a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in math or a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a focus on the middle or high school levels. If you wish to teach math to elementary students, you may enroll in a program like a Bachelor of Science in Early Elementary Education with a concentration in math.
Step 4: Obtain Teacher Licensure
Each state requires public school teachers to earn teacher licensure. Although standards differ from state to state, most states will require you to earn at least a bachelor's degree, complete a teacher-training program with classes and supervised teaching as well as pass a basic skills exam. As a math teacher, you also may have to demonstrate additional knowledge in your subject area.
Some states offer alternative certification programs if you have a degree in an area other than education. This option will allow you to begin working in a classroom setting while pursuing your teaching license. These programs and licensure requirements are handled by each state's Department of Education.
Step 5: Get an Advanced Degree
Many states require elementary, middle and high school teachers to earn their master's degree within a set number of years from the beginning of their teaching careers. A master's degree is also needed if you want to teach at a postsecondary institution. Advanced degree options you may consider include a Master of Science in Mathematics Education or a joint master's degree in mathematics and education. Another possibility is for you to earn a doctorate degree in mathematics education.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: