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High School Teacher Career Guide

Do you want to have a job that plays a huge part in ensuring that every generation is inspired, happy and fulfilled? If the answers yes, then we think you’d thrive as a high school teacher!

High school teachers work with children in grades nine to grades 12. They help these children prepare students for life after graduation, whatever it is that they decide to do. High school teachers will need a bachelor’s degree and to complete a teachers education program.

"Teaching really is a job like no other and it's only once you start doing it that you realise how highly skilled it all is. My organisational skills and confidence have definitely improved.

Martin Kelly French

High School Teacher Career Ratings

Income

Career
Growth

Personal Growth

Contribution

Influence

Job Profiles

Real-Life High School Teacher Job Profiles

Below is a list of links to anonymous job profiles of REAL PEOPLE who have filled out our survey and offered to share their insights with our users about their job in the High School Teacher field.
ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33993 High School English Teacher Female 27 $50,000 Chicago, IL 01/01/2010
33995 Math Teacher Female 28 $57,000 Bronx, NY 01/01/2010
33884 High School Business Teacher Male 53 $36,000 Chattanooga, TN 01/01/2010
33871 I Am A Biology/Life Science Teacher. Female 28 $35,000 Palm Coast, FL 01/01/2010
33868 K-12 Teacher; I Have Taught High School Level For Most Of My Career. Female 59 $55,000 Marina del Rey, CA 01/01/2010

Overview

What does a high school teacher actually do?

A high school teacher helps to prepare students for life after graduation, whatever it is that they decide to do. High school teachers work with children in grades nine to grades 12. They usually specialize in one area, such as science, english, social studies math or music, and will teach children of different grades each day. The typical duties and responsibilities of a high school teacher include:

  • Planning lessons for children across all grades
  • Assessing a student’s abilities and strengths and weaknesses
  • Adapting lessons where required (e.g., class size)
  • Grading homework and assessments
  • Working closely with parents and keeping them informed of their child’s progress
  • Preparing students for tests
  • Enforcing classroom and school rules
  • Supervising children outside of the classroom (e.g., during lunchtime or detention)

Why they are needed

All teachers are arguably some of the most important members of society. High school teachers play a crucial role in society as they develop the intellectual and social qualities of each generation. They inspire them to do well and succeed at life and they ensure that every individual has the best possible chance in life. High school teachers have the ability to shape leaders of the future and to build positive and inspired future generations. High school teachers don’t just have to ability to change the life of a single child, they have to ability to change the lives of many people.

The pros and cons of a career as a high school teacher

Pros:

  • High school teachers have an excellent schedule, as they normally have summer and winter breaks
  • No two days are the same and there is rarely a boring day as a high school teacher
  • High school teachers make a positive difference to the lives of many students, which makes it a rewarding and satisfying job
  • High school teachers normally have an excellent income and benefits package
  • High school teachers will work in fun and friendly work environments with other supportive teachers
  • High school teachers can create lifelong trusting bonds with their students

Cons:

  • It can be very challenging and draining, as there will be some students who do not have a passion for learning (especially as they are teenagers who think they no best!)
  • It is a job that requites a high level of commitment and dedication
  • There is lots of additional marking and planning required outside of the normal school day
  • High school teachers are under high levels of scrutiny in the United States
  • As high school teachers work with teenagers, they are at an increased risk of violence
  • High school teachers may have to work with disagreeable and challenging parents

Employability

Job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This employment growth is expected because the growing population will create a rise in student enrollment, and therefore an increased demand for high school teachers.

It is important to consider that the employment growth for public high school teachers may depend on state and local government budgets. If state and local governments experience budget deficits, school boards may lay off employees, including teachers. As a result, employment growth of high school teachers may be reduced by state and local government budget deficits. Conversely, budget surpluses at the state and local level could lead to additional employment growth for high school teachers.

Many schools have trouble filling teaching positions for certain subjects (e.g., math, science, English as a second language and special education). Teachers who specialize in these subjects will have the best job prospects and employment opportunities.

Career paths

In nearly all states, high school teachers at public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many states require high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science, math or history.

High school teachers will then typically enrol in their college’s teacher education program. This program instructs them on presenting information to students of different abilities and background. Programs typically include a student-teaching program, in which prospective teachers work with a mentor teacher and get experience instructing students in a classroom. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit Teach.org. Furthermore, some states require high school teachers to earn a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification and obtaining a job.

If you wish to have a career as a private school high school teacher, you do not need to meet state requirements. However, private schools typically seek high school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and a major in a subject area.

Example Job Titles for High School Teacher

Below is a list of common job titles in the High School Teacher field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for high school teachers in the United States was $61,660. The lowest 10% earned less than $40,540 and the highest 10% earned more than $99,660 per year. High school teachers at local schools received a high median salary ($62,310 per year) than those at private schools ($56,270 per year).

Autonomy and flexibility

Like many careers, autonomy is lower among early career teachers and higher among senior leaders. But, one study found that 38% of teachers felt that they have ‘a little’ or ‘no’ influence over their professional development goals. This means that many teachers feel they have little autonomy. This is likely to be because teachers need to stick to state regulations and teaching requirements in order to give children the best possible chances.

Locations and commute

Job opportunities can vary state to state due to budget. According to Zippia, the best states to be a teacher (this includes elementary, high school and kindergarten), based on average annual salary and number of job available, are:

  1. Massachusetts, where the average annual salary is $60,463
  2. Connecticut, where the average annual salary is $57,553
  3. New York, where the average annual salary is $61,568
  4. Maryland, where the average annual salary is $56,299
  5. Vermont, where the average annual salary is $52,109

The worst states to be a teacher, according to Zippia, are Oklahoma, Idaho, West Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Work environment

83% of high school teachers were employed by local elementary and secondary schools, whereas only 15% were employed by private schools. Teaching can be incredibly stressful. In some schools, teachers will be responsible for teaching large classes and may lack important teaching tools, such as current technology and up-to-date textbooks. However, it is also incredibly rewarding as teachers get to watch student develop new skills and gain knowledge.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in High School Teacher careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and High School Teacher career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in High School Teacher.

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

  • None

Big Five (OCEAN)

  • None

DiSC

  • None

Enneagram

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

  • None

Personality types

Successful teachers are likely to be ENFJ personality types. ENFJ’s, or sometimes called ‘the mentor’, are forward-thinkers. They enjoy serving the community and can always see the potential in other people. They want to focus on the possibilities of growth for others, which is absolutely essential qualities for high school teachers who must strive to help every student grow.

Accomplishment and mastery

In general, teachers will feel a high sense of accomplishment and mastery when they help students to achieve the correct grades and become the best version of themselves. However, teaching really isn’t an easy job and teachers can face a lot of scrutiny throughout their career. This might take away some of the sense of accomplishment and mastery. On top of this, not all children are willing to learn and this may diminish a teachers sense of accomplishment and mastery.

Meaning and contribution

As mentioned previously, teachers play one of the most important roles in our society. Without the hard work and dedication of teachers, society would not be able to progress in a positive way. Teachers play a hugely meaningful role in inspiring each generation and preparing them from the big wide world.

Life fit

In general, high school teachers will work during school hours when students are present. On occasion, they may have to meet with parents, students, and other teachers before and after school. Teachers will often spend time in the evenings and on weekends grading papers and preparing lessons. Teachers who coach sports or advise clubs generally do so before or after school. Based on this, it could appear that being a teacher doesn’t offer the greatest life fit.

However, most teachers work a traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer and a short midwinter break. This leaves them with long holidays to spend with family and friends.

Who will thrive?

Teaching requires a lot of patience. To thrive as a teacher, you will also need to have qualities such as:

  • Adaptability, as teachers will be faced with constant change. This change can be in the different students each year or changing expectations and curriculum
  • The ability to remain calm in stressful situations, as high school teachers will have to keep their cool when dealing with disobedient teenagers
  • Mental strength, as students can be challenging and difficult and in order to thrive, high school teachers must be able to see through this
  • The desire to graft during school term time, as although high school teachers have long summers off, they will work long days during term time and must be committed and prepared
  • Finally, to thrive high school teachers need the genuine passion for education and improving the lives of students. Without this, they may be ok teachers, but they will never thrive and be successful

Who will struggle?

Rather obviously, you will struggle as a teacher if you don’t like children. Similarly, if you have no real passion for education and shaping the future generation, then you are likely to struggle as a high school teacher. A lack empathy and patience is also not beneficial to teachers, who will have to work with challenging and demanding children. On top of all this, those who do not thrive and enjoy interacting with others will ultimately feel drained and uninspired by the amount of social interaction that occurs when working as a teacher.

Requirements

Skills and talents

As well as a genuine passion for teaching and education, high school teachers need skills and talents such as:

  • Communication skills are essential as high school teachers will have to establish relationships with the children, with their parents and with other education professionals
  • Patience, as high school teachers need to remain calm when instructing students and be understanding when students do not pick things up straight away
  • Observational skills, as teachers will need to observe and notice the progress of their students
  • Interpersonal skills, as teachers work regularly with other teachers and the students parents. Therefore, the must be able to build positive relationships
  • Resourcefulness, as teachers need to engage students in learning and adapt lessons accordingly

Education

In nearly all states, high school teachers at public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many states require high school teachers to have majored in a subject area, such as science, math or history. High school teachers will then typically enrol in their college’s teacher education program. Furthermore, some states require high school teachers to earn a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification and obtaining a job.

Certificates

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed in the specific grade level that they teach. To achieve licensure high school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average, completed a student-teaching program, passed a background check and passed a general teaching certification test. Those who teach in private schools typically do not need to be licensed.

For information about teacher preparation programs and certification requirements, visit Teach.org or contact your state’s board of education.

However, if you didn’t complete a student-teaching program, all states offer an alternative route to licensure. These alternative programs cover teaching methods and child development. Candidates are awarded full certification after they complete the program. Other alternative programs require prospective teachers to take classes in education before they can start to teach. Teachers may be awarded a master’s degree after completing either type of program.

How to Become

Summary

A high school teacher helps to prepare students for life after graduation, whatever it is that they decide to do. High school teachers work with children in grades nine to grades 12. They play a crucial role in society by preparing each generation for what lays ahead, and by inspiring and motivating them.

Immediate action

Sounds like something you’re interested in doing? Great!

Well, like many careers, it is always advisable to get your foot in the door. To do this, we recommend seeking relevant work experience. Work experience includes things such as working in a school, working in a kindergarten or nannying children.

Education and learning

In nearly all states, high school teachers at public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. High school teachers will then typically enrol in their college’s teacher education program. Some states require high school teachers to earn a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification and obtaining a job.

Skill development

Teachers learn their skills through academic study and through their supervised training during their teacher education problem. They will always be learning and adapting their skills with the more experience and knowledge they gain.

FAQs

Ask a Question

Have a question about High School Teacher careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33993 High School English Teacher Female 27 $50,000 Chicago, IL 01/01/2010
33995 Math Teacher Female 28 $57,000 Bronx, NY 01/01/2010
33884 High School Business Teacher Male 53 $36,000 Chattanooga, TN 01/01/2010
33871 I Am A Biology/Life Science Teacher. Female 28 $35,000 Palm Coast, FL 01/01/2010
33868 K-12 Teacher; I Have Taught High School Level For Most Of My Career. Female 59 $55,000 Marina del Rey, CA 01/01/2010

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