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Your bachelor’s degree might be a lot more versatile than you think. If you’ve ever wondered how your life might be different had you taken a different professional path after you graduated, there’s still time to find out!
For example, if you earned your bachelor’s degree in science or a related field, you already have the background to become a science teacher. There’s always a need for middle school and high school teachers with a passion for science and the capacity to teach in a way that is accurate, current, and engaging. If you have always been good at interacting with kids and teenagers, sharing your enthusiasm and inspiring them to observe, investigate, and discover, then teaching the wonders of chemistry, biology, and physics can be very satisfying.
Great science teachers have the skills to show kids how the basic principles of science are relevant to their everyday lives. If you love the idea of working with kids every day, exploring and explaining the mysteries of the universe, pursuing a career as a science teacher could prove to be a very rewarding experiment!
Your science background provides a solid foundation for a successful teaching career, but it also puts you in position to take your knowledge and skills in a variety of directions beyond teaching science. Should you ever choose to do so, you might consider a career in one of the following fields:
The job outlook for teachers varies by region and the grade level you want to teach. Generally speaking, employment of both middle school and high school teachers, including science teachers, is projected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024.
Also consider that in the U.S., our school systems are on performing at the lower end of the worldwide scale when it comes to science education. That means great science teachers are always in demand, so it might be the ideal time to turn your passion for science into a satisfying teaching career.
As you might imagine, a lot of your time will be spent in a classroom or science lab of a middle school or high school. But you also might accompany your students on field trips to places like museums, aquariums, planetariums, nature centers, and other science-centric destinations.
In the classroom, your role will be to foster an active learning environment and get your students excited about science. You’ll introduce middle school students to earth and life science-related concepts and how they manifest themselves in our everyday lives. As a high school science teacher, you’ll challenge students to investigate and understand complex concepts in chemistry, biology, and physics.
For many science teachers, a typical workday will include time before and after school to meet with parents, students, and other teachers, so good communication skills are essential. You may also spend time on evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing your lessons. Many career-changers also look forward to a teacher’s schedule that allows them to take summers off from work.
If you’re thinking about becoming a science teacher, these professional organizations can help you plan, achieve, and advance a satisfying career.
With the right education and credentials from a top-notch teacher’s college, you can make an exciting career change and become a science teacher. Check out some of the current teaching positions available in high schools and middle schools across the United States.
How much do science teachers make? According to the U.S. 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 salary of $55,860. Education, experience, and grade level are key factors in determining your potential salary.
A July 2014 report released by the U.S. Department of Education also found that science (and math) teachers tend to earn more than teachers of other subjects: “Graduates of science, technology, engineering, or math were paid significantly better than graduates in other fields: or nearly $65,000 a year compared to just $49,500 for graduates with degrees in other fields. These graduates were also the most in demand, as just 16 percent of graduates in 2012 earned math, science, engineering, and technology degrees.”
“These findings have transferred over to the teaching profession, as math and science teachers continue to be in demand in middle and secondary schools. As a result, a number of school districts have begun to question whether science and math teachers require higher salaries to attract and keep them in the profession.”
Become a science teacher, and you can make a positive difference in the lives of tomorrow’s engineers, marine biologists, astronomers, computer scientists, and many others. It can be a very satisfying career move. Best of all, you don’t have to have a degree in education to become a science teacher. You just need to find a top-ranked program that includes a student teaching component and leads to teacher licensure.
If you already have your bachelor’s degree, a post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program can provide you with the knowledge, training, and credentials to be a certified middle school or high school science teacher in the state where you live. And if you need flexibility in the times and places you’ll do your studying, look for an online program that offers an innovative learning model and a solid reputation for preparing science teachers for careers in schools across the country.
To ensure a quality education that will be recognized when you're ready to start teaching science, make sure you enroll in a program that has received NCATE accreditation.
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