Biology Teacher

Biology teachers provide instruction in general biology or a specialized biological science at high schools or colleges. Read about job prospects and potential salaries for high school and postsecondary biology teachers, and find information about education and licensing requirements here.

Is a Career as a Biology Teacher for Me?

As experts in their field of study, biology teachers can be found in public schools, private schools, colleges and universities. High school biology teachers usually earn a bachelor's degree in the subject and complete a teacher preparation program. Biology instructors who teach at the postsecondary level must have a master's or a doctoral degree. Some may also have prior experience as a biologist.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected a 6%, or slower-than-average, growth in employment for high school teachers from 2012-2022. However, high school teachers who teach science may be more in demand, and employment prospects might be more favorable for those willing to work in rural school systems. By comparison, postsecondary teachers can look forward to a 19%, or faster-than-average, growth in jobs through 2022. As of May 2013, high school teachers earned a mean yearly salary of $58,260, while postsecondary biological sciences teachers earned $87,080 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a Biology Teacher?

Education

Undergraduate programs can lead to a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Biology. In addition to a general education core, specialized coursework can include topics in cellular biology, ecology, environmental studies or microbiology. Graduate programs may culminate in a Master of Arts for Teachers of Biology or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in a focused field of study, such as genome, cell and developmental biology.

Aspiring education majors may want to give special consideration to programs that have been accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Transition to teaching programs allow biology majors or science professionals who have not completed a teacher preparation program to participate in an abbreviated education that includes a student teaching experience.

Licensing

In addition to a bachelor's degree, high school biology teachers who want to work in a public school will need a certification or license, available from state boards of education. While requirements can vary, they typically include satisfactory completion of a teacher preparation program. Supervised student teaching assignments are also required. Candidates for licensure will also have to pass a state-administered certification and major subject test before they can teach students in grades 7-12.

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