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What Do You Need to Become a Math Teacher?

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Math teachers can work in public or private schools. Each private school sets its own requirements for math teachers, but most schools will require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. However, as there aren't enough math teachers, some might be willing to accept less college. To teach in a public school, you are usually required to adhere to a strict preparation program which includes educational requirements, student teaching and state tests.

Definition

A mathematics teacher is responsible for teaching students all aspects of mathematics, which may include statistics, accounting and Advanced Placement classes. As a math teacher, you'll spend many hours preparing curriculum for teaching in class as well as actually teaching in front of students. You'll be expected to use technology in your lessons, attend teacher training and staff meetings, and ensure that your students adhere to rigorous academic standards.

Education

To become a certified public school math teacher, you generally need a bachelor's degree in math or a closely related subject, like accounting or mathematics education. In addition, most states require you to take a certain number of education classes such as human growth and development, curriculum planning and design, and classroom management. The exact courses required depend upon where you want to teach and what state you live in.

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Licensure

A bachelor's degree is only the first step towards licensure in most states. To qualify for a professional educator's certificate, you will likely have to graduate from an approved teacher preparation program that involves student teaching and passing state exams. If you haven't been a student teacher, you'll probably be issued a temporary certificate for one or two years to enable you to complete the student teaching portion of your certificate.

Alternate Certification

If your bachelor's degree is not in math or a closely related field, some states will allow you to sit a test to gain certification in your chosen area. If you pass a test in mathematics, the requirement for a bachelor's degree in the subject is waived. Many states have programs to encourage professionals in industry and mid-career professionals to teach;: these programs usually involve a condensed graduate school curriculum of two to three semesters and a semester as a student teacher.

About the Author

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.

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