What does a High School Teacher do?

Median Pay $59,170
Growth Rate 8%
Citation Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.gov

High school teachers typically educate 9th-12th grade students in various subjects. They help students meeting state standards in their academics and the state’s high school graduation requirements. Most high school teachers have specific subjects they teach to various students that rotate from class to class throughout the day. They may teach in a public school, charter school, or private school.

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How to Become a High School Teacher

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A high school teacher must earn a bachelor’s degree and many states require them to major in the subject area they will teach. Most states require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test and then also pass an exam that proves their knowledge in the specialized subject that they would teach. Some private schools may not require a state license.

Some high school teachers also specialize in teaching for gifted, developmentally impaired students, or those that require additional accessibility needs such as those students who may be deaf or blind.

Job Description of a High School Teacher

A high school teacher prepares students to enter college or the job market after graduation. They develop lesson plans in the subject area they teach and evaluate a student’s strengths, abilities, and areas of improvement. They strive to motivate and challenge their students and may teach in large classroom settings or in small groups.

High school teachers grade each student’s work and meet with parents, staff, and other facility. They monitor the classroom and enforce school rules. Some teachers may coach sports or lead student clubs and these activities may require work hours outside of the classroom.

High School Teacher Career Video Transcript

Secondary school teachers help students prepare for life after high school, from taking college entrance exams to getting ready for a career. They specialize in teaching seventh to twelfth grade students a single subject, such as English, physical education, science, or music. Secondary school teachers must adapt to students’ varied abilities, including limited English proficiency, learning disabilities, and emotional or behavioral disorders.

During open periods in their day, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, and meet with other teachers and staff. They may post grades and assignments on school websites. Some high school teachers coach sports and advise clubs and other groups after school. Teaching can be challenging, especially where classes are large and important resources are in short supply. Teachers are often held accountable for students’ performance on standardized tests, and at times, must go to great lengths to engage students and maintain a respectful learning environment.

Communication skills, patience, and resourcefulness are important characteristics in this career. Teachers generally work a ten-month school year with a two-month break for summer, although some teach summer programs. A bachelor’s degree is required to enter this field, along with state certification or licensure to work at public schools. Candidates must also pass a test in their subject area. The payoff for teachers’ commitment is seeing students develop a strong foundation for their future.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, High School Teachers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 25-2031.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.