How to Become a High School Physics Teacher

How to Become  a High School Physics Teacher

If you have a profound understanding of physics and want to share that knowledge with the world, you should consider a career in teaching high school physics. Many high school students struggle with physics concepts and theories, and understanding them is necessary in order to graduate. An instructor that has a comprehensive knowledge of Newtonian forces, thermodynamics, electricity and theories of energy exertion and conservation can create a fertile learning ground for their students.

What do high school physics teachers do?
High school physics teachers prepare their students for life after graduation, whether that is pre-engineering courses in college or a relevant field in the workforce. They plan, develop and implement comprehensive lessons throughout the school year. Many teachers create lessons that revolve around only conceptual rather than applied physics. Students first learn how to do basic physics calculations using algebraic equations. Then they progress to kinetic and potential energy, where they discuss the many aspects of motion, including displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration.

Once students grasp the foundation of physics, teachers can continue in a variety of directions. But the logical progression of a curriculum would continue with Newtonian laws of motion. Educators would show how to calculate trajectory, determine velocity and acceleration and identify the different forces acting upon an object. Other major topics covered in physics curricula include torque, electricity, the laws of thermodynamics and magnetic forces. 

What qualifications should a high school physics teacher have?
Many high school physics instructors have a bachelor's degree in physics as well as a certificate that allows them to teach in the U.S. However, earning your master's or doctorate degree can make you even more marketable and allow you to earn higher wages. You can continue to teach with your bachelor's while earning your graduate degree online.

Why should I pursue a career as a high school physics teacher?
There are many reasons why someone would want to pursue a career in teaching high school physics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for high school teachers is expected to grow 7 percent through 2020. Aside from the positive outlook on job growth, teachers enjoy many professional benefits, like health insurance and a strong pension. They also work a 10-month school year and enjoy spring and winter breaks, and 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

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