HOW TO BECOME A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
Being a teacher is not just a job, it is a profession that has a significant social impact. In particular, becoming a high school teacher allows you to have a significant impact on the success of your students and even on society at large. But what requirements must they fulfill in order for future secondary school teachers to become educators with experience?
WHAT DEGREE DO YOU NEED TO BE A SECONDARY TEACHER?
The educational background required to become a high school teacher is somewhat specialized, as high school teachers focus on a specific subject area. Prospective teachers are best prepared with a degree program that includes expertise in the field they wish to teach.
Drexel’s Bachelor of Secondary Education degree program strives to balance pedagogical expertise with industry expertise. For example, if you want to become a chemistry teacher, the Bachelor of Science in Teacher Education – Chemistry program is a unique opportunity to learn to become a particularly effective educator in your specific area of expertise.
In addition, the Drexel School of Education offers a variety of graduate education programs. For example:
- MS in Mathematics Teaching and Learning
- MS in Applied Behavior Analysis
- MS in Special Education
- MS in Education Administration
Earning an MS in Education can help differentiate teachers as more competitive job applicants, open up new career opportunities, and can help meet state certification requirements.
STUDENT TEACHING THROUGH THE SCHOOL OF TEACHING
The full list of high school teaching qualifications includes student teaching experience in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Student teaching is a hands-on learning process where prospective teachers have the opportunity to apply the theories they have learned in the classroom. Under the supervision and guidance of an experienced educator, student learning programs typically last one or two semesters during the student’s senior year.
However, Drexel’s Undergraduate Co-Op Program for Secondary Education allows you to combine theory and practice long before your senior year. Students alternate courses and full-time jobs in a five-year, four-year, or three-year program. However, the Co-Op is only a small part of the student teaching process, which involves four phases for graduates to meet the various requirements for a high school teacher.
Phase I – 20 hours minimum of observation and field practice. Candidates work with individual students, assisting and coordinating classroom activities and recording personal observations and reflections.
Phase II – 20 hour minimum of classroom participation and assistance. The student teacher begins working with individuals and small groups and gradually increases their participation and responsibility.
Phase III – Pre-Student Cooperative Teaching: This 20-40 hours per week includes both small group and whole class teaching, helping candidates acquire a wider range of skills.
Phase IV – Depending on the program, this phase can last anywhere from 13 weeks to a full year. Incorporating extensive field work and assuming the full responsibilities of a practical teacher, Level IV can be undertaken either part-time or as a full-time undergraduate.
NECESSARY CERTIFICATIONS FOR SECONDARY TEACHERS
What do you need to become a high school teacher? It depends on the type of teacher you want to become. In addition to general skills tests, most states require prospective teachers to take subject area tests. Specific requirements vary from state to state, but tend to be similar in most places.
For example, getting certified to become a high school teacher for the state of Pennsylvania requires taking the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT). There are basic skill requirements that can be completed by another common exam, the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA.)
Depending on your location and circumstances, there are also a number of rules and regulations related to background checks, GPA requirements, and other forms of prior experience needed to meet all the various college teacher certification requirements.
CERTIFICATION OF POSTGRADUATE EDUCATION AT DREXEL SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
For future teachers who want to further develop their teaching skills, the Drexel School of Education offers a variety of graduate education certificates. The program includes several electives that can be of significant value to future high school teachers, including:
- Reading Specialist Certification
- Certification in special education
- Certificate in Special Education Management
- Teaching English as a Second Language Certification
Certificates such as these are awarded by the state to demonstrate that the recipient has been authorized to teach in a specific field and may be necessary to obtain specific types of teaching positions.
GRADUATE CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS
In addition to obtaining various state certifications to become a licensed teacher, middle school teachers may consider additional certifications to develop specialized expertise.
For example, some of the graduate education certificate programs include:
- Certificate in STEM Education
- Certificate in Social, Emotional and Behavioral Wellness
- Certificate in Mathematics Learning and Teaching
- Certificate in Advanced Teaching and Curriculum
- Certificate in Student Development and Affairs
While certifications allow educators to practice in specific types of teaching positions in the states where they are licensed, a certificate of education is very different. Certificates are essentially an endorsement from a university that says the recipient has completed a specific collection of related courses and can exercise expertise in those areas.
HOW MUCH DO HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS EARN?
High school teacher salaries vary depending on several factors, including years of experience, educational credentials, type of school (public, private, parochial, etc.), and location. According to Career Explorer, the average base salary for a high school teacher in the United States is $59,043.
SHOULD I BECOME A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER?
Becoming a teacher can be both personally and professionally rewarding. At the same time, a teaching career is not for everyone. But what does it mean to be a secondary school teacher and who should consider starting this teaching career?
People with a love of learning often relish the chance to teach high school students and the opportunity it offers to become a lifelong learner.
Both introverts and extroverts can be effective teachers, but teaching requires developing strong communication skills to interact with students, staff, and parents.
Teachers, regardless of their expertise, need to be willing to try new things, adapt to new technologies, and be flexible to accommodate the individual nature of each student.
Even though it is difficult to learn or teach, patience is one of the most important qualities any teacher can have.
If you are interested in starting the process of becoming a high school teacher and would like to learn more about achieving your goal, please take a moment to request information about the unique benefits students can achieve through the School of Education.