Why Enroll in an Online Degree Program to become a High School Teacher

For those who have teaching in their blood, nothing is more fulfilling than pursuing and earning a degree as a high school teacher. Courses in the education field are increasing on the Internet, and this is allowing many students who previously might not have had the time or money – because of job or family constraints, credit issues, or lack of funds – to pursue such a rewarding path.

Before choosing an online degree in education, it is wise to consider the full ramifications of the choice to become a high school teacher. The education requirements (many of which can be fulfilled online) are important, as are the career options that later follow securing the degree and the teaching certification. Lastly, a prospective student should consider other factors of working as a high school teacher, like potential employment and salary. Read on for an overview of the joys and challenges of pursuing this degree.

Education Requirements

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school teachers must first obtain a bachelor degree in a teaching-related field before they can work in a classroom setting. Often times, this degree will encompass a variety of prerequisites, such as sociology, psychology or child development classes, or classes in the student’s preferred subject area. Many of these can be taken online.

If a student already has a degree in, say, Chemistry and wants to teach this subject to high school students, they must still complete the basic education requirements demanded of every teacher. Of course, these requirements will vary by institution (per the class schedule listed under its degree program) and by state.

On top of a bachelor degree (or sometimes even a master degree), a prospective high school teacher must also earn a state-issued certification or license. This can entail various prerequisites but it always involves a period of intensive in-classroom training known as student teaching. Depending on the certification program type as well as the state, this period of student teaching can last anywhere from a trimester to a full year, and generally involves the student taking over the classroom and acting as the teacher at some point.

Career Options: What You Can Do with a Degree as a High School Teacher

High school teaching degrees are a bit different from their Early Childhood and Elementary Education counterparts in that they are subject-specific. If, for instance, a student obtains a teaching degree for Chemistry, as in the above example, she would need to complete further college coursework (the number of credit hours specified by her state), before being able to transfer her degree to another area.

High school-certified teachers can work in both public and private settings, and can even leverage their skills to become specialists like tutors who work from home or in a school setting. Getting a certificate as a high school teacher also opens up additional paying opportunities, like working as a coach in a sport or extracurricular activity (Drama Club, for instance, or the Debate Team). Whatever may appeal to each individual, high school teachers have a great opportunity to build themselves a community within the one in which they work.

What to Consider if you Pursue a Degree as a High School Teacher

Typically, the public considers teaching an underpaid profession, and this has the unfortunate result of warding many prospective students away from a job they might find rewarding and fulfilling. Although it is true that teachers do not make a huge salary, the median pay for a high school teacher in 2010 was actually $53,230 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job prospects are not terrible, either, although teaching jobs are certainly harder to find than they were ten years ago. Currently, job availability is growing slower than average (at 7 percent), so students who wish to find jobs in high school may consider working in under-served areas where teachers are needed most, moving to rural communities or working abroad for a few years while waiting for the market to speed up.

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