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MS to teaching position - options?

  1. Oct 11, 2012 #1
    I've just started an MS program in physics, and I don't really have a clear career goal. I have realized that many people pursue MS degrees so that they can teach in high schools or at city colleges, and these sound like good options to keep in the cards. What is the job outlook for people with an MS in physics, specifically on the west coast? How much of an advantage does a PhD give you when looking for a teaching position? What is the difference in pay between a public high school teacher, private high school teacher, and city college teacher? Do MS students ever teach at universities? What can one do during pursuit of an MS to increase one's chances of getting a teaching position?

    If you have answers to any good questions that I haven't asked, please share!
    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2012 #2
    You are talking about two totally different things here: college teaching and high school teaching.

    Teaching in college almost always requires a Ph.D. Less so at the community college level, but I'd bet that even there, most teachers have one.

    Teaching in public school usually requires a teaching credential. The rules for getting a credential vary from state to state. Some states have "fast track" programs to quickly get people with technical degrees into classrooms, but others require a one year credentialing program. You would have to check the requirements in your particular state.

    As for job outlook... well, most Ph.D.'s in physics would like to become professors, so the market is and will probably remain very competitive. As for high school teaching, the problem is simply financing... most schools are trying to cut positions, rather than add. (This won't last forever, but it will make things difficult for you right now.)

    For high school teaching, having an MS or Ph.D. won't really help you get a job, but you will be paid extra for having either degree.
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