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English Teacher: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

Working as an English teacher allows you to instruct students in grammar and writing skills; you'll also work with students in analyzing texts and reading classic works of literature, like Shakespeare. You need at least a bachelor's degree and a license to teach in a public school. Keep reading to learn about the career profile and outlook for English teachers.

What Does an English Teacher Do?

English teachers instruct in language development and literature, and most are employed in middle and high schools. As an English teacher, you will instruct students in basic verbal and written comprehension skills while building students' analytical and formulation knowledge. You will also cover topics in reading comprehension, literacy, writing, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, sentence development, listening, and visual literacy. As a teacher, you will work as a supervisor and instructor for students. You will develop lesson plans and a curriculum, give lectures, assign work, evaluate progress, keep attendance, and manage the classroom. Working with parents and school administration, you will deal with student issues, offer extra assistance and spot learning disabilities. This career is best suited for people who enjoy reading and have strong communication skills.

English teachers are primary for teaching language skills: writing, grammar, and literature. Below is important information on becoming an English teacher.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Education, language arts
Licensure Required for public school teachers
Key Duties Instruct students in the classroom
Job Growth (2018-2028) 3-4%* (all middle and high school teachers)
Median Salary (2018) $58,600* (all middle school teachers); $60,320* (all high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Can I Expect from this Career?

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of all middle and high school teachers will grow between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). From 2018-2028, middle school and high school teachers can anticipate a slightly below-average amount of job growth. Middle school teachers may see an increase of 21,400 jobs within this time frame, while high school teachers may see an increase of 38,200 jobs.

According to the BLS, in 2018, the median salary for middle school teachers was $58,600, while high school teachers received a median salary of $60,320 per year.

What Will I Study?

Becoming a teacher allows you many different opportunities for study. The two primary majors you need to study are English and education. Some colleges offer programs in education with an English education focus. This opportunity is available for both bachelor's degrees and master's degrees, and allows you to meet education requirements at the master's degree level. Your program focuses on managing classrooms, while teaching you how to instruct comparative literature and basic writing syntax.

What Will I Need to Teach?

The BLS reports that all public school teachers need to be credentialed. The requirements vary by state, so check with your board of education to see what you need to teach in your state. Professional certification, while not mandatory, can be beneficial. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers certifications for English Language Arts at two different grade levels, early adolescence and adolescence (www.nbpts.org). These certifications are valid for 10 years.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you enjoy teaching students about language and analysis, you might consider becoming a teacher of another middle or high school subject such as speech, or consider a career as a college professor of analysis or rhetoric. As a high school speech teacher, you would instruct students in how to make speeches and improve their language arts skills. As a college professor teaching analysis or rhetoric, you might find a job as an English, philosophy, or speech professor. You would have to get a master's in the field, and possibly a Ph.D. in order to remain competitive with other job seekers. You would create college curriculum, instigate class discussions, and grade student essays or speeches.