Psychology Teacher

The field of psychology concerns the scientific observation and analysis of human behavior. Those wishing to teach the study of psychology to others have job opportunities at the high school and postsecondary levels. Read on to see if these opportunities apply to you.

Is a Career as a Psychology Teacher for Me?

Career Options

Prospective psychology teachers can choose to focus in many different areas, including developmental and child psychology, abnormal, experimental, cognitive and neuroscience and historical perspectives in psychology. If you'd rather reach out to younger students and not go on towards a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology, secondary school teaching careers will suit you better. If, however, you enjoy rigorous coursework, academic writing and experimental studies in addition to teaching, then postsecondary education may fit you best.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most secondary school teachers had an annual salary between $36,930 and $85,690 in 2012 (www.bls.gov). Additionally, most postsecondary psychology teachers made between $35,780 and $119,210 in 2012. At the postsecondary level, jobs for psychology teachers are expected to increase by 14% between 2012 and 2022, a growth rate the BLS considered to be average compared to all other occupations, while high school teachers were expected to see six percent growth during this period, which is slower than average.

How Can I Become a Psychology Teacher?

Education and Licensing for Secondary Teachers

Courses in a psychology teacher education program address subjects such as child psychology, developmental psychology, personality and cognition. In both on-campus and online programs, core classes in psychology are taken alongside courses for educators covering teaching methodology and the learning process.

Degrees leading to a career as a high school psychology teacher include a bachelor's degree in psychology with a secondary school education minor or a bachelor's degree in secondary education focusing on social science. State licensing is also required for high school teachers working in public schools. Many secondary school psychology teachers also receive a master's degree in education or a master's degree in psychology, both of which can enhance your salary. Obtaining a master's degree in education while working as a teacher is even required by some states.

Education and Licensing for Postsecondary Teachers

Prospective college professors and instructors are typically required to complete a doctoral program in general psychology or educational psychology. Doctoral students in one of these programs take classes relating to research and quantitative experimental methods. Students also submit a dissertation based on independent research of a subject that interests them within psychology or education.

Becoming a licensed and practicing psychologist or having knowledge in other fields, such as sociology and philosophy, will help to broaden your teaching experience. Completion of a Ph.D. in psychology can take at least five years.

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