How Can I Become a High School Health Teacher?

Explore the career requirements for high school health teachers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, licensure, and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Health Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a High School Health Teacher?

High school health teachers provide students in 9th through 12th grade with education in physical and mental health and wellness. They often use a combination of textbook readings, lectures and discussions to cover a variety of areas of health. Topics of instruction include nutrition, exercise, drug use, social interactions, emotional wellness, sexually transmitted diseases and sexuality education. Some health teachers also teach related courses in physical education or coach high school sports teams. In addition, they may serve in supervisory roles outside the classroom, such as cafeteria or detention monitors.

See the table below for information about education requirements, licensure, job outlook, and expected salary for this career.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Health education
Key Skills Teaching students, developing and grading exams, helping students outside of class
Licensure Required Required in all 50 states for public school teachers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (all high school teachers)*
Median Salary (May 2015) $57,200 (all high school teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a High School Health Teacher Do?

To teach health education at the high school level, you'll need to be organized and skilled at classroom management and student assessment. You'll primarily teach students about a variety of health-related topics, such as nutrition, drugs and alcohol, disease prevention, exercise, reproduction and developmental psychology. You'll be responsible for developing your lessons, though many states regulate or recommend standard health curricula for public high schools. You might need to teach certain health topics, such as CPR, that require you to obtain specialized certification. Aside from providing instruction, assigning homework and testing your students, you'll also need to work with school administrators, other teachers and parents to formulate the best course of study and teaching methods.

What Education Do I Need?

Several schools offer bachelor's degree programs in health education, though you can also choose several health-related majors and complete a separate post-baccalaureate education program. Possible classes that you might encounter include public health, disease prevention, health ethics, human sexuality, nutrition and first aid. Your educational training covers teaching methods, curriculum development and child psychology.

Some states might require that you obtain a master's degree before or shortly after earning your teaching license. Although most degree programs include teaching experience within their curricula, the American Association for Health Education also offers internship affiliations and professional development training through non-school organizations based locally, regionally or internationally.

How Do I Get My License?

The requirements for licensure vary depending upon the state you're planning to work in. Typically, you'll need to pass at least one exam and have completed a minimum number of classroom hours under the guidance of a licensed teacher. You can often qualify for provisional licensure after completing a bachelor's degree in health science while you obtain the necessary teaching experience or training mandated by the state.

What Can I Expect From the Job Market?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for all secondary school teachers were anticipated to increase by six percent between 2014 and 2024. According to the BLS, demand for teachers will vary by region.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you're interested in a related health career that only requires a bachelor's degree, you might look into becoming a health educator. These professionals help organizations and communities implement wellness programs, and they may train other health education workers as well. Another education-related career that has some relation to the health of students is school counseling. However, it is important to note that, on top of the bachelor's degree and license that high school health teachers must hold, counselors must also earn a master's degree in the field. Another option for aspiring educators is to work as elementary school teachers. These teachers help young children between kindergarten and fifth grade build the basic critical thinking and communication skills needed for success in middle and high school.

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