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Penn Foster High School

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What Are the Requirements to Be a High School Psychology Teacher?

Explore degree programs that could prepare you to teach psychology in high schools, including bachelor's degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates and online master's degrees.

How Can I Become a High School Psychology Teacher?

To teach any high school subject, you need to earn teaching licensure or certification; requirements for licensure vary from state to state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, common requirements include completion of at least a bachelor's program along with a student teaching experience (www.bls.gov). In many states, aspiring high school teachers must also earn an endorsement in one or more subject areas by taking an exam. Some bachelor's degree, master's degree and post-baccalaureate certification programs can prepare you for teaching licensure.

According to a report published by Psi Chi, an international psychology honor society, you might have to work with your school to create a psychology program after being hired - psychology courses aren't available in all high schools (www.psichi.org). Some states award a teaching endorsement in psychology, but you may need a teaching endorsement in a related area, like social studies or science.

RequirementsTypically a teaching degree and certification, endorsement in specific subject area
Undergraduate CourseworkCognitive, development and social psychology; teaching methods; counseling; personality disorders
Graduate CourseworkLearning assessments, lesson planning, psychology of education
Online ProgramsBachelor's and master's programs available, but may require teacher certification and a student teaching experience
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% growth (high school teachers)*
Median Salary (2018)$60,320 (high school teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

If you're pursuing a bachelor's degree in education with a minor in psychology, you might study cognitive, developmental and social psychology. You'll also learn about teaching methods, the American education system and instructional techniques for special needs students. Bachelor's programs in education usually require completion of a student teaching internship.

A bachelor's program in psychology might include courses like psychological counseling, statistical measurement, behavior modification and personality disorders. If you decide to pursue a secondary education teaching certificate in conjunction with your bachelor's degree, you'll study topics like student diversity and adolescent literacy; a student teaching experience is usually required.

Post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs often have many of the same course requirements as secondary education certificate programs, including a student teaching practicum. Some programs may allow you to take courses directly related to teaching social studies or the social sciences.

In a master's program in teaching or education, you might discuss concepts like learning assessment, psychology of education, lesson planning and educational research. In some cases, you can specialize in social sciences education. Similar to other teaching programs, you'll be expected to gain some experience as a student instructor in order to earn your degree.

Can I Learn Online?

Some schools offer online bachelor's degrees in psychology; however, you'll need to complete a teacher training program in combination with this degree before qualifying for teaching licensure. If you've already earned a bachelor's degree, you could enroll in an online Master of Arts in Teaching program. In this type of program, you'll watch lectures, submit assignments and interact with classmates online; required student teaching experiences are often completed at a school near your home.