History Teacher: Educational Requirements

History teachers provide students with a broad exposure to historical events and processes as well as access to various threads of thought from antiquity through the present day. They're often employed in junior high and high schools. Becoming a history teacher generally entails completion of a bachelor's degree program in history with a teacher education component.

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Educational Requirements for History Teachers

Bachelor's Degree in History Education

While history teachers who do not hold degrees occasionally find employment in private schools, history teachers in public schools are required to hold four-year degrees that combine history and teacher education. Aspiring teachers may benefit from attending programs accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

History Curriculum

History teacher education programs cover various cultures and time periods, such as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Some programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of interest, like American history. Additionally, programs may require students to complete a writing requirement, such as one or more papers on a historical time period or development.

Teacher Education Curriculum

Aside from courses in history, students must complete coursework to prepare them for classroom instruction. These courses typically fulfill state teacher credentialing requirements and may cover topics in curriculum development and teaching methods. Some states also require teacher education programs to include technology training that familiarizes aspiring teachers with the use of computers in classroom instruction.

Most teacher education programs also require aspiring teachers to complete student-teacher internships. These opportunities allow prospective history teachers to design curricula and experiment with instructional techniques under the supervision of licensed instructors.

Alternative Programs

In order to compensate for understaffing in some subjects, state governments have developed alternative programs to help college graduates gain the necessary skills to teach in public schools. For example, some states allow graduates of history degree programs to teach while taking evening classes to fulfill educational requirements. Others allow aspiring teachers to enroll in full-time, one to two semester programs that consist of the necessary teacher education coursework.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for junior high school history teachers is expected to increase by 17% from 2010 to 2020, which is on par with the national average for all jobs. The job growth percentage rate for high school history teachers is estimated to be slower than the national average, with only a 7% increase during the same time period (www.bls.gov). In May 2012, the BLS reports that junior high history teachers earned a median annual salary of $53,430, while high school history teachers earned a median salary of $55,050 per year.

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