History Teachers: Job Description, Salary Info, and Requirements

Becoming a history teacher is generally done through an undergraduate degree program. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Essential Information

Teaching history at the middle school and high school level requires at least a bachelor's degree in education and teaching certificate. Aspiring history teachers are encouraged to double major or minor in history, or complete an education degree that offers history as a concentration. Additionally, those who plan to teach in a public school need to be licensed, which requires completion of student teaching, passing state certification exams and applying for a teaching license from the state board of education. Postsecondary history teachers need a master's or doctoral degree.

Career TitlesMiddle School TeacherHigh School TeacherPostsecondary Teacher
Required EducationBachelor's degreeBachelor's degreeMaster's or Doctoral degree
Other RequirementsState license or certificationState license or certificationN/A
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022), All Teachers*12%6%19%
Average Salary (2013)*All teachers: $56,630All teachers: $58,260$74,110

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Options

History teachers guide students through the study of events in the distant and near past. Middle and high school history teachers teach about multiple time periods, while college instructors often focus on a specific era.

Middle School History Teacher

Middle school history teachers may follow a state or district curriculum but usually create their own lesson plans, assignments and exams. In addition to leading classes, these teachers attend to a number of administrative tasks. These tasks include grading tests and essays, assigning overall grades and meeting with the parents to discuss student performance.

Middle school teachers as a group averaged $56,630 annually in 2013. The BLS projected 12 percent growth in middle school teaching positions from 2012-2022.

High School History Teacher

High school history teachers impart factual knowledge and a conceptual understanding of historical events to a class of students. History teachers may follow a state or district curriculum. They also meet with school administrators to discuss their own performance, issues affecting their working environment and the implementation of new teaching methods.

In 2013, all high school teachers earned an average salary of $58,260. The BLS projected six percent growth in all secondary school teaching positions over the 2012-2022 time period. Although job growth is strong, more openings may be in high-need areas like math, science and special education.

Postsecondary History Teacher

At the postsecondary level, history teachers are usually called professors. They lecture, lead seminars and mentor graduate students. They specialize in a specific area and have typically completed original research in their field.

Postsecondary history teachers usually hold a doctoral degree in history. Master's degree holders may be hired by community colleges. Most postsecondary history instructors don't have formal training in education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), postsecondary history teachers earned an average salary of $74,110 in 2013. The BLS projected 19 percent job growth among postsecondary teachers for the years from 2012-2022. This growth was expected to be driven by increased college enrollment as well as retirements in the industry.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics