Science Teacher

Learn the job duties and licensure requirements of science teachers at middle and high schools. Get information on salary and job growth statistics for science teachers in addition to degree programs for this occupation.

Is Teaching Science for Me?

Career Overview

Science teachers create lesson plans and oversee student development. As a science teacher, you will often teach in a specific area of science, such as physics or biology. You will also typically teach at either the middle school or secondary school level, since elementary school teachers need to have knowledge of several academic areas aside from science.

Work Environment and Necessary Skills

Most teachers only work about ten months out of the year, but you can teach summer classes if you wish to work all year long. You will typically work about 40 hours each week. You can advance to an education administrator position or work as a school counselor with enough experience. You need to have excellent communication skills to work as a teacher. Since students often learn at different paces, having a significant amount of patience is beneficial for teaching science.

Salaries and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a job growth rate of 12% for middle school teachers from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). High school teachers should experience employment growth of 6% during that same time period. Some schools have had difficulty finding teachers qualified to teach science, which could lead to more job opportunities than other subjects. In 2012, middle school teachers earned a median annual income of $53,430, and secondary school teachers earned a median of $55,050 per year, as reported by the BLS.

How Can I Teach Science?

Education Requirements

You will need at least a bachelor's degree to become a science teacher. You can complete a Bachelor of Science program in education or you can earn a bachelor's degree in science while taking a teacher preparation program. A master's program in science education usually provides science-specific teaching methods.

If you do not yet have a bachelor's degree, a 4-year program in science education gives you the opportunity to take classes in earth and space science, biology of health and fundamentals of neurology, as well as gaining experience teaching in a classroom and getting your teaching certification by the time you graduate.

Graduate Studies

A master's degree in science education might include courses such as education evaluation, foundations of science research and animal biodiversity. Specific courses are usually tailored to whichever science subject you wish to teach. Some master's programs are structured to allow you to continue teaching if you are already licensed and you want to continue your education.

Licensing

In addition to completion of a formal education program, you also need to obtain a teaching license if you plan to teach at a public school. Most states require you to show proficiency in your field before you can become licensed as a science teacher. There are licensing programs available if you do not meet the education course requirements, but you have a bachelor's degree in a science discipline. Some programs allow you to begin teaching right away while you take courses to fulfill your licensing requirements. Other alternative licensure programs may only require that you complete the specific education classes that you lack.

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