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Becoming a Physics teacher - degree path

  1. Nov 13, 2012 #1

    I'm not sure if this was the right subforum to ask this question, but I figured I'd give it a shot anyway.

    Currently, I'm a student at a California CC looking to transfer to a CSU here. I'm majoring in physics and have knocked out all my lower division classes and will be graduating on time with a degree in hopefully physics. However, I'm not majoring in physics to be on the forefront of scientific research or developing breaking edge technology; I'm doing it because I want to teach. High school specifically, it's what my family does.

    I have a few questions to the educators or anyone with general knowledge in the field of science education. First, the school I'm looking to transfer to offers a degree in astronomy, at its core is a physics based curriculum. I'm interested in earning a BA in astronomy and minor in physics and geology (for personal preference). However, my worry is when I apply for a teaching job in the near future, will having a BA in astronomy, even though it is physics based with even a few astrophysics courses in the program, hinder my resume?

    The more and more I read about teachers in physics and general science nowadays, it seems that a good handful all have their BS's in physics or engineering. Will a BA not look good to future employers at the high school level? My backup plan for my safety schools are to obtain a BA in physics and at one a BS in physics education.


    Will an astronomy BA/physics and geology minor not look as good as a physics BS to teach high school physics/general science?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2012 #2
    Astronomy is fine. And with geology, that should actually qualify you to teach Earth Science as well.

    But you need to look into state requirements. Most states require you to take a certain number of education courses to become certified to teach. Most schools will not hire you unless you are a certified teacher. Some private schools might, but these days they also prefer certified teachers.

    Your best bet is to talk to someone in the education department at the school you are transfering to.
  4. Nov 15, 2012 #3
    Thank you for the reply superdave.

    I live in CA and have no plans of ever leaving the states since I love it here. I do plan on obtaining my single subject teaching credential in science to teach at the high school level and also have aspirations to earn a Master's degree in Science Education. With a Master's degree in Science Education, do potential employable school see this as a strength as well accompanying a Bachelor's degree in a science?
  5. Nov 16, 2012 #4
    I highly recommend you seek an Earth Science certification. And maybe Math, since I'm sure you've taken quite a few math courses. You might only need to take two really easy algebra/geometry courses to get the necessary credits to teach Math.

    While you want to teach physics, most schools only have 1 physics teacher, if that. Some schools have dropped physics altogether because it isn't required. So jobs are scarce. Schools like to see that you are flexible and can teach other subjects if needed.

    A M.S. in Science Ed. would certainly be advantageous.

    Another track I recommend is to contact principals at local high schools and let them know you are considering a career in education ask them what they look for when hiring a science teacher. A lot of principals love being asked things like that for some reason.
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