How Do You Become a Middle School Teacher?

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Middle School TeacherIf you’re interested in guiding young adolescents on the difficult transition period of puberty, there are steps you must take to become a middle school teacher. Middle school teachers are licensed educators who build on elementary fundamentals to prepare students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade for tougher high school curriculum. Most middle school teachers will focus on planning and carrying out lessons for one subject, such as history, English, mathematics, or biology. Middle school teachers must monitor students’ progress and implement plans to overcome any specific learning challenges. Since the number of middle schoolers is expected to rise, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of middle school teachers will also grow by 12 percent through 2022 for 76,000 more jobs. Follow this step-by-step guide to reach your goals of filling this demand as a middle school teacher.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Education

All states in America will require that public middle school teachers have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college. Depending on the college chosen, middle school education may be included in elementary education programs. Other universities will provide bachelor’s degrees in middle school content areas, including math education, science education, and language arts education. Make certain that the teacher preparation program is fully accredited by the NCATE or CAEP for a quality curriculum. Baccalaureate degrees in education typically require extensive field practicum before culminating in a student teaching semester. Use this valuable experience to fine-tune your teaching skills and receive feedback from veteran teachers.

Pursue State Teaching Licensure

Unless you’re planning to teach at a parochial or private school, the next step after graduation is to become state licensed. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but all will require successfully completing a bachelor’s and student teaching. Most states will mandate that aspiring middle school teachers pass one or several Praxis exams, according to the Educational Testing Service. Passing a background check and being fingerprinted is also commonly required. Middle school teachers can be licensed for teaching grades K-6, 6-8, or 7-12 depending on the state. Although it’s not usually required, some middle school teachers may wish to become certified through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) also.

Consider Attending Graduate School

Certain states will require middle school teachers to receive a master’s degree within five years of their bachelor’s. In other states, attending an accredited graduate school is voluntary. Since meeting today’s high teaching standards is tough, it’s advised that all middle school teachers consider returning to school after gaining classroom experience. Many universities nationwide offer Master of Education (M.Ed.) or Master of Science (M.S.) programs specifically for middle school education. Over the course of two to three years, these master’s degrees give in-depth knowledge for working with adolescents. Having graduate-level training can help you advance into teacher leadership roles.

Related Resource: Educational Leadership

Overall, middle school teachers play a vital role in motivating children between the ages of 10 and 14 to learn across several content areas. The U.S. News and World Report has recognized middle school teachers for having America’s #5 best social services job. Middle school teachers bring home a decent average yearly salary of $57,620 while enjoying free summer months. If you follow these steps to become a middle school teacher, you’ll have the training necessary to promote optimal intellectual, social, and psychological development for our nation’s teens.

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