Teachers are responsible for educating children, typically from the ages of five to 18. There are several categories of teachers, including high school teachers, elementary teachers, and special education teachers. However, there are many responsibilities that all teachers have in common. Most teachers, regardless of their specialty, are responsible for planning lessons, assessing students' abilities, and instructing students on an individual and group basis.
Some teachers may be required to work with various grade levels throughout the day. Other teachers work only with a certain age group. In some school systems, students are assigned to teachers based upon their abilities rather than their age. All teachers must be prepared to help students improve their abilities, and they should expect to collaborate with other education professionals, such as academic counselors.
Teacher Job Education Requirements
Teachers are required to have a bachelor's degree, and public school teachers must also have state-issued certification. While pursuing their degree, prospective teachers learn how to present information to students and how to address the needs of students with varying abilities and backgrounds. Often, the coursework required to become a teacher includes classroom study and fieldwork such as student teaching. In some states, teachers, particularly high school teachers, are required to pursue and complete a master's degree after earning their teaching certification. While teachers at private schools do not have to meet state requirements, private schools still typically seek teachers with bachelor's degrees and specialization in the subject they intend to teach. Teachers with a master's degree and at least five years of experience may also be eligible for a promotion to the position of Professor.
Teacher Job Market
Employment opportunities for teachers are expected to grow six percent to 12 percent by 2022. Teachers who specialize in special education and English as a Second Language (ESL) are expected to see further growth in job opportunities during this same time. However, there is a wide variation of job opportunities by region. While the Northwest has a surplus of teachers, the Southeast is experiencing a shortage. As a general rule, school districts in urban and rural settings typically offer more employment opportunities than those in suburban settings.
Teacher Job Salary Information
The median annual wage for teachers was about $53,000 in 2012. The lowest ten percent of teachers earned $36,000, while the top ten percent earned over $80,000. Generally, teachers work during school hours, and many work several hours before and after the students are present. Some teachers serve as coaches or club advisors after school, and they may meet with parents or colleagues before or after school hours. Teachers are also often required to spend time outside of school hours grading papers and preparing lesson plans.