From K-12, the best math teachers combine a love for teaching with a thorough understanding of mathematics. A degree in math education deepens the math knowledge, skills, and abilities of aspiring math teachers, while developing their understanding of the teaching and learning of math. To become a math teacher, you must obtain a math education degree that includes supervised teaching experience and then gain licensure in the state in which you plan to teach. If you would like to become a qualified educator ready to fill the vital math teacher shortage across the country, consider enrolling in a math education program to pursue math studies while securing your teaching licensure.
Prerequisites for Math Education Programs
Education programs are available at the bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral level. The usual prerequisites for a bachelor’s program in math education are a high school diploma or GED, minimum SAT/ACT scores, and a minimum cumulative GPA. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete and will combine study in both mathematics and education, often as a dual major.
To be eligible for admission to master’s programs in math education, students are generally required to have a bachelor’s degree in math or have completed an equivalent amount of coursework in the discipline. Master’s and doctoral programs are also available in areas, such as curriculum and instruction and educational leadership, for math teachers who have already earned their teaching license and would like to pursue administrative positions.
Math Education Degree Overview
The core coursework at math education schools deals with curriculum, learning, teaching, and research in math education. These programs focus on understanding how students learn math, which in turn informs teaching practices, curriculum, and assessment. Courses that students pursuing a math education degree may be required to take include the following:
- Teaching and learning functions
- Teaching and learning geometry
- Teaching and learning statistics
- Teacher development in mathematics
- Instructional design
- Human development
Students are also required to engage in student teaching in order to gain hands-on experience in the math education field. Some math education programs can be pursued online, with the student teaching component at a nearby school. Although specific requirements will vary by state, all teachers at public schools are required to pass a state licensing examination to obtain teaching certification. Most private schools will also prefer candidates who are certified.
Math Teacher Job Outlook
Working at elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, the responsibilities of math teachers include creating lesson plans, delivering lectures, administering assignments and tests, assessing students’ understanding of the material, preparing students for state standardized tests, and working with individual students and parents to communicate their progress.
The teaching of mathematics at K-12 schools is a high-demand field and the need for math teachers is expected to grow significantly in coming years. According to the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, many schools experience difficulty filling their classrooms with qualified candidates, especially in the fields of math and science. For example, data showed that 54% of secondary schools had job openings for mathematics teachers and about 41% of them indicated serious difficulties in filling these openings, representing about 22% of secondary schools.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that the overall average starting salary of math and sciences graduates is $42,724. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of high school teachers was $55,050 in 2012. With further study, graduates of math education schools have the background necessary to pursue other careers in the math education industry, such as curriculum developer, teacher educator or educational researcher.
There is a critical shortage of math teachers throughout the nation and the demand for increased student proficiency in mathematics is growing, so employment prospects are expected to be excellent in mathematics education. Research math education degrees on our site now to start on the path to a fulfilling career as a math teacher today.
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