Middle school and high school teachers can work at public, private or Department of Defense Education Activity, or DoDEA, schools. Virtual high schools, like the DoDEA Virtual High School, may be another option for you to consider.
Teachers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued certification or license. They may also need to complete a teacher preparation program and have supervised experience in teaching. You can find the licensure requirements for your current or future location by using the CareerOneStop License Finder tool.
If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $1,000. Learn more. In addition, visit the Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.
The median pay for middle school teachers is $57,720 per year and projected growth about average at 8 percent. Middle school teachers assist students in building on fundamentals to prepare them for high school. They usually specialize in specific subjects taught at this level, such as English, language arts, math, science, social science, foreign language or theater. Students change classrooms several times a day to attend lessons in different subjects, so middle school teachers often teach several different classes of students throughout the day.
High school teachers average $59,170 in annual salary with projected occupational growth about average at 8 percent. High school teachers assist students in preparing for life after graduation, teaching academics and skills students will need college or the job market. They typically teach grades nine through 12 and specialize in one subject area, but they may teach multiple levels of the subject. For example, math teachers may teach algebra, and calculus.
If you have a bachelor’s degree and want to enter the field of teaching, alternative state and national teaching programs are available, which allow you to complete teaching requirements while working as a teacher. Conduct an internet search on ‘alternative teaching programs’ in your state to get more information.
Discovering your passion
Teaching is one of the most difficult but also one of the most rewarding careers. Some of the attributes of great teachers include the following:
- Setting high expectations for your students and yourself
- Having clear, written learning objectives for assignments and grading policy
- Preparing and organizing your workload and your classes
- Engaging and motivating students
- Mastering your subject matter
- Communicating frequently with parents
- Working with, learning from and supporting other teachers
To sustain your passion for teaching, you must continue to expand your knowledge and skills by learning from your students, other educators, articles, research, training and seminars. Re-energize and take breaks, build your communication and presentation skills and possibly find a summer job for added income. Enjoy the satisfaction of helping students learn.
Education and training
Once you have made the decision to pursue a career a middle school or high school teacher, you can explore the many tools and resources on MySECO to assist you in achieving needed education requirements. College Scorecard is a great starting point for researching and selecting an education institution. When you visit College Scorecard, search by program/degree, location, size and more to find a program of study near you. You can also use the Scholarship Finder to assist with finding funding relevant to the military community to help pay for classes. Check to see if you are eligible for My Career Advancement Account Scholarship assistance to help with education or licensure costs. Teaching Certifications and Licenses can also assist you in planning your training and job search.
Search for positions with your local school system and on the job boards of professional associations related to education. Investigate opportunities DoDEA schools. Build a teaching portfolio to highlight your ideas, talents and successes in the field to increase your opportunities for finding employment.
Consider volunteering, if possible, or doing an internship and proactively networking to build your contacts and teaching experience. Tell family, friends, coworkers and all others that you are hoping to teach and ask for contacts they might have who can help you build and expand your network.
Professional organizations and networking
You may wish to consider joining a professional organization in your career field to gain a better understanding of current industry trends in education. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals in the teaching field will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview or restart your career at your new location. They may provide important information about the teaching field, such as new technology, continuing education, teaching ideas, lesson plans and more. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
To learn more about teaching careers, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO and investigate your options. Take self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with your career choice. Talk to others in the field and get their feedback. Contact a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website to discuss career or education choices, searching for a job or overcoming challenges. Coaches are available to review your resume, practice interviewing, discuss networking or assist you in understanding employer requirements for this field.