Science teachers spend much of their time working with students in a classroom laboratory setting.
Science teachers educate young, inquisitive minds about molecules, photosynthesis, human anatomy and science-related topics from biology to paleontology. They are employed by elementary schools and high schools around the country in public and private institutions. Science teachers design hands-on projects and activities, in addition to teaching the essential concepts and lessons outlined in the textbook. A science teacher’s education begins with a college degree in a scientific field.
Nearly all science teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field, such as biology, geology, chemistry, physics or astronomy. A bachelor of science degree typically takes four years to complete and might require a capstone research project or thesis. In addition to courses in their chosen major’s department, students must complete the core requirements of the college or university bachelor’s degree program. These courses include calculus, English, expository writing, social studies and statistics.
Many prospective science teachers earn master’s degrees in education or a science field. Many schools require a master’s for science teaching positions, and even those that don’t still look favorably on candidates who have done graduate-level work in the field. According to the National Science Teachers Association, more than half of all science teacher’s have a master’s degree. Check with your state’s department of education or with specific schools where you’re applying for a job to see if a master’s is required at this stage in your career.
Most public school science teachers must complete a teacher certification program. The program typically includes a student teaching experience as well as coursework in pedagogy, classroom management and teaching-related subjects. Students typically observe more experienced teachers and receive feedback on their own teaching through supervised classes. Teacher certification requirements vary from state to state, so check with your state’s department of education for specific requirements.
Skills and Qualities
Science teachers must first and foremost have a love of learning and teaching young people. They must be charismatic, enthusiastic individuals who inspire learning, keep a class full of children engaged and teach the required material. Science teachers need to relate to children and young adults as a group and on an individual basis. They should also be creative and come up with engaging lessons plans, projects and activities for their students.