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Earth science is big news these days, with our increased focus on critical issues like conservation, renewable energy, mineral resources, and water availability. In fact, earth science (also referred to as geoscience) is recognized for having such a profound effect on our everyday lives that in 2015, then-Congressman Mike Honda introduced The Earth Science Week Resolution to highlight the importance and broad impact earth science research has on American individuals, municipalities, industries, companies, economy, and quality of life.
"Geoscientists and researchers in our country continually push the frontiers of human knowledge, help develop and incubate the concepts and programs that keep us at the innovative forefront of the world’s economy, and inspire future generations of researchers, scientists, and informed citizens," said Congressman Honda.
So who's going to teach future generations of students how to help solve some of the world's biggest challenges and improve our quality of life? It could be you if you decide to become a geoscience teacher! The field is fertile with opportunities for educators who have the up-to-date knowledge, skills, and credentials to help young minds develop a passion for understanding the physical aspects of the Earth, including its composition, structure, and processes.
"The demand for young and enthusiastic geoscientists is expected to continue growing," states the American Geosciences Institute. Whether teaching geoscience becomes your lifelong career or an exciting first chapter in an emerging and important field, you'll have a broad range of areas to explore where jobs are plentiful and salaries are robust.
Positions in the field.
“I had two different schools fighting over me. I'm a highly qualified teacher and I absolutely love it. I'm going to do something worthwhile. I'm going to affect people's lives.” Ken Spruel
B.A. Science (5–9)
According to an article published in Correlator, the newsletter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, "Geoscientists are needed to address societally important problems related to energy, water, natural hazards, natural resources, climate, environment, and geological engineering, to educate students and the public, to use sound science to inform public policy decisions, and to conduct fundamental research. We need a multifaceted, sustained effort to build a diverse and sustainable geoscience workforce."
Significantly, “the majority of the geoscientist workforce is within 15 years of retirement age, and about 20–30% of the workforce is already retirement eligible, yet the projected need is greater than the number of those employed today.”
Good geoscience teachers can help kids find a passion for earth science during their formative years. "Students usually are not exposed to the geosciences at [an] age when they are considering future careers, while teachers, counselors, and parents are not aware that it is a high-paying, high-tech profession that requires strengths in the basic sciences and high-level math and computational skills."
Currently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of middle school teachers and high school teachers to grow by 8% between 2016 and 2026, which is near the average for all occupations.
WGU has industry-aligned degrees to help you reach your career goals. A few you may find interesting are:
As an earth science teacher, you'll most likely find yourself in a middle school or high school teaching students about the structure and function of Earth's systems, along with its closely coupled subsystems, including the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. When not immersed in the planning and delivery of your lesson plans, your daily schedule will likely include time before and after school to meet with parents, students, and other teachers.
Ready to embark on an exciting journey as a geoscience teacher? You'll have a lot of resources to help support and encourage your personal and professional development. Here are a few great places to get acclimated to an exciting career field.
The study of Earth's systems becomes more advanced every day. Acquire industry-current knowledge and skills, and prepare for a rewarding career as a geoscience teacher! Here are some helpful resources to begin your quest.
The BLS reports the median annual wage for middle school teachers was $56,720 in May 2016. High school teachers earned slightly more – $58,030. The average salary for geoscience teachers, according to SimplyHired.com, is $45,000. As with most professions, earth science teacher salaries can vary due to location and experience.
Geoscience explores society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and the health of the environment. Today, there are truly innovative geoscience teaching curriculums offered completely online that are specifically designed to prepare you with an industry-current knowledge of this evolving field and its increasing prominence in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms.
Becoming a geoscience teacher requires a bachelor's degree, preferably with a focus on competencies including astronomy, geology, meteorology, and oceanography. If you can demonstrate an advanced understanding of the structure and function of Earth's systems, you'll have the knowledge required to be an earth science teacher.
Of course, you'll also need valid teaching credentials in the state where you live, so look for a top-ranked teaching degree from a Teachers College with CAEP accreditation that leads to teacher licensure. Choosing the right university and program is key to becoming a highly qualified earth science teacher. And even if you choose to go the online route to earn your degree, it's even possible to find an online university that incorporates student teaching and live classroom field experiences into its curriculum.
Ready to jump-start your career in teaching earth science? The next step could be earning your B.S. in Science Education, Earth Science. Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!