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What advice do you have for an upcoming chemist/ chemistry teacher?

i want to know if this is a field many go into, and what the benefits and the disadvantages are in either of these positions. #chemistry #teacher #education #research

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From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


3 answers

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Tamasyn’s Answer

As a teacher myself I can honestly say that maths and science are hugely underrepresented and there is ALWAYS a huge need for teachers of these subjects. You would easily get jobs in the UK, NZ, Australia with a chemistry teaching qualification. I don’t know about the US but I imagine it would be similar. If you want to teach at high school you could either get a chemistry degree and then a teaching diploma, or a straight teaching degree. Otherwise you’d need a Masters and probably PhD to teach at university.

Tamasyn recommends the following next steps:

Chemistry degree, then...
Apply for teaching scholarship to teachers college due to schools needing science teachers, there should be scholarships around - there are in NZ. OR
Masters to teach at university.
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Bryce’s Answer

As a senior majoring in secondary biology education I believe I am perfect to answer this question. There are a lot of job opening in science at the middle school and high school level. If you are able to get certified to teach chemistry that is an even bigger advantage as most schools do not have chemistry education programs. The major benefits of teaching are the consistent schedule and free time in the afternoon/evening to spend with family, working with children which can be very rewarding, and all holidays and summer off. Teaching does have some drawbacks like if you want to successful you are going to have to do some work outside of the classroom and it can be very stressful at times. Although I don't believe the drawbacks outweigh the benefits and teaching is a very viable and rewarding career.

Bryce recommends the following next steps:

Apply of Scholarships for Future Educators (there should be a lot)
Look for opportunities on campus to help build resume (TA or Tutor)
Finish Bachelor's degree in Chemistry Education
Apply for jobs starting last month of last semester
Apply for certification in given state
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Jeffrey’s Answer


I am a science teacher in the US. Tamasyn's assertion that you would get a position as a teacher very quickly is also true in the US. Sciences and Mathematics are sorely underrepresented, especially in Title 1 schools. Depending upon your location, your salary may not be what a starting chemist's would be in the private sector. Obviously, being a chemist in the private sector has more monetary potential, but nothing compares to being able to share the subject you are passionate about with students. Plus, being a teacher comes with security that you may not get as a chemist.

In the US, you don't need a Master's in Chemistry to teach it, but I would suggest it. You get an increase in salary for the Master's. Also, you can teach as an Adjunct Professor at state colleges (non-tenure positions). Plus, if teaching did not turn out to be what you loved, the Master's in Chemistry would prove very useful in a career transition. If you decide at some point that you wanted to move forward in the education field, an EdD (Doctorate in Education) would be necessary. But get the Master's Degree in Chemistry right away. Don't work and then go back. It is infinitely harder to do that after working for a few years, starting a family, maybe buying a house, and getting used to a paycheck.

Jeffrey recommends the following next steps:

Finish your Chemistry Degree (BS)
Research scholarships for teachers in high need areas (Chemistry). There's plenty of them out there.
Get your Master's in Chemistry (MS)
Apply for teaching positions