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High School History Teacher Requirements and Career Information

High school history teachers conduct classes on important historical events, people and places. They also engage students in the study of various related social sciences and provide instruction for conducting historical research and arguments. Most states require public high school history teachers to hold at least a bachelor's degree in history and teaching licensure.

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High School History Teacher Requirements

A career as a high school history teacher requires that candidates first complete a bachelor's degree program. Most prospective high school history teachers earn a bachelor's degree in history, which takes about four years of full-time study.

Students aware of their intent to teach high-school history enter into a secondary teacher education program during their undergraduate college career. Typically, students must wait until their sophomore year before entering this supplementary program. Teacher education programs prepare students by providing training in common teaching methods and classroom computer use in addition to including student-teaching internships. These teacher preparation programs are also available to postgraduates and take about one year to complete.

Upon completion of the bachelor's degree program, candidates must earn state licensure to teach high school history in a public school. Most state licensing requirements mandate that candidates hold a bachelor's degree, complete a teacher education program and pass a an exam showing competency in their teaching field.

For candidates who don't take a teacher preparation program during or after their undergraduate program, many states also offer an alternative licensure procedure that gives applicants a provisional license. Those with a provisional license can teach under supervision of a fully licensed teacher while taking education courses on the side. After one or two years, the provisional license will be upgraded to a full license if progress is deemed satisfactory.

High school history teachers for private high schools are not required to have licenses. However, many private high schools still require teachers to hold a bachelor's degree and prefer those who have also completed teacher preparation programs.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school teachers, including history teachers, held 1.1 million jobs in 2008 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that employment opportunities were expected to grow by nine percent between the years 2008-2018, though this growth would be dependent on various levels of education spending in each state and locality.

In May of 2009, the BLS indicated that secondary school teachers made a mean annual salary of $55,150. Many teachers were afforded the opportunity to earn extra income by advising, teaching or coaching extracurricular activities and by conducting summer classes. The majority of teachers, in 2008, belonged to a teachers' union, which was responsible for setting hours and wages.

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