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Penn Foster High School

High School Diploma
Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

What High School Subjects Can I Teach?

A high school teacher typically works with students in grades 9 through 12 to help prepare them for college or a career. There are a wide range of subjects in high school for these teachers to specialize in and for students to explore.

Subjects in High School

There are many subjects to teach in high school, as secondary education provides traditional education in core subjects, as well as opportunities for students to explore new subjects in preparation for a future career. Courses may also become more specific at the high school level, such as science classes being separated into courses in physics, biology, and chemistry. Although no two high schools are the same or offer the exact same classes, some common high school subjects include:

  • English
  • History
  • Math
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physical education
  • Spanish
  • Art
  • Family and consumer sciences
  • Music

Types of High School Teachers

A high school teacher is typically responsible for creating the lesson plans, assignments, and exams for the specific subject that he or she teaches. Some high schools may also offer courses for varying skill levels, like advanced or college credit courses, which may require teachers to adapt their lesson plans.

Outside the traditional core subjects like math, English, social studies, and science, most high schools need educators to teach elective courses, such as foreign languages, physical education, and the fine arts. Some of these teachers may hold additional roles in the school related to their area of teaching, like a coach or band director.

There are also high school teachers who specialize in working with specific populations. Many high schools need teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) teachers who work with children who speak other languages. There are also special education teachers who work with students with a wide range of learning disabilities and other challenges.

What Subject Should I Teach?

The best subject to teach in high school is one that you are passionate about and interested in yourself and can help students get excited. As mentioned above, there is a wide range of teacher subjects to choose from, and people are usually going to be better equipped to teach a subject in which they are most interested and familiar.

Aspiring teachers should keep in mind that while teaching their subject they will likely be responsible for teaching multiple courses within that subject area. This may allow them to explore different concepts within their field of expertise.

How to Become a High School Teacher

In general, most high school teachers need at least a bachelor's degree, and public schools generally require teachers to hold a valid state teaching license or certification. However, becoming a math teacher is slightly different than becoming a Spanish teacher or a teacher of any other subject and vice versa.

Since high school teachers typically specialize in a specific subject, most bachelor's degree programs in secondary education offer majors in specific subjects with endorsements for grade levels 5 through 12, 7 through 12, or 9 through 12, depending on the program. There are a few subjects, such as an art education concentration, that may offer an endorsement for all grades (i.e. K through 12).

After earning the desired degree and endorsement, graduates will need to obtain a state teaching license if they wish to teach in the public school system. These licenses usually require a background check, completing a student-teaching program (typically during the bachelor's degree program), and passing an exam.