1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Job Prospects Teaching Physics in High School

  1. Nov 12, 2014 #1
    So I'm going to be eligible to teach high school students sooner rather than later, and I have a few questions on how to round out my undergrad to go into the job market with the best chances of getting to teach the classes I want. Bear in mind I'm not limited to one city or state so I already have an advantage in that I'm willing to move around and many states will take my certification.

    Here's the list:
    1. What are the prospects for the kind of classes I'll be teaching since my BS will be in Physics and I want to teach the AP classes wherever I can?
    2. Will a MS in my field REALLY hinder my chances to be hired by a high school because of how they'll have to pay me more money? It seems like this is more BS than I've been led to believe.
    3. If you have experience, what has your physics classroom been like, and what has helped you most as a teacher?
    4. Is the fine line between respect and spite easier to walk in a physics classroom as opposed to an algebra 1 class?
    5. Is it realistic to want to go to grad school and teach full time at the same time?
    6. Do you like teaching, and why?

    Thanks for any insight.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2014 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    There is no pat answer. It varies greatly from state to state and even school district to district,

    You need to decided on places you wish to work and first see what they're requiremnents are.
  4. Nov 16, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    My high school chemistry teacher had an MS in Chemistry, and one physics teacher has an MS then received a PhD. However, that was about 40 years ago. More recently, a local high school hired a retired scientist (PhD) to teach chemistry. He had to have a teaching certificate.

    What is question 4 about?!

    It would be difficult to go to grad school and teach full time. During graduated school, I taught undergrad classes in the same department. The teaching load was not full time, because I did research as well as teach.

    Teaching is rewarding. As a professional, I like to mentor younger folk coming into the industry, because I had to learn a lot on the job, and I'd like to transmit some of that experience and knowledge to younger folk, and I'd like to see them succeed.
  5. Nov 16, 2014 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Most of the students are forced to enroll in and "pass" Algebra 1 and do not like the course, so the teacher has a frustrating job trying to teach Algebra 1, regardless of how good he is as teacher and how well he knows it. Most of high school physics students have at least the broad goal of a scientific or technology career and are very motivated, so the Physics teacher should have less frustration in the effort to teach this.
  6. Nov 16, 2014 #5
    Thanks guys. Seems my hunches were good. We'll see how the next couple semesters plays out. My school has a MA in Teaching program I'm leaning towards doing since it's only a year and I'll be prepped for both it and Physics grad school if I so choose. No reason not to get it I figure.

    Agree? Disagree?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Job Prospects Teaching Physics in High School