Hello Guidance Counselor,
I am interested in pursing a career as a high school teacher, but am not sure what subject I want to teach. I was wondering where the demand is for high school teachers. Are there certain subjects that are expected to have more job opportunities than others? I am open to any area, and am just interested in working with kids at the high school level. Thanks, Mary
A career as a high-school teacher can be as demanding as it is rewarding. Teachers at this level often have great influence over students in their classrooms, and have the ability to shape young lives and future careers. High-school students often say that one motivating and inspiring teacher turned them on to a specific subject or area of study, making all the difference in their choice of career.
First off, it is important to mention that a bachelor's degree in education or in the subject you plan to teach is required of all public high school teachers. Employment opportunities are dependent upon your area of expertise, but also on the region where you reside. The highest demand for teachers in general is found in poor, rural areas and in the inner cities. Schools in these areas typically have a high turn-over rate creating numerous employment opportunities for other teachers. Those teachers willing to relocate should have the best chance of employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, enrollment of students in the Midwest is expected to remain steady, while enrollment in the Northeast is expected to decrease. Because of this, these two areas will most likely have a declining number of teaching vacancies. Student enrollment in states located in the South and West is expected to increase, giving these two regions the most opportunities for teachers.
There seems to be a large supply of qualified teachers who teach general elementary education, social studies, and physical education. These areas of teaching are very competitive right now, forcing some teachers with bachelor's or master's degrees to accept jobs as teacher's assistants or substitutes. Take a look at the subjects below--these areas currently have the highest demand in high schools across the country.
Mathematics: If you like math, and are good at it, you may want to consider choosing this area as your focus. Schools are often seeking qualified math teachers in all areas like algebra, geometry and calculus.
Science: There is often a need for qualified science teachers as science is not a very popular area of study for those in education. Most areas of science are in demand, however, and there is an even higher demand for physics and chemistry teachers.
Foreign Language: There is a shortage of high-school teachers who have studied foreign languages. The foreign language programs vary depending on the area, district, and school, but the most common foreign languages taught in high school are Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese and Latin.
Bilingual Education or English as a Second Language(ESL): Bilingual Education, or ESL teachers, are different from foreign language teachers because they are actually teaching English. The students in their classes, however, often speak little or no English and are typically new to the country. Not only do they need to learn English, they often have to learn how to adjust to American culture and way of living. ESL teachers assist with this transition as well, by showing patience and empathy, and by trying to create a comfort-zone for the students.
Special Education: If you choose to become a special-education teacher, you may work with students who have a wide range of specific needs or disabilities. Some of these include: dyslexia, physical or emotional disabilities, autism, and speech, language, hearing or vision impairments.
I hope this helps you get a start on your training to become a high-school teacher.