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Middle School Teacher Career

Career Description

A Middle School Teacher teaches students in public or private schools in one or more subjects at the middle, intermediate, or junior high level, which falls between elementary and senior high school.

Common Work Tasks

  • Teach one specific subject, such as English, Spanish, mathematics, history, or biology
  • Teach subjects that are career oriented
  • Oversee study halls and homerooms, supervise extracurricular activities, and accompany students on field trips
  • Participate in education conferences and workshops
  • Work with students from varied ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds
  • Plan, evaluate, and assign lessons; prepare, administer, and grade tests; listen to oral presentations; and maintain classroom discipline
  • Observe and evaluate a student’s performance and potential and use new assessment methods
  • Grade papers, prepare report cards, and meet with parents and school staff to discuss a student’s academic progress or personal problems
  • Use science apparatus, cameras, or computers for instruction
  • Buy materials for the classroom, including paper, pens, pencils, art supplies, and computer software

Other Job Titles

Middle School Teachers are also known by other titles, including:

  • Secondary School Teachers
  • Teacher Assistants
  • Seventh Grade Teacher
  • Instructional Coordinators

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Middle school teachers most often major in the subject they plan to teach while also taking a program of study in teacher preparation. Many 4-year colleges require students to wait until their sophomore year before applying for admission to teacher education programs. To maintain their accreditation, teacher education programs are now required to include classes in the use of computers and other technologies. Most programs require students to perform a student-teaching internship. Teacher education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Graduation from an accredited program is not necessary to become a teacher, but it may make fulfilling licensure requirements easier.

Certification and Licensure
All 50 States and the District of Columbia require middle school teachers to be licensed. Teachers may be licensed to teach the middle grades (grades 5 through 8); a secondary-education subject area (usually grades 7 through 12); or a special subject, such as reading or music (usually grades kindergarten through 12). Requirements for regular licenses to teach kindergarten through grade 12 vary by State. However, all States require general education teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and to have completed an approved teacher training program with a prescribed number of subject and education credits, as well as supervised practice teaching. Some States also require technology training and the attainment of a minimum grade point average. A number of States require that teachers obtain a master’s degree in education within a specified period after they begin teaching.

In addition to being knowledgeable about the subjects they teach, teachers must have the ability to communicate, inspire trust and confidence, and motivate students, as well as understand the students’ educational and emotional needs. Teachers must be able to recognize and respond to individual and cultural differences in students and employ different teaching methods that will result in higher student achievement. They should be organized, dependable, patient, and creative. Teachers also must be able to work cooperatively and communicate effectively with other teachers, support staff, parents, and members of the community. Private schools associated with religious institutions also desire candidates who share the values that are important to the institution.


The median annual salary for a Middle School Teacher is $48,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $75,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $33,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of middle school teachers are:

  • Elementary and Secondary Schools - $50,700
  • Employment Services - $43,880
  • Local Government - $46,180
  • Other Schools and Instruction - $45,240
  • Religious Organizations - $40,600

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  11%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 74,000
  • Employment 2006 : 658,000
  • Employment 2016:  732,000
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