A high school math teacher has the rewarding job of teaching high school students the math skills that they will need for college or in their careers after graduation. Topics covered in high school math include algebra, geometry, calculus, probability and statistics. Although there are education and certification requirements in order to be a high school math teacher, many states have flexible programs to facilitate teachers getting into the classroom. Depending on state and school requirements, high schools are required to instruct students about 180 days of the year. Most high school math teachers do not teach year round, but there can be opportunities for summer instruction.
Work environment and job duties
The main duty of a high school math teacher is to ensure students have nailed skills and concepts, making them ready for college and career. Math is a key component in all states’ standardized testing and for college entrance exams.
High school math teachers have opportunities to work in either public or private schools where they teach students at various levels in classrooms during the school day. Teachers grade papers, create lesson plans and score tests in the hours that they are not instructing. Although there is less interaction with parents at the high school level than in younger grades, most schools still coordinate conferences between parents and teachers throughout the school year. Most high school math teachers work during the fall, winter and spring with the summer off. There may be an opportunity to teach high school math in the summer, but that depends on the school and its needs.
Requirements and education
The requirements for teaching high school math are different depending on which state you work in and whether the school is private or public. The minimum requirement is usually a bachelor’s degree with a focus on math. Depending on the school and the state, some teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field can be hired. However, the teacher must commit to earning a math certification within a certain number of years after hire. Private schools may not have the same requirements for degrees and certifications; however preference is often given to applicants who have an educational background in mathematics.
High school math teachers may be required to obtain a state license to teach in public schools. License requirements vary by state. There are also certificate programs in place to allow teachers into the classroom while working toward the license. Check with the State Board of Education in the state where you want to teach to confirm requirements.
Salary and career outlook
Teaching high school math offers a stable salary in a growing field. The U.S, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary of a high school teacher in May 2013 was $55,360 per year. The same report expects growth of 6 percent through 2022 for all high schools. This may be below the national average, but the percentage accounts for the increase in the ratio of students to a teacher. But accomplished high school math teachers are in demand by both public and private schools because they are difficult to find. So teaching high school math offers better job prospects than some other course areas.Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- "Designing High School Mathematics Courses Based on the Common Core State Standards," Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Apendix A
- "Occupational Outlook for High School Teachers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, High School Teachers
- "Math at Work: Using Numbers on the Job," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Fall 2012