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How Do I Become an Earth Science Teacher?

People who want to teach in high schools should earn a bachelor's degree.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2014
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An earth science teacher is often a middle or high school teacher who has special training and might solely teach various topics in earth sciences. The most common branches of earth science addressed in what are sometimes deemed physical science courses include geology, meteorology, oceanography, and, surprisingly to some, astronomy. These might all be taught in the same class, or might be taught separately. Very often science teachers in secondary school also teach other types of science, including biology, life sciences, chemistry, and physics. Reason a person is called an earth science teacher may be because he comes from an earth science learning education or because he teaches only earth science classes.

The person who plans to become an earth science teacher and to focus on teaching this subject can begin in high school by doing well in math and science classes. Good all around grades can help a person become an earth science teacher because almost all teachers will need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree to be allowed to teach. Having strong science and math skills are especially important and may help students be more competitive in applications to schools with strong earth science programs.

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At the college level the student who wishes to become an earth science teacher must determine a major. It’s possible there will be several options. Students could become generalists studying the four major branches of earth science or they could pick a single one on which to focus. To become an earth science teacher at middle or high school, students might want to select the branches paid most attention in secondary schools, which are geology and astronomy.

Each region differs on how it might award a teaching credential. In many areas people who want to become an earth science teacher must participate in a credentialing program after graduating from college. Such a program could last a few months or up to a couple of years. These programs may emphasize many topics on how to become effective teachers.

Some credential programs for the person who would like to become an earth science teacher may offer opportunity to get a master’s in earth sciences, too. Those who have interest in teaching at community college levels might consider this path. It’s true that many primary and secondary school teachers’ unions have mandatory higher pay for credentialed teachers who hold a master’s degree.

Many people really want to focus on teaching their specialty, which they might have limited opportunities to do in the secondary school setting. Some alternatives are to teach at private schools where curriculum is more flexibly designed or to work as a tutor in the earth sciences. Alternately, skipping a credential, and getting at least a Master’s degree can open up more specific work at the community college level. In some areas these jobs are easy to find, and at other schools they may be highly competitive, where few teachers hired hold less than a doctorate.

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