How to Become a Science Teacher

Science Teacher
Science Teacher Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$87,980
Education4+ Years
Outlook6%

If you are interested in science and enjoy spending time with young people then you might like to become a science teacher.

Science teachers teach subjects like biology, chemistry and physics to high school students, where most of their students are aged between 12 and 19.

Working as a science teacher can be a lot of fun.

Most of your work takes place in the lab, where you get to supervise students conducting their own experiments and learning about science.

You’ll need excellent communication students to become a science teacher, as you will need to be able to convey complex topics to your students in a way they can comprehend.

You will also need to be organized to keep up with grading homework, tests, and other administrative tasks.

Education Requirements to Become a Science Teacher

You’ll need a teaching degree to become a science teacher, however your major should be in a science discipline, for instance chemistry or biology.

During your sophomore year you should elect to take a teaching specialization.

This will cover teaching methodology as well as a placement position where you will do your supervised teaching practice.

If you already have a degree, there are other ways you can choose to become a science teacher.

In most states there are graduate bridging programs to allow teachers to gain the educational knowledge and practical experience the need to become licensed science teacher.

Every state is different, so to find out the exact requirements for licensure and accreditation in your state, refer to the NCATE website.

Science Teacher Job Description

When you become a science teacher, you will really enjoy your role if you are passionate about science.

Science teachers teach general science to younger students, and subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics to older students.

In the classroom, you’ll teach and complete theory work, physical experiments, and how to write up scientific reports.

Many students enjoy their time in science class, and look forward to it.

You’ll also need to spend time out of the classroom writing reports and planning lessons.

You will also have staff meetings and other administrative duties to attend to, as well as tutoring for students who are struggling, or being in contact with parents.

Many teachers contribute to writing curriculum, and will spend a good deal of time once or twice a year completing this.

Teachers will need to be able to discipline students who are disruptive, while also providing emotional support to students who may be facing a difficult time, at school or at home.

Working as a teacher, it’s important to strike the balance between an approachable figure and someone that the students respect.

A science teacher usually works a forty hour week.

In some instances they may complete overtime to complete grading, attend meetings, or compiling a curriculum.

Here are some of the duties of a science teacher:

  • Planning lessons
  • Teaching
  • Tutoring students
  • Writing reports
  • Writing curriculum
  • Attending staff meetings
  • Discipline

Science Teacher Salary and Career Path

The starting salary when you become a science teacher is around $40,000 to $45,000 a year depending on your location.

A teacher with come experience could expect to earn within the median range, which is $47,000 to $51,000.

Working as a science teacher, you might later go on to become a leading teacher, or even an educational administrator such as a school principal.

These kind of positions can pay over $75,000 a year.

Some science teachers end up working within science themselves and go on to work in research or become college professors.

If you decide to work in a private school, it’s likely that you will earn less than these stated figures, however you may have access to greater benefits, such as free or low cost housing.

Some Jobs that are similar to science teacher that might interest you include:

  • Elementary teacher
  • High school teacher
  • Math teacher
  • College professor
  • Paraprofessional
  • School principal
  • Librarian

When you become a science teacher you have a great job that can be a lot of fun and also rewarding.

Teachers have excellent job security as well as job training and the potential for advancement.

Education is an important part of our communities, and one that needs the best people.

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

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$87,980
$45K
$60K
$87K
$103K
$155K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$74,280
Alaska$78,270
Arizona$69,960
Arkansas$58,860
California$142,730
Colorado$80,840
Connecticut$92,410
Delaware$84,640
District of Columbia$87,170
Florida$76,810
Georgia$62,250
Hawaii$73,100
Idaho$76,290
Illinois$79,570
Indiana$81,660
Iowa$76,340
Kansas$57,140
Kentucky$70,370
Louisiana$76,590
Maine$76,640
Maryland$81,510
Massachusetts$99,170
Michigan$92,000
Minnesota$87,870
Mississippi$69,540
Missouri$77,240
Montana$68,080
Nebraska$77,480
Nevada$77,760
New Hampshire$94,020
New Jersey$104,900
New Mexico$79,000
New York$108,700
North Carolina$79,050
North Dakota$75,990
Ohio$84,350
Oklahoma$61,150
Oregon$111,510
Pennsylvania$88,510
Rhode Island$111,830
South Carolina$80,950
South Dakota$65,170
Tennessee$72,320
Texas$67,270
Utah$79,210
Vermont$85,630
Virginia$79,460
Washington$89,980
West Virginia$49,930
Wisconsin$79,190
Wyoming$67,710
Puerto Rico$61,210

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $142,730.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $142,730
Rhode Island - $111,830
Oregon - $111,510
New York - $108,700
New Jersey - $104,900
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Mathematical Science Teachers, Postsecondary, OCC Code 25-1022, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a science teacher do?

A science teacher is someone who instructs and guides students and helps them understand important concepts in science.

Science teachers usually work in elementary, middle or high schools.

The main aim of an elementary teacher is to create hands-on learning centers, in order to help the students investigate, discover, and observe; a middle school teacher helps develop the love for the subject further; in high school, science teachers present complex concepts (sometimes in a science lab).

The typical responsibilities of a science teacher usually include creating lesson plans; presenting science demonstrations; grading tests and assignments; maintaining student records; communicating with school administration and parents, and so on.

How much do science teachers make?

On average, a science teacher can make a little more than $43.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $34.000 and $58.000 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.

In case you have a master’s degree, you can earn around $64.000; those who have a doctoral degree can make about $85.000.

Typically, the lowest-paid science teachers are in chemistry.

How much does it cost to become a science teacher?

You would certainly need a bachelor’s degree in education or a specific field that you would like to teach, in order to become a science 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); a Ph.D. will cost you around $17.000 per year.

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 science teachers?

Between 2014 and 2024, the elementary school teacher job market is expected to grow by 6%.

That is pretty much the same as the national average for all occupations in the United States.

At the postsecondary level, the demand for chemistry and biology teachers will grow by 14%.

Those who possess a master’s or a doctorate degree will have better job prospects.

How long does it take to become a science teacher?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree; 1-2 years to earn a master’s degree and around 5-7 years to complete a Ph.D. program in science.

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