Become a High School Math Teacher in 5 Steps
High school math teachers instruct secondary school students in various mathematics courses, building on basic skills the students developed in primary school and offering opportunities for advanced studies in subjects such as trigonometry and calculus. To become an entry-level high school math teacher, you should pursue at least a bachelor's degree and earn your teaching certification.
What Is a High School Math Teacher?
High school math teachers instruct students in a variety of math subjects, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics. You will likely work with students of varying skill levels or may be able to teach specific remedial or advanced math courses. Your duties will include explaining mathematical concepts, assigning and grading homework, and periodically administering exams to check for comprehension and progress. You may also work with students who are preparing for various standardized or college preparatory exams. In the table below, you can learn some additional details about a job as a high school math teacher:
|Education Field of Study||Education, Math|
|Key Responsibilities||Create lesson plans, help prepare students for college preparatory exams, instruct students in a variety of math subjects|
|Licensure Requirements||State licensure required|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||4% (for all high school teachers)|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$60,320 (for all high school teachers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Research Career Duties and Education
High school math teachers typically specialize in one or two areas of mathematics, such as algebra, precalculus, calculus, geometry, statistics, or trigonometry. They also may teach classes in computer sciences and serve as advisers for mathematics clubs or teams. High school math teachers must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree, typically from a program that combines studies in mathematics and teaching, from an accredited four-year college or university and meet requirements for licensure based on criteria established by their state.
Step 2: Prepare in High School
During your high school years, take a variety of classes in math and computer sciences, and start honing your teaching skills by tutoring primary school students or your peers. Also, join your school's math club or team and strive for membership in a national mathematics honor society, such as Mu Alpha Theta (www.mualphatheta.org), which could lead to educational and scholarship opportunities.
Step 3: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Degrees leading to licensure as a high school math teacher vary by the college or university. A sample of possible degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in mathematics, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education, or a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics leading to licensure. Students can enroll in a four-year program that leads to teacher licensure (includes teacher training and supervised teaching experience), take a four-year degree and enroll in a one-year teachers' training program after graduating, or finish a four-year bachelor's degree program and enroll in a master's degree program leading to licensure.
Step 4: Obtain Teacher Licensure
Most high school math teachers must hold a bachelor's degree, complete teacher training, and pass two Praxis examinations - one in basic math and verbal skills and one in their specialty area - to earn licensure. Requirements vary by state. More information is available through your state's Department of Education website (DOE, www.ed.gov).
Step 5: Continue Your Education
Many school systems have a set time limit during which teachers must earn their master's degrees. Advanced degree options for high school math teachers may include a Master of Education in Mathematics or a Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics. You also can maximize opportunities for professional development by joining a national organization, such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (www.nctm.org).
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Teaching any subject at the high school level requires a bachelor's degree, so you could possibly look at subjects other than math. You could also choose to focus on elementary or middle school education or special education. These roles require a bachelor's degree and would allow you to work with younger students or those with various disorders or learning disabilities. If you earn a master's degree in education, you would be able to teach at the post-secondary level or become a school administrator.