Math Teacher Requirements and Career Information

Math teachers require some formal education. Learn about the degree requirements and curriculum as well as the job duties, career and licensing information to see if this is the right choice for you.

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Essential Information

Math teachers educate students at all levels, from elementary school through high school. In general, aspiring math teachers can take one of several pathways toward licensing through either undergraduate or graduate schooling. These teachers may earn either a bachelor's or master's degree in education with a specialty in math, or a degree in mathematics with student-teacher training.

Career Title Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers Middle School Teachers High School Teachers
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Licensing or Certification Required in public schools Required in public schools Required in public schools
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 12% 12% 6%
Median Annual Salary (May 2013)* $53,590 $53,940 $55,360

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements and Career Information for Math Teachers

Math teachers are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Many schools with education programs have specific programs for students wishing to become a math teacher. These are often offered as mathematics teaching degrees and consist of several levels of math courses and pedagogical study.

In many education programs, students are often required to student-teach at a local elementary or high school during their final year of study. Many schools allow students to choose their age and grade group that will be taught. Students can earn their degree for teaching math for students in grades 5-9 or those in grades 5-12.

Students interested in teaching math may earn a degree in math with a minor in education or a degree in education with a minor in math. Students who haven't yet earned their math education degree can earn a master's degree or graduate certificate in education with an emphasis on mathematics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment of elementary and middle school teachers is expected to grow 12% over the 2012-2022 decade. High school teachers can expect employment growth rates of 6% during the same time period.

Math teachers who wish to teach at the university level must earn doctoral degree in math, which includes upper-level courses in algebra, trigonometry and logic, among other levels of arithmetic. While coursework is an important part of graduate-level study, students must devote a significant portion of their studies to completing a dissertation or thesis project under the advisement of a faculty member.

Curriculum

Teacher training courses often include child psychology, introductions to education, education psychology and using technology in the classroom, along with education seminars and at least one semester of student teaching. Math courses include algebra, geometry, probability and statistics. Students who've taken a special math education curriculum take classes in specifically teaching mathematics at the elementary or secondary levels. Skills learned in these courses include lesson planning and using modern technology toward math in the classroom.

Licensing Information

Requirements for licensure differ based on the state, although all states require teachers to become licensed. (Teachers working in private schools may not need to obtain a license.) Most states require that aspiring educators take the Praxis Series examinations, written exams testing basic skills required by all educators like language and social skills.

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