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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

June 30, 2020

Teaching & Education

How to become a math teacher.

Math teacher writing equation on the board

Calculus. Algebra. Geometry. Fractions. Times tables. For some people, reading about mathematics makes them cringe and shudder. But for others, the world of math is a wonderful place where things make sense, where there is a right answer, and where they find order and organization. 

Students need good mathematics teachers to help them grasp important concepts and find a love for mathematics. Good math teachers are patient, understanding, thorough, and care about their students. They have a love for math and want to share that love with their students. Math is all about understanding how things work, and mathematics teachers are great at explaining in many ways, helping students practice, and encouraging them along the way.

Students learn mathematics in many grade levels, from the time they are in kindergarten all the way through high school and beyond. So it’s extremely important that they have good math teachers who can help them crack the code of math, preparing them for each new concept and level of learning. Many professions require a great understanding of math, and even if a student goes into a profession that doesn’t rely on mathematics, they will need to know and understand it for their daily life. 

If you’re interested in becoming a mathematics teacher, it’s key to know what the requirements are, what career path will look like, and how you can progress toward this exciting profession.

Math teacher job description.

The main role of a mathematics teaching is to teach lessons to students that help them learn mathematical concepts and understand the connections between the abstract concepts, and real-world applications. They help students build on their existing knowledge to continue to learn more advanced math concepts.

Every math teacher has to organize and manage their classroom, work with other math teachers and administrators to coordinate best practices and teaching goals, plan lessons that go along with their teaching goals, assign lessons and homework, grade exams and grade assignments, issue final grades to students, come up with grade standards, stay up-to-date on mathematics teaching standards and teaching requirements, with one-on-one with students who may need additional help, administer state-specific tests to help gauge student progress, meet with parents to help assess what students need, and more.

Elementary school.

Elementary school math teachers aren’t specifically trained for just mathematics instruction, but are trained to teach every subject to young students. Elementary school math learning requirements often includes numbers, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and an introduction to algebra. These math teacher need to be able to connect mathematics to other subjects that they teach throughout the day, have patience as they work with younger students, and create fun games and activities to help children grasp mathematics. 

Middle school.

Middle school mathematics teaching focuses specifically on math, and often doesn't involve other subjects for educators to teach. Middle school math education often involves pre-algebra, trigonometry, algebra, and geometry. Middle school mathematics teachers also need to excel in other areas of mathematics to understand how their curriculum helps prepare students for what they will learn in the future, and how to build on what they have learned in the past.

High school.

High school math educators may teach a wide variety of mathematical concepts like algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and more. High school teachers need to be prepared to teach advanced math concepts and work with students as they prepare to take advanced tests and get ready for college. High school math teachers may also help students be prepared for college placement exams and advanced learning in math concepts.


Math teacher educational requirements.

There are specific educational requirements for all teachers and it’s important to understand what educational plans you need to make in order to be qualified to teach math. 

Elementary school.

All elementary school teachers will likely need a bachelor’s degree in order to teach. For many states, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education is required or preferred for teaching. However, if you already have a bachelor’s degree you can pursue a master’s degree in elementary education that will license you to teach. Similarly, teachers may see great value in pursuing a master’s degree even after getting their bachelor’s degree in elementary education. A master’s degree can open up doors to higher pay, a chance to stand out from the competition, and more. Elementary school teachers will learn about their specific math training in a degree program, as well as classroom management skills and the other subjects that they will be required to teach.

Middle school.

Middle school teachers also have a requirement for a bachelor’s degree in order to teach, and a middle school math degree program is often the ideal choice. Middle school math teachers can also earn a master’s degree to qualify them for certification, or to help give them opportunities to boost their salary and become a leader in their subject at their school. In their degree program they will learn about the math concepts they will be teaching, how to run a classroom, and more. 

High school.

High school math teachers are the same as elementary and middle school math teachers in that they have a requirement for a bachelor’s degree in order to teach. A secondary degree program gives teachers the opportunity to teach in middle school up to high school, allowing teachers more freedom to choose exactly which kind of subjects and students they want to teach. Their degree program will teach them extensive math training on different subjects, as well as an understanding of how to work with students and help them succeed. 

Math teacher licensing and certification.

All teachers must have the proper state certification in order to teach. For elementary school teachers, there is a specific elementary teaching certification that they will need in order to teach. Similarly, teachers of secondary students will need certification in order to be qualified to teach. Each state has a unique licensing process, and Program Mentors can help WGU students learn about the licensing process for their state.

Math teacher salary and job outlook.

Teachers of different ages and subjects will earn different amounts. Math teachers tend to be some of the highest paid teachers compared to other subjects, as there is usually a shortage of teachers for this subject. Elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of around $59,000 per year. Middle school teachers can expect to earn a similar average annual salary of around $59,000 per year. High school teachers can expect to earn a little bit more, with their average annual salary sitting at around $61,000 per year. High school teachers may have higher salaries due to the complexity of the subjects they teach and the preparation they need to help students be successful in college. The salary that a teacher can earn will vary depending on where they are teaching, and the amount of education they have. Many teachers can expect a raise if they earn a master’s degree. The years of experience they have will greatly impact their salary level. 

If you’re considering being a teacher and you love math, a degree in mathematics education is key in helping you pursue this exciting profession.

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