Considering a career as a middle school science teacher? Middle school teaching can be challenging work, but work of great importance, especially in the field of science. This is a key time for students who are refining their academic skills, forming opinions about the world around them, and transitioning from the relative ease of elementary school to the challenging world of high school. Teaching science at the middle school level can be a chance to ignite excitement and enthusiasm for learning about the natural world and teach young people to become responsible stewards for our environment for years to come.
Once you’ve made the decision to take the leap towards a career in middle school science, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree and begin working towards your teacher certification. Many school districts accept teachers who are certified through a non-traditional program. This means that even if you have a degree in a non-education field, you may be eligible to teach while completing a certification course either at a local university or through an accredited online program. Middle school teachers will usually need to take at least one national, standardized test in their subject area. Study guides for these tests are usually available online, and sometimes you can even find online courses designed to help you prepare for these assessments. A high score can give you an edge in the hiring process, and will also indicate your level of preparation for this exciting career field.
Finding Resources: Professional Development and Certification
As you look for programs to support you in your goal of becoming a middle school science teacher, check with the requirements in your local district or state to see what you’ll need to do in order to be qualified for the classroom. Several online options are available for studying the key courses you’ll need in order to be certified, from specific content in life sciences, physical sciences, and earth sciences, to educational psychology classes designed to improve your knowledge of the needs of adolescent learners.
After securing a job, it’s wise to stay in the loop and search the web for professional development opportunities to improve your teaching practice and keep yourself open to new ideas to employ in your classroom. There are many teacher training opportunities that occur online and in person during the summer months, so consider taking a working vacation during your first year as a teacher to become the very best educator you can be.
Looking Ahead: Career Prospects
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median middle school teacher salary in 2010 was $51,960. The BLS also reports that the number of available middle school teaching jobs are expected to grow as much as 17% by 2020, making this a solid prospect for young people at the start of their careers.