Computer Science Teacher: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for computer science teachers. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Information Technology Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Science Teacher?

Computer science teachers primarily teach at the postsecondary level. They deliver lessons on the principles and practice of computer science to college students. At the undergraduate level, they may teach introductory courses that introduce students to basic programming concepts and algorithms, as well as higher level courses in data structures, operating systems and software engineering. These classes may consist of both a lecture and laboratory component. At the graduate level, they may teach courses on more advanced topics, like software theory and biocomputation, and they may serve as thesis or dissertation mentors for graduate and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) students. In addition, college professors are expected to conduct their own research in a particular subfield of interest and publish their work in academic journals.

The following chart gives you an overview about a career as a postsecondary computer science teacher.

Degree Required Master's degree may be accepted in limited circumstances; doctoral degree is preferred
Education Field of Study Major in computer science or similar field
Key Responsibilities Plan lessons and prepare syllabus; give lectures, conduct labs and teach courses; grade student work and tests; conduct and publish original research
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9%*
Median Salary (2015) $74,840*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a Computer Science Teacher?

If you pursue a career teaching computer topics, your duties will include evaluating students through assignments and tests, maintaining records of attendance and grades, developing coursework and preparing lectures. The coursework focuses on computer science and may include work in the computer laboratory. You may provide students with technical projects that allow you to assess their knowledge and skills.

To keep the course content current, you may make suggestions to administration about curriculum changes. You may have to attend lectures, conduct research and read literature from the computer science industry to keep informed about new developments. You might also attend classes to keep up with new programs or equipment. Some schools require you to maintain contacts within the industry to ensure you stay current in this fast-changing industry.

Outside of class, you may tutor students, hold office hours to meet with students and offer academic advice to students majoring in computer science. You may attend faculty meetings and serve on committees. In addition to traditional classroom settings, there are teaching opportunities in online classrooms.

What Requirements Must I Meet?

Most post-secondary teachers at 4-year universities hold Ph.D.s in their subject, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); a master's degree is the more common credential at a 2-year institution, but doctorate degrees or dual master's degrees are useful in subjects which have an oversupply of candidates (www.bls.gov).

Job ads for computer science instructors at 2-year colleges, as seen on CareerBuilder.com in January of 2015, indicated a preference for candidates to hold technical bachelor's and master's degrees. There was room, however, for a combination of a technical degree with a math or business degree as well. Employers also look for you to have experience in teaching computer science and experience teaching a diverse student body. Some schools may require you to have an undergraduate degree in education. Ads for 4-year college computer science instructors showed a preference for applicants who hold a Ph.D. in computer science or a related field.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for postsecondary computer science teachers was $74,840, as of 2015 (www.bls.gov). Employment is available through private, public and online colleges, universities and 2-year schools; earnings will vary by type of institution. For example, the 2015 mean salary at 4-year universities was $93,970, while the mean junior college instructor salary was $70,770.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Teaching jobs are also available at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Although computer science may not be covered, they may work as computer teachers, helping students build basic typing skills and learn to use common software programs to create word documents, spreadsheets and slide show presentations. The minimum educational requirements for a public school teaching job include a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. Computer science experts can also find other jobs in information technology, such as computer programmers or computer network architects, which require a bachelor's degree and sometimes previous work experience.

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:

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