How to Become a Junior High Teacher

Junior High Teacher Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $54,870
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 12%

When you become a junior high teacher, you’ll be a specialist educator working with students in the 7th and 8th grades.

Junior high is an integral period in a young person’s education.

It marks the beginning of the transition to secondary education, and is an important time of social and emotional development as well.

When you become a junior high teacher you have the unique opportunity to make a difference to your students in this formative stage of their life.

Working as a junior high teacher, you’ll analyze the needs of your students and them create an educational plan to help them succeed.

Your role as a teacher involves working one on one with students, and also in a classroom situation.

There is also a considerable amount of out-of-classroom work to do.

To become a junior high teacher you’ll need a good grounding yourself in the subject you teach.

You will need strong interpersonal skills to communicate with and understand your students, other staff, as well as parents.

Education Requirements to Become a Junior High Teacher

To become a junior high teacher you will need to complete a four year teaching degree from an accredited college.

Your major should be related to the subject area that you want to teach in, for instance English, math, or history.

When you reach sophomore year you will have the option to specialize in teaching.

You will then complete education coursework as well as a teaching placement.

If you already have a college degree in a particular area, many states offer educational bridging programs which will cover the educational components required to become a junior high teacher.

To become a junior high teacher in a public school, you will need to be licensed.

Private schools each have their own individual requirements for teaching staff.

To gain licensure in most states a four year accredited degree is required, alongside state-set examinations in literacy and numeracy.

You will also need to participate in continuing education throughout your teaching career.

Some teachers go on to complete postgraduate qualifications, such as a masters in teaching or education.

This can help if you are wanting to go on to a position such as a principal or a head of school.

Each state varies in their rules for licensure as a junior high teacher.

To find out the regulations in your state have a look at the NCATE website.

Junior High Teacher Job Description

When you become a junior high teacher you will spend a good amount of time working in the classroom with your students.

You’ll also need to spend time in preparation, coming up with lesson plans and homework projects.

Grading homework, completing administrative tasks, and keeping in contact with parents are also important tasks.

Here are some responsibilities of a junior high teacher:

  • Planning lessons
  • Conducting classes
  • Helping students with their work
  • Marking assignments
  • Disciplining students
  • Writing progress reports
  • Attending staff meetings
  • Keeping in contact with parents

Junior High Teacher Salary and Career Path

When you become a junior high teacher, you could expect to achieve a starting salary of about $35,000 a year in a public school.

The current median salary is between $47,000 and $51,000 a year.

If you went on to a specialized position and had some experience in a particular area, for instance a head of school, you could earn upwards of $75,000 a year.

Private school teachers generally make less money than their public school counterparts.

Some roles that are similar to a junior high teacher include

When you become a junior high teacher you can look forward to a satisfying career.

Education is a great field to work in.

It offers secure employment and a good salary, and there is always plenty of work around and many opportunities for professional development and promotion.

If you like working with children, and enjoy helping them achieve their full potential, you should consider a junior high teaching career.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$74,510
New Hampshire$62,900
New Jersey$74,390
New Mexico$59,750
New York$94,690
North Carolina$50,630
North Dakota$59,750
Rhode Island$73,210
South Carolina$56,350
South Dakota$48,230
West Virginia$50,190
Puerto Rico$32,640
Virgin Islands$44,380

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $94,690.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $94,690
California - $92,350
Massachusetts - $85,740
Washington - $83,460
Connecticut - $82,790
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Middle School Teachers, OCC Code 25-2022, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a junior high teacher do?

A junior high teacher can sometimes be called a ‘middle school teacher’.

It is a professional who is responsible for the education of the children from grades 5 to 8.

Junior high teachers teach general academics or specific subjects – social studies, science, mathematics, language arts, and so on.

The typical responsibilities of a middle school teacher usually include planning lessons; presenting them with the help of hands-on methods; assigning and evaluating the works of the students; tracking and assessing their progress, etc.

A junior high teacher should have impeccable communication skills and outstanding personal qualities.

Sometimes the teacher would have to find ways to engage the students more in the education process, as children can be unmotivated and unruly.

How much do junior high teachers make?

On average, a junior high teacher can make a little less than $48.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $35.000 and $71.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the school you work for, the location and so on.

Teachers in New York, California, and Texas, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level junior high teacher can earn around $11 per hour, while a top-level specialist with plenty of experience can make $43 and more per hour.

How much does it cost to become a junior high teacher?

You would certainly need a bachelor’s degree in education or in a specific field that you want to teach (English, math, etc.) in order to become a junior high teacher.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

To improve job perspectives, you can go for a master’s degree (over $30.000).

You must be certified to be able to teach in schools; the cost of teacher certification can vary from state to state, so be prepared to pay anywhere between $40 and $200.

What is the demand for junior high teachers?

Between 2012 and 2022, the junior high teacher job market is expected to grow by 12%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is a little faster than the national average for all occupations in the United States.

That will happen due to the fact that the number of students in middle schools will increase over the next decade.

The professionals that possess plenty of experience and certificates will have the best job prospects.

How long does it take to become a junior high teacher?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years to earn a master’s degree.

To become a certified teacher, you would need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher education program, pass a background check and knowledge and skills tests.

The initial certificate is valid for 5 years; you would have to complete a certain number of professional development hours every five years to maintain the certification.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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