High School Physics Teacher

Career Profile

What They Do

Examples of activities of high school physics teachers include:
  • Writing lesson plans
  • Developing demonstrations and lab activities
  • Creating assessment/evaluation materials
  • Grading student assignments
  • Assisting with outreach or service initiatives

Two-thirds of high school physics teachers teach at least one non-physics subject, according to the AIP Statistical Research Center. Physics teachers who teach subjects outside of physics most often teach classes in chemistry, math, or physical science.


Education & Background

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in physics or physics education, teaching experience is important. Many physics departments offer teacher assistantships or physics outreach opportunities - these are great ways to gain valuable experience.


Additional Training

A teaching certification is required to teach at a public school. Certification requirements vary by state, but generally include student teaching experience, a background check, and an exam such as a Praxis test. Some states also allow alternative or lateral entry programs, such as Teach for America - check your state’s public schools website for details.


Career Path

High school teachers may take on additional responsibilities, such as creating curriculum materials or mentoring early career teachers. In some cases, a bonus or additional stipend is attached to these extended roles. High school teachers may also take an administrative path, advancing through positions such as principal or school district administrator.


Additional Resources

Gray Arrow APS Resources for High School Physics Teachers
Gray Arrow AAPT Resources for High School Physics Teachers
Gray Arrow AIP SRC Reports on High School Physics Teaching

APS Webinar: Becoming a Physics Teacher

APS Webinar: Landing Your First Physics Teaching Job

Education

Education

Undergraduate degree in physics, or physics education

 

Additional training

Additional Training

Teaching certification training, e.g. school of education, TFA

 

Salary

Salary

$31,000 - $45,000
 

 

Outlook

Outlook

11% of working BS grads (13% of MS grads) teach high school physics

Physicist Profiles