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How do I Become a Physics Teacher?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The steps required to become a physics teacher depend a great deal upon your location. A physics teacher is someone who teaches physical sciences, also known as physics, to students, typically at a high school or college. In the United States (US) for example, if you wish to become a physics teacher at a public high school, you will need to find out the requirements for teachers in the state you wish to teach in. Though different states may have different specific requirements, general requirements would include a bachelor’s degree in physics, with an emphasis on physics teacher education, and passing the test for state certification to teach.

The bachelor’s degree is a four-year program that involves extensive science classes, especially physics classes, as well as classes specifically aimed at teaching you how to teach science to others. To become a physics teacher, you should have a passion for physics and a desire to pass on that knowledge to your future students. Some states that are in special need of physics instructors may be willing to accept new teachers with a bachelor’s in physics who did not take classes in teaching science. In such a situation, you will often be required to take those classes during your first few years of teaching.

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You will also need to pass state certification testing to become a physics teacher at a high school level. These tests are often similar among states and a variety of preparatory guides and study books can be found for these tests to help prepare you for certification. Some states will accept a teacher who is certified in another state on good faith, but others may require you to become certified again if you move to a new state, so you should be prepared for either possibility.

If you wish to become a physics teacher at a college or university, you will not have to worry about taking classes on teaching physics or state certification. You will, however, likely need a master’s degree or PhD in physics, often with a specialization in a certain field, which can take six or more years to complete. Positions in teaching at a university may also have a great deal more competition than those in secondary education, where more teachers are often needed.

To become a physics teacher in the United Kingdom (UK) a candidate must often have an undergraduate degree as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). A PGCE is gained through a one-year course that can be completed after completion of an undergraduate degree, and certifies someone in the UK to become a teacher. Completion of a PGCE in England or Wales typically also accompanies gaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which is also required to teach in many areas of the UK. While a PGCE from a university in Ireland may not include gaining QTS, many teachers who transfer from Ireland to England or Wales are often given QTS through good faith. Other countries often have similar requirements, and these types of certification can be recognized between nations for transferring teachers.

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wiesen
Post 2

That does seem like a somewhat odd picture with this one. But the physics teachers I have had were rather close to mad scientists in some ways. But that just made them and their classes more fun.

anon100460
Post 1

Thank you for the information on how to become a physics teacher in the US and UK. The picture is funny but not sure if so good PR for the profession.

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