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Teachers: Career, Salary and Education Information
Career Profile: What do Teachers do?
Tasked with the responsibility for educating the next generation of students, teachers enjoy a career with a real impact. Teachers can be found at the preschool through secondary level, working in classroom settings that range from private high schools to online elementary schools and beyond. While teachers of younger students typically focus on a general education, middle and secondary school teachers often specialize in a certain subject, such as math, languages, or science.
Teachers can use a variety of approaches to teach their students. Hands-on learning may involve art, science materials, or computers. Group work encourages students to work in teams, while teachers facilitate the learning process through discussion and one-on-one feedback.
A Day in the Life of a Teacher
The individual workload for teachers depends mostly on the school's location and the age of the students. Leadership in individual school systems and educational benchmarks can increase the level of regulation on the classroom, which can be frustrating to teachers. Some schools allow teachers to have mentors and team-teaching opportunities, but most teachers work alone with a changing group of students.
Teacher Training and Education
Many aspiring teachers go back to school to earn their teaching certificate after a bachelor's degree and years in the workforce. For teachers focusing on a specific subject, such as math, a related bachelor's degree is recommended. Alternative licensure programs are also available for teachers with a college degree in other fields.
Licensure requirements vary by state and preschool teachers may not need a bachelor's degree. Those with bachelor's degrees can also qualify to work in kindergarten through grade 3 as well. Teaching in higher grades typically results in higher pay, and teachers in lower grades may choose to advance, a process that may require additional certification. Some states require teachers to complete a master's degree within a specified period after they begin teaching.
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Teacher Employment & Outlook
About four million teachers were employed nationwide in 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of that number, about 1.5 million were elementary school teachers, 1.1 million were secondary school teachers, 674,000 were middle school teachers, 437,000 were preschool teachers, and 170,000 were kindergarten teachers.
Employment for teachers is generally distributed along the same areas as nationwide population, and career growth is expected to be about as fast as the average for all occupations. States in the South and West projected to see the largest population growth may also see the fastest growth in terms of teacher employment. Overall, about 479,000 jobs are estimated to be created through 2016.
Typical Teacher Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports mean annual wages for preschool teachers at $25,800 in 2007. That same year, kindergarten teachers earned $47,750, elementary school teachers earned $50,040, middle school teachers earned $50,630, and secondary school teachers earned $52,450. Acting as a mentor or earning a master's degree typically results in a raise in pay.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Teachers
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