High School Teacher Career Guide
A secondary school teacher, more commonly called a high school teacher, instructs students in ninth through twelfth grade in both public and private educational institutions. The primary objective of these teachers is to educate students and prepare them for college and/or the job market. This guide provides further information on what high school teachers do, how to become one, and the occupation’s salary and job outlook.
High school teachers typically plan and teach lessons to classrooms of students. They may also teach small groups or do individual mentoring, depending on the needs of their students. Secondary school teachers typically specialize in one or two subjects such as math, English, the sciences, art, history, Spanish, French, or music, usually teaching several classes within their specialty subject over the course of a day. Teachers evaluate students’ performance, grade papers and tests, and prepare them for state tests. In order to be an effective and successful secondary school instructor, the ability to communicate well with teenagers and earn their respect is key. A consistent and approachable attitude will help a teacher maintain order, good behavior, and discipline in their work with teenage students.
High School Teacher Requirements and Common Tasks
The responsibilities of a teacher at the high school level include preparing courses, assigning and grading homework and tests, creating classroom rules, and meeting with parents to discuss student progress and behavior issues. They also may spend extra time with struggling students, often mentoring and tutoring them after school hours. Although high school teachers commonly work in a classroom setting, they may work in other settings as well including the outdoors, gymnasiums, the school library, or a computer lab. Teachers at the secondary level also maintain order in the classroom and during breaks and lunch periods, and may be involved in a variety of extracurricular activities. High school teachers must have the ability to impart knowledge effectively to teenagers. Calmness and patience are attributes that teachers need; their role may be seen as being part instructor and part mentor.
Becoming a teacher in a secondary school usually requires earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary education or in a teachable subject like biology. To teach in public schools, a state teaching license or certification is required. This typically means that prospective teachers must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. Secondary school teachers in a private school are typically not required to hold certification, though this is a growing preference in private school systems. To become a high school teacher, the most common steps are:
In addition to earning a major in the particular subject you wish to teach, you must take a teacher preparation program approved by your state in order to qualify for certification. Many four-year colleges and universities require students to wait until their sophomore or junior year before applying to educator preparation programs. These programs include a student teaching internship, during which students have a chance to work under experienced educators who act as mentors as well as teachers. During this time, they also have the opportunity to see how the school works, receive reviews on their teaching skills, learn how to discipline students, and develop a general feel for the school atmosphere. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in the subject you want to teach but did not complete a teacher preparation program, a master’s degree or another alternative route to licensure may be a good fit for your goals.
What’s the Difference Between a High School Diploma and a Certificate?
There are two “degrees” you can receive in high school – the high school diploma and the high school certificate. While these two qualification deeds are issued upon completion of high school, they are pretty different.
As mentioned earlier, a high school diploma is issued to a student who has completed all the requirements in high school. On the other hand, a high school certificate is given to a student for the completion of high school, not necessarily considering the requirements. This means that you will receive a high school diploma only if you meet up with the academic and non-academic requirements of the school, district, and state. You can be issued a high school certificate if you do not meet the high school diploma requirements but completed high school. In terms of issuance, the high school certificate is more flexible than the high school diploma.
The high school diploma requirements include a pass in English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, and elective subjects. Consistent good grades in these subjects might earn you an Honors Diploma. The honors diploma favors students who hope to get into Ivy League Schools where only the best students are admitted.
With a high school diploma, you can join the military, sign up for government student aid and apply to colleges. However, these institutions do not accept a high school certificate. Some colleges occasionally accept promising students with only a high school certificate. Generally, high school diploma holders are more favored in many institutions than high school certificate holders. Even in an employment setting, you are more likely to get a job as a high school diploma holder than another person with the same skills as you holding a high school certificate.
What is the Alternative to Earning a High School Diploma?
Students with high school certificates are allowed to meet with the school cooperation for the issuance of a high school diploma, especially if the students are with disabilities.
If it is not possible to see the school corporation, or you do not have the complete high school experience, there are external high schools that can help you with that. The National External Diploma Program (NEDP), for instance, is suitable for adults who are yet to get a high school diploma. Because the NEDP is primarily targeted at adults, the program offers a flexible learning system. In the end, a traditional high school diploma is awarded to members who pass the necessary assessments. Unlike the high school setting, which is almost completely academic, the NEDP educational system is usually concerned with real-life experiences. This means that the students taking this program can demonstrate their skills and knowledge and are assessed based on these skills and knowledge.
Before one is allowed to participate in the national external diploma program, an assessment test is taken. This test follows a 12th-grade format. Therefore, whoever wants to obtain a high school diploma through this program must understand 12th-grade subjects.
The Veteran’s High School Diploma is another alternative to earning a high school diploma. An honorary high school diploma would be issued to the veterans who were unable to complete high school due to their service in the military during wars.
A Vocational Degree Will Also Prepare You to Enter the Workforce
If you do not plan on attending college and want to head straight into the workforce, earning a vocational degree is also an option. For this certification, students will complete requirements at a trade school or another academic institution that focuses on a specific field or trade. Getting your vocational credentials can usually take between three months and two years, depending on the field, course list, and practice required. However, that is less than a standard bachelor’s degree, and you can begin work right after you finish. Trade schools may be able to assist with lining up a job for you after the completion of your program.
Vocational programs are usually held at non-traditional post-secondary institutions (trade schools, technical schools, and community colleges). However, some traditional colleges do offer classes for vocational programs. Examples of fields that offer vocational degrees include nursing, electrician services, cosmetology, paralegal services, and audio engineering.
So what is the answer to “what is a high school degree called?” Well, the answer is that a high school degree doesn’t really exist. But a high school diploma does, as well as a variety of equivalent certificates. Whatever you decide to pursue for education in the future, there are options to achieve high school equivalency. Whether or not you finish high school the traditional way, you can still continue your education and find a great career that you love!