History Teacher Degree and Training Programs

Find out about the degrees and experience you'll need to teach history at the high school or college level. Get information on required courses, and learn what certifications you must obtain. Schools offering Teaching - Social Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Main Steps to Teach History in Public High Schools?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all states require secondary teachers to have a bachelor's degree. Middle and secondary education degree programs require students to select a main focus or subject to study in addition to the teacher training. If you choose history as your main focus, you'll find many schools which offer history or social studies education degrees.The second main step to teaching high school history is to become licensed. You'll seek out the credential issued by your state after you have earned your bachelor's degree.

Job RequirementsBachelor's degree with a main focus or subject of study, and state licensure
Common CoursesWorld history, curriculum planning, continental histories, Civil War, Biblical era
LicensureThe National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), in addition to the mandatory state license
Continuing EducationObtain PhD in History, completing a dissertation and 4-7 years of post-baccalaureate work
Common PhD CoursesRenaissance Italy, Charlemagne, war tactics of Alexander the Great, genocide studies, Daoism

What Will the Curriculum Look like?

A history education degree will cover both teaching theories and world history. Along with learning pedagogy and how to plan curricula and instruct adolescents, you'll also take courses on the psychology and development of high school students; you may find that subjects such as sex education, drug abuse and peer pressure are also covered.

In order to master your chosen subject, you'll research continental histories, eras and cultures. A history education degree program may also include special topics, such as women of the Civil War, Biblical history, national myths, Tudor England and Shogun Japan.

Finally, in addition to your general education, elective, history and education courses, you'll fulfill an internship or student teaching requirement. This experience, required by all states, will put you in front of a high school classroom under the supervision of a licensed teacher.

How Do I Become Licensed?

Teacher credentials are state-provided; consequently, the requirements also vary by state. Whether it is called a license, credential or certification, you must meet your specific state's board of education requirements. Your history education degree and practice teaching experience will fulfill two of the needed steps. The licensing body will test your knowledge of your subject matter as well as your mastery of education.

Licensing is not just a one-time event. Many states call for a set number of continuing education credits throughout your career as well as proof of performance over time. A master's degree may also be required within a given timeframe.

An additional credential may be possible to supplement your state license. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers voluntary national certification for history teachers for K-12th grade (www.nbpts.org). To pass the history teacher certification assessment you must be able to prove your knowledge of social movements, governments, wars, cultures and social classes.

What Do I Need to Teach History at a College?

If your goal is to be a professor at the university level, you'll need a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree; a master's degree could suffice for part-time or adjunct professors or for 2-year schools. Many colleges offer doctorate programs in history. These programs develop research, writing and teaching skills. You'll complete a dissertation that showcases the knowledge and skills you've gained throughout your education. This program can take 4-7 years of post-baccalaureate work.

What Will I Study?

Ph.D. programs are heavy in research methodology courses. At this level, generic history courses are not on your schedule; however, special topics are. Your goal is to narrow your focus on particular racial, gender or cultural groups. Social movements are among the history courses, as well as specific time periods. Some of the subjects you may look at include Renaissance Italy, Charlemagne, war tactics of Alexander the Great, genocide studies, Daoism, children's lives during the Holocaust, or any combination of time periods, significant people or countries. Ph.D. programs include a teaching practicum so you'll discover how to teach in a university classroom.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Liberty University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Colorado Christian University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Regent University

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  • Saint Leo University

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  • The University of Tennessee

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    • Tennessee: Martin
  • University of Arizona

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    • Arizona: Tucson
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