Many people fondly remember one of their math teachers, especially if the teacher helped influence their career choice later on in life. As a math teacher, you will help students develop higher thinking abilities, abstract reasoning and problem-solving techniques. Although the salary is not always high and the job may sometimes involve a lot of stress, being a math teacher can be a rewarding choice.
Depending on your state's requirements, the type of education you need to be a math teacher may vary. However, in general you will need a bachelor's degree in mathematics, although some states will accept a different degree with a math certification. You will also need to take a training program from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and you may need a state-specific teaching certificate. Private schools may have different requirements, but all typically require a bachelor's degree, at least.
As a math teacher, you will need to teach your students according to your school's or state's required curriculum. Your duties will include teaching students during the day, creating lesson plans, grading papers and tests, disciplining students and preparing students for any required assessment exams. You will also need to meet with parents on occasion.
Math is a broad topic. You may teach remedial math for students who didn't catch the basics in elementary school or middle school. You might also teach pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry or calculus.
You will work indoors and, for most schools, your office will be your classroom. Some schools give teachers a private office to grade papers and meet with students. The job may be frustrating if you have to deal with difficult or violent students or if your workload is too heavy. If you work in a private school, your classroom size is likely to be smaller.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for all high school teachers is $52,230 a year as of 2010. High school teaching jobs will have a slower employment growth rate than the national average -- only about 7 percent through 2020. Increases in enrollment and larger-sized classrooms will play a role in the slower growth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts.
2016 Salary Information for High School Teachers
High school teachers earned a median annual salary of $58,030 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, high school teachers earned a 25th percentile salary of $46,110, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $74,160, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,018,700 people were employed in the U.S. as high school teachers.
- State University: Mathematics Teacher Job Description
- Concordia University: High School Math Teacher - Education, Job and Salary Information
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: High School Teachers
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: High School Teachers
- Career Trend: High School Teachers
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.