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How do I Become a History Teacher?

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  • Written By: Amy Weekley
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 17 May 2018
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Individuals who want to become a history teacher in the United States will need to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in education with a focus on history. You will also need to pass certain exams before receiving a teaching license. Degree programs vary depending on the specific college or university you attend, and different states have different licensing regulations. There are some general guidelines that you will have to follow in order to become a history teacher in any state.

A Bachelor of Arts degree in education is a four-year college degree. You will need to complete a liberal arts requirement, which may vary according to your particular program. Liberal arts courses generally include one or two semesters of a foreign language as well as math, English, and the sciences. You will also need to complete core educational coursework, including educational psychology, human development, and classroom management. These courses will center on adolescent education, because history teachers are licensed to teach in grades seven through 12.

In addition, you will need to take a series of courses in various aspects of history, including American history and world history, as well as American government. At least one semester of classroom observation is required, as well as one semester of student teaching under the supervision of a working history teacher. Most degree programs have a minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement in order to earn a degree, typically a 3.0 or above.

You will also need to pass the PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II exams in order to become a history teacher. These standardized exams are generally taken near the end of your degree coursework, and are administered independently of your degree program. The PRAXIS I tests basic skills in reading, writing, and math; the PRAXIS II is more specialized according to your specific subject focus. Some states require prospective teachers to pass state-specific exams instead of the PRAXIS exams. Your college or university will have information regarding which tests you need to take for licensure.

After you have become a history teacher, you will also be subject to the PRAXIS III during your first year of teaching – a representative of the licensing board observes your class and interviews you before and after the observation. Many school districts also require continuing education for teachers, and some require that teachers achieve a master's degree to maintain employment. Courses for continuing education are typically paid for by the school district in which you are employed.

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