2018 median Pay for Secondary Education and Teaching
The median annual wage for high school teachers was $60,320 in May 2018.
Some schools have large classes and lack important teaching tools, such as current technology and up-to-date textbooks. Occasionally, teachers must cope with unmotivated or disrespectful students. Work Schedules High school teachers generally work during school hours, which vary from school to school. However, they often spend time in the evenings and on weekends grading papers and preparing lessons. In addition, they may meet with parents, students, and other teachers before and after school. Plus, teachers who coach sports or advise clubs generally do so before or after school. Many work the traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer.
Number of Jobs for Secondary Education and Teaching
Number of Jobs in 2018 was 1,018,700
Job Outlook for Secondary Education and Teaching
Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Rising student enrollment should increase demand for high school teachers, but employment growth will vary by region.
Job description of Secondary Education and Teaching
High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college or to enter the job market.
High school teachers typically do the following:
- Plan lessons in the subjects they teach, such as science or history
- Assess students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
- Teach students in full class settings or in small groups
- Adapt lessons to any changes in class size
- Grade students’ assignments and exams
- Communicate with parents about students’ progress
- Work with individual students to challenge them, to improve their abilities, and to work on their weaknesses
- Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
- Develop and enforce classroom rules and administrative policies
- Supervise students outside of the classroom—for example, during lunchtime or detention
High school teachers generally teach students from the 9th through 12th grades. They usually specialize in one subject area, such as math, science, or history. They may teach several different classes within that subject area. For example, a high school math teacher may teach courses in algebra, calculus, and/or geometry. Others may teach the same material—for example, world history—to more than one class if the school has many students taking that subject.
High school teachers may teach students from different grades throughout the day. For example, in one class they may have students from the 9th grade, and then in the next class they may have 12th-grade students. In many schools, students are divided into classes on the basis of their abilities, so teachers need to change their courses to match the students’ abilities.
When they do not have classes, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, and meet with other teachers and staff.
Some high school teachers instruct special classes, such as art, music, physical education or English as a second language (ESL). ESL or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) teachers work exclusively with students who are learning the English language. These students are often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). These teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and help them with assignments for other classes.
Students with learning disabilities and emotional or behavioral disorders are often taught in traditional classes. Therefore, high school teachers may work with special education teachers to adapt lessons to these students’ needs and to monitor the students’ progress.
Teachers must be comfortable with using and learning new technology. They may use websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information and to expand a lesson taught in class.
Some high school teachers coach sports and advise student clubs and other groups, activities that frequently take place before or after school.
How to become Secondary Education and Teaching
High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.
All states require public high school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most states require public high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science or history. Teachers typically enroll in their institution’s teacher preparation program and take classes in education and child psychology as well.
In teacher education programs, prospective high school teachers learn how to present information to students and how to work with students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include a student-teaching program, in which they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit Teach.org.
Some states require high school teachers to earn a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification and obtaining a job.
Teachers in private schools do not need to meet state requirements. However, private schools typically seek high school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and a major in a subject area.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified in the specific grade level they will teach. Those who teach in private schools typically are not required to be licensed.
High school teachers typically are awarded a secondary or high school certification, which allows them to teach the 7th through the 12th grades.
Requirements for certification or licensure vary by state but generally involve the following:
- A bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average
- Completion of a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, which is typically gained through student teaching.
- Passing a background check
- Passing a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge in the subject they will teach.
For information on certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.
Teachers are required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license or certification. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification and obtaining a job.
All states offer an alternative route to certification or licensure for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing either type of program.
Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with other teachers and special education teachers. In addition, teachers need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.
Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. High school teachers must be patient when students struggle with material.
Resourcefulness. High school teachers need to explain difficult concepts in terms students can understand. In addition, they must be able to engage students in learning and adapt lessons to each student’s needs.
Experienced teachers can advance to be mentors or lead teachers. In these positions, they often work with less experienced teachers to help them improve their teaching skills.
With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals. Becoming a principal usually requires additional instruction in education administration or leadership. For more information, see the profiles on school and career counselors, librarians, instructional coordinators, and elementary, middle, and high school principals.
What people in similar profession do
|Job Title||What they do||How to become one|
|Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching||Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma.||Most adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers typically prefer those who have a license or certification. Education Most states require adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some community colleges prefer to hire those with a master’s degree or graduate coursework in adult education or English as a Second Language (ESL).|
|Elementary Education and Teaching||Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects, such as math and reading, in order to prepare them for future schooling.||Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Education All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Private schools typically have the same requirement.|
|Secondary Education and Teaching||High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.||High school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Education All states require public high school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most states require public high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science or history.|
|Early Childhood Education and Teaching||Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach language, motor, and social skills to young children.||Education and training requirements vary based on settings and state regulations. They typically need at least an associate’s degree. Education Preschool teachers typically need at least an associate’s degree. Preschool teachers in Head Start programs are required to have at least an associate’s degree. However, at least 50 percent of all preschool teachers in Head Start programs nationwide must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field.|
|Educational Leadership and Administration||Preschool and childcare center directors supervise and lead their staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center’s program.||A bachelor’s degree and experience in early childhood education are typically required to become a preschool and childcare center director. However, the educational requirements can vary by state. Some states or employers require them to have a nationally recognized credential, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA). Education Most states require preschool and childcare center directors to have at least a bachelor’s degree, but educational requirements can vary by state.|
|Higher Education/Higher Education Administration||Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the area of the college they manage, such as admissions, student life, or the registrar’s office.||Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree. Employers typically prefer candidates who have experience working in the field, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans. Education Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree. However, at smaller colleges or community college, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient.|
|Special Education and Teaching||Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities.||Special education teachers in public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued certification or license. Private schools typically require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, but the teachers are not required to be licensed or certified. For information about teacher preparation programs and certification requirements, visit Teach.org or contact your state’s board of education. Education All states require special education teachers in public schools to have at least a bachelor’s degree.|
|Curriculum and Instruction||Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness.||Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree and related work experience, such as teaching or school administration. Coordinators in public schools may be required to have a state-issued license. Education Most employers, particularly public schools, require instructional coordinators to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Some instructional coordinators have a degree in a specialized field, such as math or history. Master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction teach about curriculum design, instructional theory, and collecting and analyzing data.|
|Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services||School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed in school. Career counselors help people choose careers and follow a path to employment.||Most school counselors must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field and have a state-issued credential. Some states require licensure for career counselors. Education Nearly all states and the District of Columbia require school counselors to have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field. Degree programs teach counselors the essential skills of the job, such as how to foster academic development; conduct group and individual counseling; work with parents, school staff, and community organizations; and use data to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive school counseling programs for all students.|
|Educational/Instructional Technology||Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness.||Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree and related work experience, such as teaching or school administration. Coordinators in public schools may be required to have a state-issued license. Education Most employers, particularly public schools, require instructional coordinators to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Some instructional coordinators have a degree in a specialized field, such as math or history. Master’s degree programs in curriculum and instruction teach about curriculum design, instructional theory, and collecting and analyzing data.|
Job Outlook for other majors in Education
|Job Title||Number of jobs||Median Salary||Job outlook|
|Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching||68200||$53630||Decline|
|Elementary Education and Teaching||1565300||$57980||As fast as average|
|Early Childhood Education and Teaching||478500||$29780||Faster than average|
|Educational Leadership and Administration||61800||$47940||Faster than average|
|Higher Education/Higher Education Administration||180100||$94340||Faster than average|
|Special Education and Teaching||439300||$59780||As fast as average|
|Curriculum and Instruction||163200||$64450||Faster than average|
|Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services||291700||$56310||Faster than average|
|Educational/Instructional Technology||163200||$64450||Faster than average|