Geography Teacher: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as a geography teacher. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information. Schools offering Science, Technology, and International Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Geography Teacher?

Geography teachers explain the physical and cultural geography of the Earth to students and typically work at the middle or high school levels. They may develop lesson plans, assess students' knowledge, teach geography-related content and monitor student progress through grades and reports. Normally they teach to a whole class, though at times it may be smaller groups. Teachers also must communicate with parents, develop classroom rules and management systems, and challenge students to improve.

The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Middle SchoolHigh School
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Major in geography, minor in education Major in geography, minor in secondary education
Key Responsibilities Create lesson plans; teach lessons and assist students who are having problems; grade classwork, homework and tests; meet with parents to discuss student progress Prepare lesson plans and teach lessons according to lesson plans; grade assignments and tests; provide individual help for students who need it; supervise students in classroom and other school settings
Licensure and/or Certification Public school teachers must be licensed in all states All states require public school teachers to be licensed
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for all middle school teachers* 6% for all high school teachers*
Median Salary (2015) $55,860 for all middle school teachers* $57,200 for all high school teachers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Responsibilities of a Geography Teacher?

When you work as a geography teacher in a middle school or high school, your most important job is to impart knowledge to pupils. You use lesson plans, individual instructions, classroom presentations and group projects to provide your students with an understanding of the fundamental concepts of geography. You also administer tests, grade assignments and determine students' grades at the end of each semester.

As a geography teacher, your job might also be to provide one-on-one instruction for students who are struggling with the geography material. You might help to bring the subject to life through creative class projects and individualized attention. You may also be required to perform some disciplinary measures when students are unruly.

What Education or Training Will I Need?

You typically need to complete a bachelor's degree as well as a teacher education program in order to teach geography at a public high school or at a middle school. If you aspire to become a geography teacher, your best bet may be to earn a 4-year degree program in geography at a college or university. Such programs cover the basics of physical geography, geographic information systems, physical landscapes, weather, climatology and social geography.

Most schools allow you to enroll in a geography program and simultaneously enroll in a teacher preparation program during your sophomore year. Such programs should provide you with an understanding of teaching theories and concepts, as well as the practical student teaching experience necessary to gain licensure.

Will I Need a License?

All 50 U.S. states require you to gain licensure before you are allowed to teach geography at a public middle or secondary school. Your license will be given to you by the State Board of Education or your state's equivalent. In addition to finishing your degree and the teacher preparation program, you'll also need to pass a basic proficiency test in geography in order to earn a secondary school license to teach your subject.

What Salary Could I Expect?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have specific data related to geography teachers. However, it did report that secondary school teachers in general held roughly 962,820 jobs around the country in 2015. The median annual salary for high school teachers during that year was $57,200, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). There were around 632,760 middle school teachers employed in 2015, and they earned an annual median salary of $55,860.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those interested in teaching middle school or high school students have many options on what they would like to teach, such as biology, English, math or history. With the same amount of education required, you would just need to choose a content area that interests you. Another related career option occupation would be teaching career and technical education, which focuses on technical and vocational subjects like auto repair and culinary arts. These teachers help students gain the skills needed to begin an occupation.

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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