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Becoming a Teacher

How to Become a Teacher

Explore the Teaching Profession

Explore teacher satisfaction, salary, and other benefits or find a certification program.

Did you know...

✔ Teachers in the United States rate their lives better than all other occupation groups, trailing only physicians.

✔ Mid-career teacher salaries range between $60K and $100K

✔ Most teaching jobs have better retirement benefits than other jobs you can get with the same degree.

✔ There are student loan forgiveness programs and scholarships for math and science teachers

✔ You can get a job almost anywhere in the U.S. or abroad as a science or math teacher.

✔ Behind every advance in medicine or technology is a teacher who left a lasting impression

Life Satisfaction

Did you know that teachers in the United States rate their lives better than all other occupation groups, trailing only physicians?

Percentage shown is the % of people ranking their lives at the top of the ladder minus the % of people ranking their lives at the bottom of the ladder.

Ladder image

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey with a random sample of 172,286 workers, aged 18 or over, from Jan. 2-Dec. 30, 2012. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3.5 percentage points for the smallest group (physicians) but less than ±1 for larger groups such as professionals, service workers, or managers/executives.

† Cantril H. The pattern of human concerns. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1965.

When considering a career path, you might be thinking about what salary and benefits you can obtain and your financial stability.

You might be concerned about whether the work will be intellectually and emotionally stimulating and the quality and predictability of your work schedule. You could be exploring different opportunities to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge.

Emotional health also plays a big role in peoples’ quality of life.

When taking different factors into account, what professional career path would give you the greatest satisfaction and sense of accomplishment?

Day-to-day satisfaction

When asked to list all the things that make teaching satisfying from day-to-day, over half the reasons listed related to student interactions. These included teacher’s interactions with students, between student interactions, when students light up with understanding and watching long term growth.

Compensation and Benefits

Salary

Did you know mid-career teacher salaries typically range between $60,000 and $100,000.

While salary is a major factor in determining career satisfaction, there are many other aspects to take into account such as balancing the salary against benefits such as days off and loan forgiveness.

It’s also important to understand how a teaching job may stack up against other related jobs in the physics, chemistry and math industries.

Additional Opportunities for Income

  • Tutoring
  • Coaching
  • Leading After School Clubs
  • Summer Positions for Teachers

Teaching Benefits

Did you know most teaching jobs have better retirement benefits than other jobs you can get with the same degree?

Teaching provides you with many opportunities and benefits that differ from other industries.

  • Public school teachers typically have state supported pension plans for their retirement. In most cases this provides several times the retirement benefits of the typical 401K plan offered with most other careers.
  • Teaching provides flexibility in the summer, Christmas and spring breaks while other careers are typically full time year around.

Loan Forgiveness & Scholarships

Did you know there are student loan forgiveness programs and scholarships for math and science teachers?

Federal Loan & Grant Programs

TEACH Grants

  • $4,000/year

Direct/FFEL Forgiveness

  • $17,500
  • 5 years of consecutive teaching
  • low income school

Want to know more about Federal Student Aid? https://studentaid.ed.gov./sa/

Perkins

 

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

  • Up to $17,500 forgiven if you are a highly-qualified math or science teacher in a low-income secondary school after completing 5 consecutive years of teaching
  • Can only apply after completion of the 5 years

**Many states and specific school districts offer student loan forgiveness programs in addition to the $17,500 Federal forgiveness.

Perkins Loans

  • Need to be teaching in a high-needs area OR low-income school; qualify for deferment while teaching full-time math or science
  • 15% forgiven/year Years 1 and 2 (includes interest accrued during the year)
  • 20% forgiven/year Years 3 and 4

Remaining 30% forgiven in Year 5 (for 100% loan forgiveness!)
** Although Perkins loans have not been issued since 2018, students who have already received Perkins loans are eligible under the forgiveness program which will continue until there are no more Perkins recipients.

Scholarships can also provide a way for you to pay for your studies as you launch your teaching career.

Relative demand by field

Did you know you can get a job almost anywhere in the U.S. or abroad as a science or math teacher?

The 2018 American Association of Employment in Education Educator Supply and Demand in the United States Report provides data showing that physics, chemistry, and math teachers are in the top five highest shortage areas in our nation.

  • Spec. Ed. – Severe/Profound Disability 4.68
  • Spec. Ed. – Visually Impaired 4.64
  • Physics 4.51
  • Chemistry 4.39
  • Mathematics 4.37

Considerable shortage defined as (5.00 – 4.21)

Teacher supply and demand by subject area

Industry shortage chart with math, chemistry and physics highlighted in red

Each dot on this graph represents a teaching profession with (M) Math, (C) Chemistry, and (P) Physics highlighted in red.