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How to Become a History Teacher

Do you have a passion for history?  Do you agree that those who fail to understand our past are more likely to make the same mistakes?  If so, a career teaching history to middle and high school students might be perfect for you.   The role of the history teacher is to help provide a solid and rounded education background for students by teaching about events in the past and how these world events have shaped our world and society into what it is today.

If you want to become a history teacher in the United States, the basic requirements are twofold.  First, you must possess a bachelor’s degree.  Second, you must receive a certification to teach in the state you reside or would like to work in. 

If you are just planning to go to college or would like to obtain a second degree, a popular program for hopeful history teachers is the Social Studies Secondary Education Bachelors of Science degree.   This program provides all the required education related courses to teach at the secondary level and includes all necessary history courses.   In addition, a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education will also include student teaching, which is a requirement to obtain certification.

If you are looking to change careers, have a bachelor’s degree in a non-education or history related field and would to become a history teacher, in most states you will be required to complete both education and history related courses.  This can result in a Masters of Arts in Secondary Education, History or a similar degree.   Courses you can expect to take include Secondary Level History, American History, World History and Civilizations, Research Methods, Anthropology, Social Science, Archaeology, and other history and education related classes.

Once you have your degree – whether it a bachelor’s or master’s in history or education – you will have to pass assessment examinations that all teachers must complete before being certified.   The most widely recognized of these is the PRAXIS series of teaching exams.  The test of note for hopeful history teachers is the PRAXIS II History examination.  The third test of the PRAXIS is a teaching observation where you be assessed in a live teaching situation on your ability to teach and handle the subject matter.

If you a foreign teacher or a current US teacher and would like to teach in a different state, there are accelerated teacher certification programs that you can research.  Generally speaking, these programs will first confirm that you are qualified to teach history.   This may include you having to pass screening examinations to show that you have sufficient knowledge of the subject matter.   Some states have additional requirements that may have to be satisfied such as minimum GPA standards.   For example, some states will require that you have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all history and education courses to be accepted into their accelerated program.    Once you are approved into one of these accelerated programs, you can obtain provisional certification that will allow you to teach with pay while take any history or education courses needed to completely meet the requirements for full certification.

The requirements for how to become a history teacher will vary from state to state.  New alternatives routes become available every year, so if you are interested in the exact procedures for your particular state, you should check with the states board of education.

For more information on How to Become a History Teacher, be sure to check out our Online Education Teaching School Guide.

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