Math Teacher: Career Profile, Employment Outlook, and Educational Requirements

This article discusses math teachers who provide instruction in primary and secondary schools. To earn your state teaching credentials, you'll need to first earn your bachelor's degree in mathematics education or a similar subject and complete a classroom internship. Continue reading to find out what topics you can expect to teach and the career prospects. Schools offering Teaching - Math degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Math Teachers Do?

Math is one of those classes students will be taking almost every year they are in school. Even though elementary teachers may not need any specific training in math, middle and high school math teachers will have to specialize in math to meet the state requirements for those grade levels. Math teachers are required to prepare lesson plans in the subjects they teach. They need to observe students and provide help as necessary, grade assignments and keep parents updated on their child's progress. They are also expected to follow the state's curriculum and prepare testing to see if their students meet standards.

The following chart provides an overview of the education and licensure requirements, along with the job outlook and average salary in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Basic math, algebra, geometry, physics, calculus, education
Certification State teaching certification is required
Key Responsibilities Listening, assessment, advising
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% increase in all teaching areas from K-12*
Median Salary (2015) $54,550 for all kindergarten and elementary school teachers; $55,860 for all middle school teachers; $57,200 for all high school teachers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will My Duties Be as a Math Teacher?

As a math teacher, you'll likely teach in a middle school or high school. In elementary schools, you won't need to specialize in mathematics, but in all general subjects. You'll teach basic, intermediate and advanced mathematics depending on the grade level. In elementary or middle school, you'll teach basic shapes, number recognition, counting, addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, whole numbers and fractions.

At the secondary level, you'll help students learn statistics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, number theory, probability and other advanced mathematical concepts. You'll assign homework, grade assignments and meet with parents when necessary.

What Is the Employment Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for all elementary, middle and high school teachers was expected to increase by an average rate of 6% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Math is one of the subjects lacking qualified teachers in many rural and urban schools, so job prospects may be especially favorable for math teachers. In May 2015, the median income for all elementary, middle and secondary school teachers was between $54,550-$57,200.

What Qualifications Will I Need to Teach?

The BLS states that public schools usually require math teachers to have bachelor's degrees or higher. You can earn your Bachelor of Science in Education or Mathematics. If you earn your bachelor's degree in mathematics, you'll need to take education courses to meet the requirements for state licensure. You can also continue your education with a master's degree in mathematics or education. You may want to study the opposite program that you did as an undergraduate. Another route you may consider is a bachelor's degree in education (middle or secondary is best) with a concentration in mathematics or vice versa. With any program, you'll need to complete student teaching hours to earn state licensure.

After you've completed your education requirements, you'll need to seek state licensure. Licensure requirements differ by state, but often include basic skills exams, classroom observation and criminal background checks. National certification can be earned through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (www.nbpts.org). This 10-year certification is renewable, and the math certification is available for those who wish to teach early adolescents or young adults.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Postsecondary teaching is one of the career fields related to regular school teaching. College instructors are required to earn at least a master's degree in their specialties. Alternative positions could include counselors or instructional coordinators. Both jobs encompass working with students and teachers and preparing young people for post-high school years. In many cases, with just a bachelor's degree, instructors can work in the confines of vocational education, helping students learn trades that will help them get into the workforce with decent paying jobs more quickly. With more education, such as a master's degree, you may consider becoming a principal at one of the various levels between elementary and 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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