Computer Science Teacher: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Computer science teachers educate students on how computers work, from the basic science and mathematics behind their operation to the actual hardware and the software built on those foundations. Education and career requirements vary depending on the level at which one is teaching, but a minimum of a bachelor's degree and a state teaching license is typically required.
Computer science teachers are responsible for instructing computer science to students at both high school and college levels. They guide and assist students in their entire learning experience, including welcoming them to the class, creating a curriculum and presenting all class information. Computer science teachers specifically teach their students about computer science, which is the study of how computer process and store information. They teach students to write computer programs, algorithms and even programming languages; computer systems design is also covered.
Preparing the curriculum and presenting the material to his or her class is one of the main duties of a teacher. Computer science teachers complete many other general tasks as well, such as tracking attendance, assigning homework, grading assignments, giving feedback and communicating effectively with students at all levels of technological understanding. Other tasks that teachers may complete include holding office hours, ensuring that class materials are up to date, reviewing curriculum and demonstrating professionalism in dealing with others. Computer science teachers at a high school may also be responsible for overseeing a homeroom or study hall.
Prospective teachers generally start their education path by earning a bachelor's degree in either education. Potential computer science teachers may also earn a bachelor's degree in computer science and take teacher preparation courses. Most undergraduate teaching programs also require a student teaching experience.
All secondary education teachers in public institutions must be licensed by the state in which they will teach. All 50 states have specific requirements regarding teacher licensure, which usually include a bachelor's degree and a specific amount of time spent in teacher education courses. States may also require that specific competencies must be tested, such as reading and writing, before a teacher may be licensed. Teachers may also choose to earn a voluntary professional certification from an organization such as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Post-secondary computer science teachers typically do not face the same licensing requirements as high school level teachers do, but most colleges hire only teachers with doctoral degrees or, in the case of 2-year institutions, master's degrees for full-time teaching positions.
Salary Information and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) predicts that jobs will increase by 6% for high school teachers and 19% for postsecondary teachers between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for high school teachers was $55,050 as of May 2012, and the median for postsecondary teachers was $68,970 at that same time.
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