What is a Math Teacher?
Teachers who specialize in math can teach at a variety of levels. As an elementary school teacher, it is likely that you will be required to teach additional subjects as well as math. Middle and high school teachers generally specialize in various math subtopics, like statistics, algebra, geometry, and calculus. With a graduate degree in math, you are qualified to instruct at all of these levels, as well as the postsecondary level. Regardless of what level you teach, you will be responsible for creating lesson plans, working with students who struggle to understand the material, and grading. Learn more about job options in this field in the chart below.
|Elementary School Teacher||Secondary School Teacher||Postsecondary School Teacher|
|Degree Required||Bachelor’s degree at minimum; master’s degree may enhance opportunities||Bachelor’s degree at minimum in many states; master’s degree required in some states||Master’s degree at minimum for junior college positions; doctorate for 4-year university positions|
|Licensure Required||Teaching license required for public school positions||Teaching license required for public school positions||N/A|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||6% for all elementary school teachers*||6% for all high school teachers*||13% for all postsecondary school teachers*|
|Average Salary (2013)||$57,730 for elementary school teachers*||$60,440 for secondary school teachers*||$72,290 for postsecondary mathematical science teachers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Kind of Master’s Degrees are Available for Math Teachers?
Graduate programs designed specifically for math teachers include the Master in Mathematics Education, Master of Education in Mathematics and Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics. These degree programs differ from a traditional master’s in mathematics in that they contain courses such as issues in education, instruction methods and curriculum development, in addition to standard math courses in probability, algebra, geometry and calculus. You’ll also take courses related to teaching mathematics in your chosen grade level. Because many of these programs are for practicing math teachers, classes are held evenings and weekends as well as during summer sessions.
What Could a Master’s Degree Do For My Career?
As a primary or secondary math teacher, you can earn a master’s degree to become more knowledgeable in the subjects you teach, obtain teacher licensure in mathematics or further your career in school administration. Some states require that secondary mathematics educators have a master’s degree in mathematics or earn a master’s within a set period of time to retain their teaching license. Other master’s programs are designed for current teachers who are not licensed in mathematics and desire to move into this field of teaching. If this is the case, ensure that you enroll in a master’s degree program that meets the teacher licensure requirements of your state. If you are interested in becoming a department head or instructional specialist in mathematics, then a graduate program in mathematics may give you the education you need to be promoted.
As a postsecondary math teacher, a master’s degree is the minimum required for a position in a junior college. However, a Ph.D. is required for mathematics professor positions in 4-year universities and colleges.
What Could My Salary Be?
For many teachers, pay is not based on the subject you teach, but on your qualifications and experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that elementary school teachers in the United States made an average annual salary of $57,730, middle school teachers made $58,760, and secondary school teachers made $60,440 as of May 2013. Postsecondary mathematical science teachers earned an average salary of $72,290 in the same year (www.bls.gov).
According to the BLS, education and experience play a role in increasing a teacher’s salary. By earning a master’s degree and becoming nationally certified in mathematics, you may increase your salary. In areas where math teachers are in short supply, school systems may offer financial or housing incentives to attract teachers, augmenting your salary.
If you have pursue a master’s degree in math, you are qualified to do a number of other related careers. You may find work as a mathematician or statistician. These professionals are employed by companies and businesses to crunch numbers, meaning they use real world data and numbers and statistical analysis to solve complex problems. They could apply these skills to a number of different fields, including healthcare and engineering.