One career option in computer science is teaching. Read about educational and professional requirements for career and technical education teachers here, as well as how much you can earn working in a middle or high school.
Computer education is generally part of a career and technical education (CTE) program. CTE teachers work at public middle schools and high schools, as well as at vocational high schools and colleges. As a computer teacher, you may provide instruction in computer repair, programming or both. Computer science and math may be part of a college preparatory program; some aspiring computer teachers double major in math education and computer science.
As a teacher, you'll prepare and implement lesson plans, motivate students and grade assignments. In your position as a vocational teacher, you may provide career guidance and help students obtain internships or job placements. Computer teachers frequently work in partnership with community businesses and technology firms, developing curriculum and training programs in response to the needs of local companies. Interpersonal skills are key to working as a computer instructor; you'll also need to be organized, self-motivated, reliable and creative.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013, the median annual salary for career and technical education teachers who worked in middle schools was $54,270, while high school teachers earned $55,120. As reported by the BLS, the number of job openings for career and technical education teachers who taught in middle and high schools were expected to increase by just 5% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov).
In general, you'll need a bachelor's degree and a teaching license to work in a public school. Many colleges offer a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Education program, which combines computer science courses with classes in education. Computer science courses can include topics in algorithms, computing technologies, data structures and linear algebra. You'll also study adolescent psychology, teaching methodology and the history of education.
Student teaching takes place over an 8-16-week period, usually right before graduation. Most states require you to pass a basic skills exam in order to become licensed, after which you'll be able to teach in a middle school or high school.
Required courses and training for vocational teachers can vary by state. In some states, a high school diploma and experience in computer science or repair may qualify you for a teaching position. You might also have to pass a technical education course with a specific grade point average. Once employed, you may only be able to teach classes that are directly related to your work experience.
If you've already earned a bachelor's degree in computer science and have substantial experience in the field, completion of a teacher certification program can also prepare you for a position. In addition to studying the history of education, you'll learn about teaching strategies and technologies, classroom management and student assessments, as well as complete a supervised teaching experience.
Continuing education courses will be required to maintain licensure. Many teachers go on to earn master's degrees in education or subject-related fields. In most public school systems, increases in pay will correspond to the number of hours you complete in continuing education. Doctoral degrees in education may lead to departmental, school or district leadership roles, as well as a higher salary.