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What is a Middle School Teacher?
A Middle School Teacher may be synonymous to a Junior High Teacher in many parts of the country with its focus on providing quality education between primary school and high school. The classification, ages, and regulation of middle schools and junior high schools may vary from school district to school district.
A junior high school or middle school will be constructed based on local demographics, independence, teaching staff, building space, and the construction of a student’s schedule. Generally speaking, junior high school includes ninth grade which become part of a student’s official transcript. The more commonly adopted model of middle school goes through eighth grade allowing school districts and faculty to organize resources and departments to support the necessary expectations prior to a student moving to high school.
Top Middle School Teaching Degrees
Earning a degree in teaching at the junior high school or middle school level can take two primary routes. Degree programs can include an undergraduate or graduate track depending on the programs offered by the school, your goals, and the program in which you qualify.
To help you better understand each track, we have summarized the two most popular teaching degree programs below. Learning more about either degree has never been easier: simply select an accredited school to learn more or get matched using our proprietary matching tools today.
Middle School Teaching Bachelor Degrees
Bachelor degrees for junior high or middle school teachers is designed to be a four to five-year program depending on the program, your course load, and endorsements earned. Online bachelor degrees or their classroom-based equivalent, is conferred as either a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or a Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd). How each degree is conferred will be a direct function of the course emphasis, curricular design, and pedagogy.
Most accredited colleges and universities offer a teaching degree with a general emphasis or subject-specific orientation. If you are seeking to teach a specific area of study, be sure to enroll in a teaching track that focuses on an area of specialization such as reading, history, language arts, mathematics, or science. Many teachers may choose to earn a general degree and specialize later after teaching for a few years.
Classes you may take on a path to becoming a teacher will vary on your school and the requirements of the state in which you reside. A common set of classes you may take on your journey to becoming a teacher may include:
- English Composition
- Music, Theatre, and Arts
- Political Science
- Technology in Education
- Methods and Techniques in ESL
- Teaching in Diverse Environments
- Exceptional Learners
- Student Assessments
- Classroom Management
Middle School Teaching Master’s Degrees
Master degree programs for teachers will require students to successfully complete all lower level requirements. Such requirements may be a combination of coursework, grades, and clinical teaching. A master degree can take full-time students 1-3 years to complete depending on the curricular design of the program and course load. Graduate degrees at this level will be conferred as a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA).
Classes you may take in a master’s degree program will not be identical from school to school. Variations will exist by school, state of residence, and degree emphasis. An example of a teaching degree coursework can include classes such as:
- Child Psychology in Education
- Methods for Teaching Social Studies
- Media and Technology in the Classroom
- Models of Instruction
- Childhood & Adolescent Development
- Methods for Teaching Science
- Educational Research
- Curriculum Development & Design
- Literacy Development
- Urban Learning Environment
- Methods for Teaching Mathematics
- Teaching Practicum
- Clinical Teaching
How to Become a Middle School Teacher
Teachers of middle school help teenagers and pre-teenagers in 6th grade through 8th grade gain confidence, analyze subjects in greater depth, grow independence, and ultimately prepare for high school. Teachers may teach a single subject or several subjects in various blocks or classes throughout the school year. To become a middle school teacher, you will need to successfully achieve the following:
Step 1: Education
The typical educational requirements of a teacher are a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. In most cases, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) will be sufficient to have meet the education requirements. However, some states and school districts require teachers to hold a master’s degree.
Students may earn a qualifying degree in teaching or subjects such as math, science, social studies, English, or history. Additionally, you may be able to earn a teaching certification in your state as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) with a degree in an unrelated field of study.
Step 2: Meet State & School Requirements
In order to teach in some states or schools, you will need to hold specific credentials. These professional credentials may include a combination of teaching certifications, endorsements, and/or licensure. While most private schools may not require licensure, it may be highly recommended.
During the certification and licensing process, you can expect to submit an application to your state of residence and complete a background check and fingerprinting process. Since these requirements are regionally and state specific, you will need to confer with your state’s department of education to ensure compliance with these requirements.
Step 3: Work Experience
The final step in the process to become a teacher is meeting specific work requirements. Many states require students to obtain a set amount of supervised teaching experience in the classroom. Teaching experience of a clinical nature can be attained during a degree or certification program. Specific criteria and hours will vary by your state of residence.
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Employment Information & Teaching Specializations
For students that earn a college degree in Junior High and Middle School Teacher, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue. The options range from middle school teachers, high school teachers, postsecondary teachers, researcher, literacy specialist, counselor, administrative, curriculum designer, interpreter and translator to name a few possible career tracks.
Career Outlook & Job Growth for Teachers
The job growth in the greater Junior High and Middle School Teacher domain are estimated to continue to see strong growth for the foreseeable future. For example, the rate of job growth for middle school teacher is expected to rise 6% through 2024 and high school teachers a 7% growth rate is expected during the same period.
Given the broad nature of the Junior High and Middle School Teacher degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location. Related fields include teaching, curriculum design, research, interpreter and translator.
Job Duties of a Middle School Teacher
1) Adapting lesson plans, instructional materials, and teaching methods to meet student needs and interests
2) Establishing acceptable classroom policies and procedures to maximize time & resources while documenting social and physical changes
3) Meeting and communicating with aides, guardians, teachers, counselors, and administrators to help support student success
4) Maintaining complete and accurate student records as prescribed by state laws and district policies
5) Communicating learning objectives by lessons, project, and units
6) Collaborating with administrators, support staff, and teachers during the development, evaluation, and revision of academic, social, and athletic programs
7) Organizing, planning, and supervise class projects, field trips, and experiential activities to properly guide learning opportunities
8) Managing standardized achievement tests and providing results to determine student strengths and areas of growth
9) Attending school meetings, educational conferences, continuing education courses, and teacher workshops to maintain professional acuity
10) Coordinating activities such as clubs, student groups, organizations, and academic contests as required
11) Providing disabled students with necessary assistive devices, supportive technology, and assistance accessing facilities
12) Supervising and planning work for teacher assistants and volunteers
Middle School Teacher Career Paths
Your career in junior high school or middle school may be focused on teaching, administration, or various academic support positions. The list below will help you understand the career options that you may consider during your career as a teacher.
- Middle School Teacher
- Social Services Specialist
- Certified Physical Education Teacher
- Family Services Worker
- Middle School English Teacher
- Middle School Mathematics Teacher
- School Counselor
- Middle School Geography Teacher
- Children’s Minister
- Religious School Teacher
- Middle School History Teacher
- Curriculum Development Specialist
- Youth Program Director
- Middle School Social Studies Teacher
- Teaching Assistant
- Youth Specialist for Nonprofit Organization
- Education Management Specialist
- Middle School Science Teacher
Additional Resources for Middle School Teachers
For teaching professionals and students seeking additional information, we have assembled the top organizations and associations below. Objectives of each organization include professional development, professional networking, and online resources to help teachers from all corners of the country.