How to Become a High School Teacher: Career, Education and Salary Information

Those who want to become high school teachers in the state of Colorado will need to first earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. A potential teacher will also need to complete a teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university as well.

If you decide that teaching high school, or secondary education, is the career path for you, you will need to complete an accredited teaching program, gain student teaching experience, and pass the state’s licensing exams in order to obtain your teaching credential and be authorized to work in high school in California.

HOW I BECAME A TEACHER TAG | High School Teacher

Average salary

High school teachers’ pay varies according to their employer, their level of experience, and their geographic location.

What does a high school teacher do?

The responsibility for instructing students in grades 9 through 12 falls on high school teachers. Teachers in high schools typically specialize in teaching one subject, such as U S. history, however, they may teach other subjects as well. Their lessons are generally taught through classroom discussions and lectures. With the help of focused assignments, tests, and projects, teachers instruct their students and gauge their progress. Additionally, they may spend additional time with students who need help with their coursework by mentoring or tutoring them after school.

Some of their responsibilities may include:

How to become a high school teacher

Before you can be certified as a high school teacher, you must satisfy a number of requirements. The most typical steps you can take to become a high school teacher are listed below:

1. Pursue your undergraduate degree

Every state mandates a bachelor’s degree for high school teachers. It is best if you enroll in your college or university’s teacher preparation program and major in a teachable subject, such as English, math, or biology. However, depending on the college you attend, each program will be different. Some colleges require aspiring high school teachers to double major in a subject and a teaching-related minor, while others let students combine their degree program with teacher preparation.

Most colleges and universities advise students to postpone applying to teaching programs until their sophomore or junior year. In secondary education programs, you will learn about things like effective teaching, educational development, curriculum, and methodology.

2. Complete a student teaching internship

Many teaching programs include student teaching internships. Every prospective teacher must complete these internships, which typically last one semester or 8–12 weeks. Under the guidance of an experienced teacher, students will use their knowledge during this internship by fusing theory and practice into teaching and learning in a practical setting.

As they work to learn, develop, and grow as teachers, student teachers will start to identify their teaching selves and derive meaning from the learning environment. Throughout their internship, student teachers are expected to remain open to criticism from faculty and other staff members.

3. Pass state examinations

Before they can apply for certification, many states demand that prospective high school teachers pass a general teaching certification exam. Depending on the state you reside in, there may be different certification requirements, but in general every state wants a teaching candidate to pass a subject matter competency test and a basic skills test. Check your specific state requirements for more information.

4. Obtain licensure

You must submit an application for a license or certification to teach in your state after passing the state examinations. Your application to the school board will include your bachelor’s degree, your test results from the state exams and the teacher education program. Before being permitted to teach in your state, you will also need to submit to a background investigation.

5. Consider advanced education

You could decide to obtain extra certifications or higher education that will make your resume stand out to potential employers. To maintain your teaching credential, some states may demand that you complete a master’s degree within a few years of beginning your teaching career. Additionally, some employers might demand that you hold a master’s degree in order to teach in-demand subject areas. To advance your career in education beyond teaching, you might think about getting your master’s degree in education.

Frequently asked questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions about the career of a high school teacher:

What is the typical day like for a high school teacher?

High school teaching can be challenging, and teachers perform a variety of tasks daily. You will instruct students, interact with them and the faculty each day, and help to create a secure learning environment for them. Connecting with someone who is currently employed as a teacher is the best way to learn more about the duties and obligations of this position. They might be able to share their knowledge and insight with you.

What skills do I need to become a successful high school teacher?

To ensure success in their classroom, teachers need to be motivated, well-organized, patient, flexible, and have excellent leadership skills.

Can I teach a different subject than the one I majored in?

Yes, you can decide to teach a subject other than the one in which you received your bachelor’s degree. But the requirements differ by state, and you have to be able to pass a difficult test on the subject you want to teach. Some states do demand prior coursework in the subject you want to teach, so you might need to take additional courses to meet the requirements.

Are there teaching preparation programs that allow me to work while I fulfill credential requirements?

Alternative certification programs allow you to work as a paid teacher during the day while attending classes at night or on weekends, preparing you for a career as a teacher.


What’s the fastest you can become a teacher?

If you enroll in a master’s in education program for non-teachers with a licensure track while already holding a bachelor’s degree, you might be able to become a teacher in just one year.

What is the most a high school teacher can make?

High School Teachers earned a median salary of $62,870 in 2020, according to In that year, the top 25 percent earned $81,410, while the bottom 25 percent earned $49,990.

Is becoming a teacher hard?

Although it can be draining and exhausting, teaching is a worthwhile and rewarding profession. For a variety of reasons, including student behavior, rapidly advancing technology, and low pay, teaching is arguably more difficult than it has ever been.

How long does it take to become a high school teacher in California?

A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete, and a single subject teaching credential typically takes an additional five years to complete.

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