Can I Teach High School Science With a Health Science Degree?

Science experimentTeaching science at the high school level can be a rewarding career for many people interested in both science and teaching. These types of teachers also tend to be in high demand because the requirements for their job are more demanding than most teachers.


The Basic Requirements for a High School Science Teacher

The first task for a prospective high school science teacher is to earn their secondary education teaching credential. The exact requirements for a credential vary by state, but there are some general guidelines. Teachers must hold enough education-focused college credits to qualify for the license. This usually amounts to a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Students can choose a subject focus, such as health science, when they plan their degree. Their education will consist of a mix of education classes for learning how to teach, organize and manage a classroom, and science classes to learn the knowledge for their subject. The prospective teacher will then pass a series of tests that usually include a basic skills test, such as the CBEST, and a state licensure test, such as the ORELA in Oregon.

What if I Already have a Science Degree?

Teachers may also choose to focus their bachelor’s degree on the subject itself. In this case they would earn a bachelor’s degree in health science, instead of education. They would then take a number of additional credits, amounting to about the number of credits in an associate’s degree, which would qualify them for licensure. Again, the exact requirements in terms of classes and credits for this route vary by state. It is important to look up specific state requirements when planning the degree. This is also a good route to take for those who already have a science degree and would like to transition into being a science teacher. The same testing requirements apply.

The final route to being a high school science teacher, and the one that will make that gradate the most hirable, is to gain a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a health science focus and then go on to earn a master’s degree in teaching. Earning a master’s degree in education can also be a choice for those with a regular science degree. Schools prefer to hire master’s degree teachers so long as they have some prior experience teaching or working with children. Pay scales for teachers are also heavily related to education level, so master’s degree teachers automatically make more than bachelor’s degree teachers working it the same position, regardless of the number of years in the district. Most school districts require that teachers earn a master’s degree after a certain number of years of experience anyway.

Secondary teachers have a longer education road than most teachers, but the rewards are often well worth the extra effort. A person with an interest in science who has already worked in his field may find sharing his knowledge and experience with students an amazing and enriching opportunity. The need for qualified teachers for science and math is also high in a time when most education job openings are abysmal. There has not been a better time to consider a career as a high school science teacher.