How do I Become a Science Teacher?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A science teacher is typically a person teaching in the K-12 environment, most typically working at middle schools or high schools. Some grammar schools hire science experts who work with younger students (K-6) for a few hours a week so kids can have hands-on lab time. In most instances, science teachers are credentialed teachers, or have met all qualifications for being a teaching in their specific region.

An enthusiasm for teaching kids is essential when becoming a science teacher.
An enthusiasm for teaching kids is essential when becoming a science teacher.

The majority of people who want to become a science teacher are very enthusiastic about science and learning may start well before any formal college education. Even very young students thinking of this path might check out and read science books from libraries, find science friendly sites on the Internet, and watch the large number of excellent documentaries that deal with scientific subjects. Most kids will feel a pull in one a direction or another and might favor earth sciences, astronomy, life sciences or other specialties as they pursue their hobby.

High school grades may be very important for the student who would like to become a science teacher. Many high schools have advanced placement classes where students can get college credits for more extensive study. The person bent on studying the sciences should attempt these credits in Trigonometry, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. This offers a running start and a chance to begin studying more advanced science at the college level. Students who don’t have this option can still do very well with good grades in academic versions of these classes.

In college, students will have to determine a major. This could be variable for the person who wants to become a science teacher. The major should be in science and different types might be open like biology, chemistry, geology, or even general topics like life or earth sciences. Studies should represent a broad base of knowledge in virtually anything a person who will become a science teacher might teach, and even introductory classes may be enough to gain familiarity in a topic so that it can be taught well.

Some regions have very few requirements to get a credential to become a science teacher or any other kind of instructor. Others require that people attend school for a year or two more to receive a credential. This extra time can be useful for learning ways to design classes, teach to different kinds of students, figure out curriculum, and evaluate students. Many programs also have a teacher practice or practicum component.

Once a credential is earned, people can begin applying for jobs to become a science teacher. There can be a bit of prejudice toward the inexperienced teacher in competitive schools. Applicants might want to consider urban environments, even if these are “tougher” schools. Such schools may be very enthusiastic about hiring anyone with a passion for science. Additionally certain programs may help cut down on student loan debt, if people commit to teaching in “at risk” schools for a few years.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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