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Matter and energy. Math and logic. Gases, liquids, and solids. How much do you remember from your high school chemistry class? If you had a great teacher, you probably learned a lot about how the world works and the elements that define and explain our everyday lives.
Today more than ever, it’s critical for American students to be prepared with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, especially within the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) that are fueling the world’s economies and job markets. But according to the U.S. Department of Education, we have an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects.
That’s where you come in! If you're a licensed teacher with a bachelor’s degree and an interest in advancing your science education, you can earn an industry-current master’s degree designed to prepare you to become a middle school or high school chemistry teacher. As you acquire advanced knowledge in areas like matter and energy, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and modern laboratory procedures, you’ll also be learning about and developing methods to teach chemistry in a way that is accurate, current, and engaging. Become a chemistry teacher, and you’ll not only inspire future generations of scientists, engineers, and researchers, you’ll also play a role in the national initiative (100Kin10) to recruit, prepare, and retain 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021.
With a top-ranked master's degree, your certification in chemistry, and the training to be an effective middle and high school teacher, there’s a good chance you’ll love your teaching career. But a qualification in chemistry and continued education can also open doors to professional opportunities in a range of industries.
There are currently between 30,000 and 40,000 chemistry teachers in the U.S., and approximately one-third of them will be reaching retirement age within the next 10 years. That, coupled with a crisis-level shortage of math and science teachers in American schools, has created a huge opportunity for you to earn an advanced degree in science education with a certification in chemistry.
According to Mary Ann Rankin, President and CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative, “Most school districts across the country are struggling with a shortage of teachers with expertise in science, technology, engineering, and math — what has become known as the ‘STEM’ subjects. In fact, the U.S. is facing a shortage of 280,000 STEM teachers by 2015.”
Clearly, if you have a passion for chemistry and the knowledge and skills to make it interesting and meaningful to a class of eager, inquisitive young minds, you can play a role in shaping our next great generation of scientists, engineers, or medical professionals.
For a middle school or high school chemistry teacher, every day’s an experiment in facilitating students’ understanding of complex concepts of matter and energy and how they relate to each other. One of your greatest challenges (and rewards) will be coming up with lesson plans and lab activities that can make chemistry class relevant and meaningful to your students’ everyday lives.
Teaching chemistry is both a science and an art. Having a thorough understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts is one thing, but if you have a creative, engaging way of explaining them to your students, you’ll have the capacity to leave an indelible impression on budding scientific minds.
Aside from conducting lab experiments that explore and explain properties of matter and energy, chemical reactions, or the nature of chemical bonds, you’ll more than likely spend time on evenings and weekends grading papers and absorbing the latest news in the field of chemistry.
If you have an advanced education in science and an affinity for inspiring students to learn about the world around them, your skills are needed in chemistry classes across the country. These organizations can help you get started.
The nationwide shortage of chemistry teachers is creating thousands of opportunities for educators with the knowledge, skills, and teaching credentials to make a difference in school districts across America. Check out some of the current opportunities!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $57,200 in May 2015, while middle school teachers earned a median annual salary of $55,860.
Another Bureau of Labor Statistics report reveals that in 2013, middle school teachers with a master’s degree, including chemistry teachers, earned an average of 28% more than those with bachelor’s degrees.
These numbers show that earning a master’s degree from a respected teaching college that provides training in advanced chemistry and science teaching methods can significantly boost your earning potential and place you on the higher end of the pay scale.
“Only 36.8% of chemistry teachers in public schools have both a major and certification in chemistry.”
Emphasis on STEM and a lack of teachers with an up-to-date education in science is causing an unprecedented demand for qualified chemistry teachers in middle schools and high schools across the country. If you’re a licensed teacher with a bachelor’s degree (and look good in a lab coat), it’s time to think about making your mark on America’s next generation of chemists, physicists, biologists, and engineers. Earn your degree in chemistry education, and put your flask to the task!
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