Physical science teachers learn lab skills for classroom safety.
Physical science teachers may lead students in chemistry experiments, educate kids about the complexities of physics or help children understand the earth’s weather patterns and ocean systems. Becoming a physical science teacher requires specific education and practical training experiences. Understanding what experiences you’ll need to become a physical science teacher will help you determine whether it’s the right career path for you.
Physical science teachers must earn a college degree before entering their chosen field. Completing a four-year degree in physical science is appropriate preparation for becoming a physical science teacher. Examples of relevant majors related to physical science include geology, chemistry and physics. Potential teachers with a strong science background (from a previous career or personal hobby, for example) may choose to complete their undergraduate degree in other study areas, including education, public policy or communications, to help stand out from colleagues when entering the job market.
Physical science teachers must complete teacher training experience before working professionally in schools. Most training programs will offer a general science credential for middle school and high school teachers, so your academic teacher preparation will include both physical and life science components. Budding science teachers learn strategies and techniques for teaching science to kids, including scientific vocabulary development and incorporating supplementary materials such as technology, current science journals and expert scientist guest speakers.
Academic preparation helps physical science teachers understand appropriate teaching techniques, but there’s nothing like the student teaching experience. Since your academic preparation includes both physical and life sciences, request student teacher placements in physical sciences to increase your specialization in this field. Completing student teaching assignments helps physical science teachers learn skills related to classroom management, lab safety and helping students lacking confidence in science settings to overcome doubts and succeed in science.
Physical science teachers must complete a state-sponsored competency exam before working in the classroom as a certified teacher. Some teacher training programs require candidates to pass the competency exam prior to entering their course; others permit students to pass at any point throughout the teacher training program. The competency exam will test both physical and life sciences, so brush up on life sciences before sitting the test.
Most new teachers receive a preliminary credential that must be “cleared” within a specified amount of time to make that certification permanent. Physical science teachers can complete these requirements through a district-sponsored program, online or via a local college or university, depending on location. You’ll complete additional coursework, create portfolios related to physical science and develop specified coursework plans for targeted students requiring additional assistance in science education.