The Ultimate Career Guide for High School Teachers

The Ultimate Career Guide for High School Teachers

If you’re a high school student in New York, you might be considering a career in education. As you may have heard in the news, single-subject high school teachers are in high demand not only in New York but also nationwide. According to statistics, within the next few years, there will be a significant shortage of high school teachers, particularly in subjects like mathematics and science. This shortage is expected to result in better job prospects and higher salaries for educators.

Once you’ve earned your degree and obtained the necessary certifications, it’s time to begin your career as a high school teacher. You can apply for teaching positions at different schools, both public and private. Keep in mind that salary levels may vary depending on the school and your level of education and experience.



As a high school teacher, you’ll have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individual students. You’ll spend your days teaching a variety of subjects, such as math, science, English, social studies, or a combination of subjects depending on your area of specialization. In addition to teaching, you’ll also have other responsibilities, such as lesson planning, grading, and participating in extracurricular activities.

Teach.org is a great resource to find more information about the requirements and steps to become a high school teacher. They provide resources, interviews, and common questions to help you navigate the process of becoming a teacher. If you’re considering a career in education, you should take some time to consider the benefits and challenges that come with being a high school teacher.

Being a high school teacher is not just a job; it’s a life choice. You’ll have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the lives of your students and potentially shape their future. So, if you’re passionate about a subject and enjoy working with young people, then a career as a high school teacher might be the perfect fit for you!

Step 1: Choosing a Path in Education

Choosing a career in education is an important decision that requires careful consideration. Educators play a crucial role in shaping the minds and futures of students, so it’s essential to find the right path and subject area that aligns with your interests and goals.



First, ask yourself what subjects you are passionate about and what grade levels you would like to teach. Are you someone who enjoys working with high school students, or would you be more fulfilled teaching pre-K or elementary grades? Understanding your preferences will help guide your career choice.

Next, it’s important to research the specific requirements for teachers in your state or country. Each location may have different standards and certification processes that need to be met. For example, in Texas, educators must pass the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES) to become certified. In Pennsylvania, teachers are required to have a Bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher preparation program.

Another consideration is whether you want to be a general education teacher or specialize in a specific subject area. Some educators prefer to teach a variety of subjects, while others enjoy focusing on one particular area, such as English or mathematics. Determining your preferred teaching style and subject matter is crucial in finding the right job for you.


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Furthering your education may also be necessary for pursuing certain career goals. Some higher-level positions and programs may require a Master’s degree or additional certifications. Check with your state’s department of education or national education organizations for information on advanced training options.

While there is a common base of knowledge and skills that all teachers should possess, individual states and countries may have specific requirements. Researching and understanding these requirements can help prepare you for your career in education.

Online resources such as Teach.org and programmes like Gwynedd Mercy University’s (GMercyU) education programme can provide valuable information and guidance to help you progress towards a teaching career. These platforms can also connect you with other educators who can offer advice and support during your journey.

In summary, choosing a path in education requires careful consideration of your interests, preferences, and goals. Researching the requirements of your state or country, seeking advice from experts, and furthering your own education are all steps towards becoming a successful and fulfilled educator.

Step 2: Getting the Right Education

When it comes to pursuing a career in high school teaching, the right education is crucial. Your studies will lay the foundation for your job and help you become a helpful and effective teacher.

First, you’ll need to begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field. This single job of obtaining a degree will go a long way in preparing you for the challenges of teaching. During your studies, you may have the option to specialize in a specific subject or age group. Some colleges also offer nationally recognized certifications or licensure requirements that can enhance your teaching experience.

For those who want to specialize further, graduate-level studies can be pursued. These advanced degrees, such as a master’s degree, offer more in-depth training and may even put you on a path to become a mentor or tutor. It’s important to note that not all jobs require a graduate degree, but having one can open up more opportunities and lead to a higher salary.

One alternative for those who want to start working in the field sooner is to enroll in an alternative teacher certification program. These programs are designed for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field but want to transition into teaching. They provide the necessary support and training to help you meet certification requirements and begin teaching.

Benefits of Getting the Right Education

Getting the right education offers many benefits for aspiring high school teachers. First and foremost, it equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to teach effectively. You will learn about teaching strategies, classroom management, and how to meet the specific needs of your students.

Another benefit is that having the right education increases your chances of getting hired. Many schools require teachers to be certified or licensed, and having the necessary degrees and certifications can make you a more attractive candidate during interviews.

Furthermore, the right education not only prepares you to teach, but it also helps you understand the science behind teaching. You will learn about child development, educational theories, and the latest research in the field. This knowledge can enhance your teaching abilities and make you a better educator.

Where Should I Get My Education?

When it comes to getting the right education, there are many colleges and universities to choose from. Some well-known institutions for education programs include Gwynedd Mercy University, Teach.org, and the University of Washington.

It’s important to research and find a program that aligns with your career goals and offers the support you need. Look for programs that have dedicated faculty, provide hands-on training opportunities, and offer support for job placement after graduation.

Remember, getting the right education is a crucial step towards becoming a certified and successful high school teacher. So, make sure to choose a program that will help you meet your goals and fulfill your passion for helping students succeed.

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Step 3: Gaining Experience through Internships and Volunteering

Internships and volunteering opportunities are some of the most valuable experiences for high school teachers to gain hands-on training in the field of education. Whether you’re considering a career in teaching or you’re already a sophomore in college, these opportunities can provide you with a roundabout path towards your educational and career goals.

Internships and volunteering programs allow you to spend time in actual classrooms, working alongside experienced teachers and professionals. By enrolling in such programs, you not only get a chance to observe and learn from experts but also connect with educators who can guide you further in your career.

One of the benefits of internships and volunteering is the opportunity to take on certain responsibilities and tasks that would not be given to someone without experience. This helps you understand the demands and expectations of being a high school teacher. You may assist with lesson planning, grading, classroom management, and working with students who have specific educational needs, such as those with learning disabilities or impaired hearing.

During internships and volunteering, you may also have the chance to interview and interact with students, parents, and administrators. This will give you a general idea of the common challenges and opportunities that high school teachers face on a daily basis. It will also allow you to observe different teaching styles and methods, which can be beneficial in finding your own teaching approach.

Depending on the program or organization, internships and volunteering opportunities can vary in length, from a few weeks to a full academic year. Some organizations may require you to submit an application and go through an interview process, similar to applying for a job. It’s important to take these opportunities seriously and make the most of your time by actively participating and seeking feedback.

Not only do internships and volunteering experiences provide you with valuable training, but they can also enhance your resume and make you a more competitive candidate when applying for teaching positions. Many schools and districts look for teachers who have had some hands-on experience working with students, especially at the grade levels they are looking to fill, such as K-8 or high school.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for high school teachers in May 2019 was $61,660. However, salaries can vary depending on the state and level of education. For example, high school teachers in New York and Connecticut tend to have higher salaries compared to those in Pennsylvania or Texas. Having a graduate-level degree or additional training in math or special education can also lead to higher salaries.

When considering internships and volunteering opportunities, it’s important to think about what you want to gain from the experience and how it aligns with your career goals. Taking the time to gain hands-on experience in the field will not only help you decide if teaching is the right path for you but also provide you with valuable skills and knowledge that can benefit your future as an educator.

Step 4: Landing Your First Teaching Job

Once you’ve completed your education and obtained the necessary certifications, it’s time to start looking for your first teaching job. Landing your first teaching job can be an exciting and challenging process, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can increase your chances of success.

1. Connect with a mentor: Having a mentor can be extremely helpful when navigating the job search process. A mentor can provide guidance and support, answer questions, and provide insights from their own experience. Consider reaching out to someone who has been working in the field for a few years and ask if they would be willing to mentor you.

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2. Prepare your job application: Before you start applying for teaching positions, make sure you have a well-written resume and cover letter. Highlight your education, certifications, relevant experience, and any additional qualifications or achievements. Also, be sure to gather any resources or samples of your work that demonstrate your teaching abilities.

3. Research job opportunities: Look for job postings in your desired location and grade levels. Check websites that list teaching positions, such as local school district websites, educational organizations, and job search engines. Take note of any specific requirements or preferences mentioned in the job descriptions, and tailor your application accordingly.

4. Attend job fairs and interviews: Job fairs are a great way to connect with potential employers and learn more about different schools and districts. Prepare for interviews by researching the schools and districts you’re interested in, practicing common interview questions, and having examples ready to demonstrate your skills and abilities.

5. Submit your applications: Once you’ve found job openings that align with your goals and qualifications, submit your applications promptly. Follow the application instructions provided in the job posting and make sure to submit all required documents and forms.

6. Follow up: After you’ve submitted your applications, don’t be afraid to follow up with the hiring managers or principals to express your continued interest in the position. This shows your enthusiasm and commitment.

7. Be open to different opportunities: While you may have a specific grade level or location in mind, consider being open to different options. There may be more job opportunities in certain areas or grade levels, and taking on a different role initially can provide valuable experience and help you grow as an educator.

8. Stay positive and persistent: The job search process can sometimes take longer than expected, and you may face setbacks or rejections along the way. Stay positive and view each application and interview as an opportunity to learn and grow. Remember that landing your first teaching job takes time and perseverance.

By following these steps and staying focused on your long-term goals, you will increase your chances of landing your first teaching job. Keep progressing in your academic and professional journey, connect with helpful resources and organizations, and ultimately, you’ll find yourself in a classroom full of eager students ready to learn from you.

Minimum RequirementsExcellent skillset
– Depending on the state, you may need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field– While taking an individual research and mentorship semester can be helpful, it is not always necessary
– Obtain necessary certifications and licensing– Having a master’s degree can greatly enhance your career prospects
– Enroll in additional courses or training to further develop your teaching skills– Progress is key; keep working towards your goals and updating your qualifications

FAQ

Is getting a master’s degree in the subject I teach necessary for a high school teaching career?

Getting a master’s degree in the subject you teach is not necessary for a high school teaching career, but it can enhance your knowledge and skills in the subject and make you a more competitive candidate for teaching positions.

What are the advantages of getting a master’s degree in the subject I teach?

Getting a master’s degree in the subject you teach can provide you with a deeper understanding and expertise in the subject area, which can improve your teaching abilities and effectiveness in the classroom. It can also open up opportunities for career advancement and higher salary.

Will having a master’s degree make me a better teacher?

Having a master’s degree in the subject you teach can contribute to making you a better teacher. It can provide you with a strong foundation of subject knowledge, research skills, and pedagogical strategies that can enhance your teaching methods and help you to better meet the needs of your students.

Is there a financial benefit to getting a master’s degree in the subject I teach?

Obtaining a master’s degree in the subject you teach can potentially lead to higher salary opportunities. Many school districts offer salary incentives for teachers who hold advanced degrees, and having a master’s degree can make you a more competitive candidate for higher-paying positions within the field of education.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.