Steps to Become A History Teacher

Employed by middle and high schools as well as colleges, history teachers teach students about major events (political and otherwise) that took place in the past. Imparting knowledge to the students is a huge responsibility that requires patience, open-mindedness and strong communication ability. 

If you feel you have what it takes to become a good history teacher, then this guide includes the tips to help you get started. Before talking about the journey, however, let’s first understand the role of a history teacher in more detail.

What Does a History Teacher Do?

In your role as a history teacher, you will be teaching students about significant historical events as well as the relationships between them. Being able to understand how one occurrence led to another is an important element of learning about history. This is what your aim should be with your lesson plans and instructional methods.  

The job outlook for teachers looks fairly rosy in the coming years. As per information made available by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 4% growth in employment opportunities for high school teachers between 2018 and 2028. So, if you want to become a teacher and especially a history teacher, this is a good time to pursue that goal.

Steps to Become a History Teacher in the US

Follow the process outlined below to become a history teacher in America.

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor’s Degree in the Subject

Aspiring history teachers usually start off by earning an undergraduate degree in the field. To that end, you can either go for a Bachelor’s in History or a Bachelor’s in Education with a minor in History. Degree programs in history usually focus on US and world history while also including courses in civics, geography and economics. On the other hand, an undergraduate degree in education is centered on teaching strategies and lesson planning along with the minor courses in US and world history.  

Step 2: Undergo Teacher Training

During your studies, you must also undergo a teacher training program to learn about student assessment, child development, communication, classroom management and instructional techniques. Go for an accredited program (not mandatory) if possible to enhance your chances of employment in the future.

The Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) are the two major accrediting bodies for teacher training/education programs. Moreover, you should also look for substitute teaching positions during your studies to further enhance your resume for the future.

Step 3: Earn a Teaching License

After getting your undergraduate degree and undergoing teacher training, you will need to apply for your teaching license. All states have their own Boards of Education that oversee matters related to teacher certifications. You will have to sit for and pass your state’s licensing exam to become a certified teacher.

Step 4: Complete Your Master’s Degree

While some states and individual employers may allow you to teach without a Master’s degree, others will make it mandatory to get one. In any case, it is a good idea to complete your Master’s in History because it will help you land better-paying positions and enhance your overall employability in the field.

How Much Does a History Teacher Earn in the US?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Postsecondary History Teachers in the country earned $84,210 in annual mean wage in 2019. The top-paying positions along with the most number of jobs in the field were in Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools. History teachers working in this sector had an annual mean wage of $85,810.

California was the state with the highest salaries. It had an annual mean income of $117,870. Rhode Island and District of Columbia were the next best paymasters with annual mean salaries of $113,790 and $113,770 respectively.    

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