How Can I Become a Junior High Teacher?

Explore the career requirements for junior high school teachers. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Teaching - Elementary & Middle Grades degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Junior High School Teacher?

Junior high school teachers, also known as middle school teachers, educate and develop young minds in grades 6 through 8, preparing students to confidently enter high school. Teachers create lesson plans related to a certain content area. Normally junior high teachers teach one subject such as science, English, math, or history. They teach a group of students and also work with students individually. They assess what students have learned and share their progress with their parents. Teachers also determine classroom rules that students must follow.

The following chart provides information about this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Teaching; content area such as math, science, history, English, etc.
Training Required Student teaching experience or internship
Key Responsibilities Make and present lessons, evaluate student abilities; grade tests and homework; enforce classroom rules; communicate with parents about student's progress
Licensure or Certification State issued teaching certification or license
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $55,860*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Education Do I Need to Become a Junior High Teacher?

If you have the minimum of a high school diploma or a GED, you have the option of enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in middle school education. This program provides you with the necessary training to teach children from the sixth to eighth grades. A number of subjects that you can expect to cover include speaking and listening, teaching with technology, adolescent development, educational psychology, diversity, and the development of language. You will also be required to choose a specialty, such as math, science or art, and take a number of elective courses in the subject. Upon graduation, you may choose to go on to receive your master's degree, which increases your expertise, job prospects and salary.

Another possibility is to earn your bachelor's degree in a specific academic subject. For example, if you know that you want to become a junior high school science teacher, you might choose to major in chemistry or biology.

How Can I Get My Teaching License?

Before you can begin teaching junior high school, you'll have to get your teaching license. Most states have their own licensing program. For example, if you want to teach junior high school in a New York public school, you'll need to earn your teaching license from the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations. While private schools prefer that their teachers are licensed, it is not necessarily a requirement for those with extensive experience in a particular field.

How Do I Find a Job?

To land your first position as a junior high teacher, you will likely come into contact with your employer through recommendations, substitute teaching or teaching assistant positions. Opportunities may also be available by attending job fairs or simply by applying for jobs.

The type of teacher you are depends largely on your chosen area of expertise. For example, you might consider primarily teaching math, science, social studies, English, physical education, art, music, or language studies such as Spanish, French or even Mandarin Chinese.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If teaching junior high school isn't what you are interested in, there are several other teaching options that require a bachelor's degree. Special education teachers work with students who have a disability. They accommodate lesson plans to fit what these students need. A high school teacher is another option. They also normally teach one content area, though the students are older and preparing for college. Career and technical education teachers focus on teaching technical and vocational subjects which prepares students to enter the workforce after high school.

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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