What Are the Requirements for a Job Teaching High School Chemistry?

If you're interested in science and think you'd enjoy teaching, becoming a high school chemistry teacher might be for you. In most cases, working as a high school chemistry teacher requires a college education, hands-on training and professional licensure. Read on to learn more about the requirements to enter this field. Schools offering Teaching - K-12 degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

High School Chemistry Teacher Job Overview

High school chemistry teachers teach students in grades 9-12 the fundamentals of chemistry. In addition to their teaching duties, high school teachers often have administrative responsibilities as well, like working with other teachers and conferencing with both parents and students to provide feedback on classroom performance. High school teachers in general should have excellent communication and organization skills, as well as exceptional patience.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for all high school teachers are expected to increase by 6% between 2012 and 2022, which is slower than the national average. However, a number of teachers are expected to retire during this time, creating openings for new teachers. Additionally, the BLS reports that it will be easier to get a job teaching math or science, especially chemistry, since schools often have trouble filling these positions with qualified applicants.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Salary (2014) $56,310 (Secondary School Teacher)
Work Environment Public or private schools
Key Skills Collaboration with administrators and special education teachers, resourcefulness, ability to work with students of different abilities and backgrounds
Similar Occupations Instructional Coordinator, School Principal, Librarian

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

In order to become a high school chemistry teacher, you'll likely need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in chemistry. You'll also likely need to complete a teacher education program. You may want to earn a bachelor's degree in education that allows a specialization in chemistry. If you've already earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry, you may consider enrolling in a master's degree program in education.

In addition to the core requirements of a chemistry major, you need to complete coursework that covers the methods and techniques of teaching, assessment and curriculum development. Commonly, teacher education programs also cover adolescent development and psychology, literacy and instructional technology. In order to ensure that you're eligible for a teaching license, you should enroll in a teacher education program accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Teacher Training Requirements

As part of many teacher training programs, including master's degree programs in education, you'll be required to complete a student-teaching internship. These hands-on training programs typically take place in a public school under the supervision of an experience educator.

Licensure Requirements

Teachers working within the public school system are required to be licensed by the state. Those working for private schools are not required to be licensed. Each state sets its own licensing requirements, and they can vary widely from state to state. Most states require aspiring teachers to submit to a background check and drug screening as part of the licensure process. Completion of the Praxis series of examinations is another common requirement.

The Praxis is a 2-part exam, with the first portion usually taken prior to entry into a teacher education program. This exam will test your basic reading, writing and math skills. The second Praxis exam, known as the Praxis II, is a test of your general understanding of teaching methods and theories, as well as a topic-specific assessment of the field you wish to teach.

Alternative Licensure Opportunities

According to the BLS, all 50 states currently offer alternative teacher certification programs. These programs have become available due to a shortage of qualified teachers in subjects like special education, mathematics and the sciences.

Alternative certification programs may allow experienced industry professionals interested in a career change to receive a provisional teaching license without fulfilling some of the other time-intensive requirements. Other alternative programs allow those with no teaching experience or training who hold a bachelor's degree to start teaching immediately, with the option of completing other requirements within a set time period. Veterans of the Armed Forces may also have alternative certification programs available to them in some states.

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