How to Become a Science Teacher

Learning how to become a science teacher is the first step toward matching your interest in the sciences with your desire to help young people develop their scientific knowledge.

For starters, you’ll have to earn a college degree that is centered around teaching and science. Candidates have to master the process of teaching the multiple scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry and much more.

Education Requirements

The title of science teacher has a broad definition that might start with the life sciences and extend into physics or astronomy. It’s important to determine which science field is preferable before applying to a school. Focusing on one type of science ensures that schooling is completed within a reasonable amount of time.

A bachelor degree may be all you need to land a science teaching job, but you’ll have more opportunities with a master’s degree. Being able to teach more than one science can open up more doors and increase salary potential.

A bachelor degree program requires that the applicant have either a high school diploma or a GED. It may also require ACT/SAT scores and have a specific GPA threshold for admissions. Check with the school in question before submitting an application to ensure that the requirements are met.

A bachelor program combines classes designed for teaching students and designing lesson plans along with the specific type of science to be studied. Students are offered the classes needed to obtain a teaching certificate for their particular state.

A master degree program offers the opportunity to focus more tightly on a chosen field of science. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s program that is accepted by a master’s program.

Career Options for a Science Teaching Degree

The typical career path for a science teacher is to get hired by a public school district, teaching at the elementary or high school level. Teachers can also find employment at the secondary level in junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities.

A science teacher has quite a few options available outside of the traditional elementary education route. Some of them are:

  •     Research laboratories
  •     Petrochemical industries including plastics, gasoline, oils and more.
  •     Forestry or park positions
  •     Alternative education

Being able to teach is a valuable skill that translates into a variety of career paths, even ones that don’t necessarily involve science.

What to Consider if You Pursue a Science Degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teaching jobs at the elementary and middle school level are projected to grow 17 percent between 2010 to 2020. This is on par with the average job growth across the U.S. The average annual salary about $51,000. High school teachers earn a median of about 53,000 per year, the BLS says, but job growth is project at only 7 percent through 2020.

Science teachers can teach at the post-secondary level as well. Some teachers are employed both as educators and researchers simultaneously, which increases income potential. The median annual wage for post-secondary teachers was about $62,000 in 2010, according to the BLS.

For those who choose to go into research, the average pay for a biological technician was $39,020 in 2010; jobs are expected to grow 14 percent between 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS.

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