How to Become a High School Chemistry Teacher

If you've pursued a career in teaching, you know that nothing can really compare to watching students learn and "get" the course material. One of the most interesting, but often challenging courses is chemistry. If you are a person who has a profound love for molecules and chemical changes, and is also a great communicator, perhaps you should consider becoming a chemistry teacher.

What do chemistry teachers do?
High school chemistry teachers prepare their students for life after graduation - whether that is college chemistry or a path straight into the workforce. They plan lessons that cover the entire spectrum of the science. They often begin with its most basic components: atoms, molecules and elements. Some teachers like to discuss chemical bonds - the ones in nature as well as the ones produced in a laboratory - and how certain chemicals react to one another. After they teach chemical bonds, they logically progress to measurement systems and the formulas and calculations chemists use to determine mass of products and reactants.

From there, high school chemistry teachers will show the class how acids and bases interact, how heat is exchanged during chemical reactions, the basics of organic and inorganic chemistry, and the science behind powerful, revolutionary technology such as nuclear reactors and carbon dating.

What type of degree should I earn?
High school chemistry teachers usually have a bachelor's in chemistry as well as a teacher's license or certificate that allows them to teach in the U.S. Ideally, a master's or doctorate degree makes you more marketable to schools. You can continue to teach with your bachelor's and still earn a master's degree by taking classes online.

Why should I pursue a career in high school chemistry?
There are many reasons why people pursue teaching chemistry. Employment for teachers is expected to grow 7 percent through 2020, and the ratio of students to teachers is projected to decline according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Aside from the positive outlook on job growth, teachers enjoy many professional benefits like health insurance and a pension. They work a 10-month school year and enjoy spring and winter breaks. Teachers are also paid well. The average salary for high school teachers is $53,300. 

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_teachers

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