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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.
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.
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.
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.
APS Webinar: Becoming a Physics Teacher
APS Webinar: Landing Your First Physics Teaching Job
Undergraduate degree in physics, or physics education
Teaching certification training, e.g. school of education, TFA
$31,000 - $45,000
11% of working BS grads (13% of MS grads) teach high school physics
Thomas' interest in physics and his drive to give back to society led him to teaching high school level physics.