Social Studies Teacher

If you enjoy working with kids and feel rewarded when you help them understand a historical event or current affair, a career as a social studies teacher may be a good fit for you. Read on to learn more about education, employment and licensing for social studies teachers.

Is Teaching Social Studies for Me?

Career Overview

As a social studies teacher, you'll plan and implement lessons on geography, history, Western civilization or world culture. You might also introduce students to economics and political science. Specialized lesson plans could include the study of hunter and gatherer societies or population growth, among other subjects. Social studies teachers are usually found in middle schools and high schools.

Job Duties and Skills

As a teacher, you'll be in charge of implementing a district, school or state curriculum in an age-appropriate manner. You'll also evaluate student performance, prepare exams and grade homework. Good communication skills are necessary to interact with students, parents and other faculty members. Classroom and time management skills are key; a genuine interest in children and teenagers is a given.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that middle school teachers were expected to see a 12% increase in jobs nationwide from 2012-2022. At 6%, a slower-than-average increase in jobs was projected for high school teachers through 2022. In May 2013, middle school teachers earned a median annual salary of $53,940, while secondary teachers made $55,360 (excluding career, special and technical education teachers). Teachers who are willing to work in different locations, like rural areas, should have the best job prospects, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a Social Studies Teacher?

Education

You'll need a minimum of a bachelor's degree to become a social studies teacher. In addition to a major in one of the social sciences, you'll also complete a teacher education program. Some universities offer dual-degree programs that culminate in a bachelor's degree in your desired field of study and a master's degree in teaching. Completion of a master's degree in social science may also help you qualify for a secondary school position.

Undergraduate programs in education can include courses in American history, international relations, social problems and constitutional law. If you already have a bachelor's degree and you want to enroll in a teacher certification program, you'll study instructional methodologies for middle school and high school students, adolescent development and writing assessments. A bachelor's degree in a field other than education may also qualify you for admission to a master's degree program in teaching.

Licensing

If you plan to teach social studies at a public school, you'll need to obtain your teaching license. Licenses are available for certain subjects, such as social studies, or certain grade levels, like grades 7-12. Although licensing requirements can vary, all states require a bachelor's degree and completion of an approved teacher training program, according to the BLS.

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