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How Do I Become a Chemistry Teacher?

A chemical experiment in progress.
A chemical reaction.
A chemical solution.
A chemistry student works in a lab.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A person who wants to become a chemistry teacher should start by checking the requirements for teaching in his jurisdiction. Different educational authorities may have unique standards for chemistry teachers. Most jurisdictions, however, have at least a few things in common. They include requirements for college degrees, teacher training, and licensing. In most places, a person who wants to become a chemistry teacher needs at least a bachelor’s degree, successful completion of a teacher preparation program, and a teaching license or certificate that is valid in his jurisdiction.

High school is usually a required first stop for a person who wants to become a chemistry teacher. A General Educational Development (GED) credential may also prove acceptable for admission into college, however. Once enrolled in college, a prospective chemistry teacher has three basic paths he may take. He may pursue an education degree with a minor in chemistry, a chemistry degree, or a chemistry degree with a minor in education.

Generally, elementary and middle schools hire teachers to teach more than one subject, so an education degree may be a better choice for someone hoping to teach in such grades. To teach high school, however, a prospective teacher may need a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. There are some places in which a teacher may begin without a degree in either education or chemistry, but a significant number of chemistry and education credits may be required in addition to a degree in the chosen major.

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In some places, chemistry teachers are required to go beyond bachelor’s degrees, earning master’s degrees instead. Even when this is not required, pursuing an advanced degree can be a wise choice. A teacher with an advanced degree may make a more attractive job candidate and have more opportunity for advancement. Additionally, those who want to teach college may need doctoral degrees to qualify.

Typically, a person who wants to become a chemistry teacher has to participate in some sort of teacher preparation program. These programs help prepare a teacher to work with students in a classroom setting. Usually, such training programs also include the chance for aspiring teachers to observe seasoned teachers at work and gain hands-on experience by working in a classroom as a student teacher.

To obtain licensing, a prospective chemistry teacher usually completes an application with the presiding educational authority and submits required documentation of his credentials. He usually also has to take teaching exams prior to licensing. In many places, a background check is required as well. College professors don’t have to secure licensing on order to teach.

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