how to become a high school history teacher

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how to become a high school history teacher

A history teacher instructs students on past events, whether it be limited to a specific region or around the world. History teachers work with students in a variety of grade levels, from middle school up through high school and in some cases, post-secondary schools.

On a typical day history teachers will:

Create lesson plans for upcoming classes
Provide lessons based on previously created lesson plans
Instruct students on a wide range of topics, from ancient Egypt to the Cuban Missile Crisis
Administer and grade exams
Perform other duties around the school, such as hall monitoring or covering detention
Related: Learn About Being a Teacher

Average history teacher salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for education, training and library occupations was $52,380 in May 2020, higher than the median annual wage of $41,950 for all occupations.

How much you earn is largely dependent on the grade level you teach, any advanced degrees you have and where the school is located. According to the BLS, teacher salaries range from $28,900 for teacher assistants to $62,870 per year for high school teachers and $80,560 per year for postsecondary teachers.

Employment in education, training and library occupations is projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 920,500 new jobs are projected to be added from 2020 to 2030.

How to become a history teacher
Here are five steps to follow to become a history teacher:

Earn a bachelor’s degree in history.
Complete a teacher preparation program.
Complete an internship.
Pass certification tests and apply for your teaching license.
Apply for open history teacher positions.

Earn a bachelor’s degree in history
Getting a bachelor’s degree, preferably in history, is the first requirement for becoming a history teacher. You will want to find a college or university that offers a respected history program, along with a state-approved teacher preparation program. These two programs will allow you to become well-versed in history topics and prepare you to become a teacher within that state.

As an undergraduate, you will likely spend the first two of your four years taking general education classes along with a few lower-level history courses. Once you enter your third year, you can apply for the teacher preparation program and declare your major as history. From there you will start to take more advanced level history courses along with classes about how to teach.

When choosing your history courses, you should aim to take classes that cover a wide range of subjects, rather than focusing on a specific time or culture. This will give you a baseline for covering multiple history subjects. If you decide later on that you want to teach a specific time or culture at the high school or university level, you can take more advanced courses as a part of your master’s degree.

Educators with a degree in history can also work in other settings, such as:

Libraries
Historical societies and museums
Test creation for education companies
Tutoring facilities
Historical preservation societies
Legal study agencies
Education program development departments

Complete a teacher preparation program
As a part of your undergraduate studies, you will be required to enroll in and pass a teacher preparation program. Through these courses, you will learn things such as:

How to improve your communication skills
How to create and implement lesson plans
Issues in education
Student assessment
Educational psychology
Child development
Most teacher preparation programs require a grade point average of 2.5 before acceptance into the program. Some also require an introductory course that you will need to pass before moving onto other courses.

Most of the courses in this program take place in a classroom setting at your university or college. However, many programs also require student teaching experiences, in which you will practice teaching under the supervision of an established teacher at another nearby school.

Complete an internship
The student teaching experience is also known as an internship. Through the internship you can learn more about what it’s like to be a teacher, gain valuable teaching experience and practice some of the core responsibilities of being a teacher.

To complete this internship, your college or university will assign you to a teacher from a nearby school. They will match you up with someone based on the age of the students you are looking to teach along with the course subject. Therefore, students looking to become history teachers will get assigned to history or social studies teachers.

You will then spend several months being an active member of that teacher’s classroom, aiding students, drawing up lesson plans and presenting lessons to the class. The teacher will be there to answer any questions you may have, provide you with advice and give you an evaluation at the end of the semester.

Successfully completing and getting a good evaluation of your student-teacher experience are prerequisites to graduation.

Pass certification tests and apply for your teaching license
Once you have completed your undergraduate studies, you must pass state-approved certifications. These are a series of tests required by your state that are used to demonstrate your readiness to teach. Each state has different tests and requirements, so you will want to research the standards within the state where you want to teach.

Two of the most widely used certification tests are the National Evaluation Series and the Praxis Series. Which test you need to take, and how well you need to do on each, is determined by your state. Upon passing these tests, you will be eligible to receive your teacher certification from your state. You must submit an application to your state, which will then review it and issue your state’s teaching license.

Apply for open history teacher positions
After you have your teaching license, you’re ready to start searching for open jobs. You will want to look for history teaching positions within the age group you’d like to teach. Your college or university likely has a job placement service that can help you find and apply for open positions.

However, most schools like to hire teachers with experience, making it more challenging for new graduates to get a job. If you’re unable to find a full-time position, you should look for positions that allow you to gain experience.

For example, some schools hire paraprofessionals. Paraprofessionals aid teachers and can offer one-on-one instruction to students. Working as a paraprofessional gives you more practice in working with students, and should a full-time position open up within your school district, you will have a better chance of getting it.

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