History Teacher

History is the study of earlier periods of humankind and usually involves examining and interpreting records of past events, including how they shape culture and society. Keep reading to learn about education and licensing requirements, employment growth and salaries for history teachers.

Is Teaching History for Me?

Career Overview

History teachers educate students about past events in the United States and the world, including Asia and Europe. They examine how historic events shaped modern society.

In particular, middle school history teachers and high school history teachers develop and implement curricula, give tests and assess students' progress. For example, you may teach parts of American history, such as the Revolutionary War, Civil War or the role of our country in World War II, or provide students with an introduction to the U.S. Constitution and government. A graduate degree may qualify you to teach history in community and 4-year colleges. In addition to providing instruction in history, you may conduct or head research projects, which may involve studying historic sites, exploring data and writing articles for journals.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of middle school teachers was expected to increase by 12% nationwide between 2012 and 2022. High school teachers can expect a 6% increase in employment during the same time, which is slower than the national average for all occupations, while openings for postsecondary teachers were projected to increase by a faster-than-average 19%.

As of May 2013, the median annual salary for postsecondary history teachers was $66,790. High school teachers made a median salary of $55,360, while middle school teachers earned $53,940 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a History Teacher?

Education and Licensing Requirements

According to the BLS, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree and a teaching license to obtain a position in a public school. Some private schools may hire non-certified teachers with a history degree. Licensing requirements for history teachers can vary by state, but generally include a passing score on a competency exam. Aspiring history teachers who have a bachelor's degree in history can also earn a teaching certificate.

Educational Options

Undergraduate and graduate programs in education and history can be found on campus and online. In a teacher preparation program, you'll learn how to prepare lesson plans, exercises and exams for your students, as well as assess the strengths and weaknesses of a curriculum. You'll also study motivational techniques, and find out how to use technology in the classroom. Training in classroom management and student teaching experiences are also part of a teacher preparation program.

In a bachelor's degree program, you may take courses in American history or European history, or study the history of China and the Middle East. Graduate programs, such as those that lead to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in History, might allow for advanced studies in general history or specializations in African, British or medieval history. You'll also assess historical events from multiple perspectives and analyze the outcomes of past events.

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