Middle school teachers work in public, private, and charter schools with students in their intermediate years — typically grades six to eight. These teachers often specialize in a particular subject, such as mathematics, social studies, the sciences, or English. Middle school teachers in public schools must have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher education program, and be licensed.
Some public school teachers in the intermediate grades also have master’s degrees or coursework toward an advanced degree. Private school requirements will vary by institution and location.
During middle school, teachers will help students delve deeper into specific subject areas, including history, biology, mathematics, and foreign languages. Middle school teachers prepare lesson plans for classroom instruction, proctor exams, maintain classroom discipline, evaluate student performances, and meet with parents and school administrators to discuss students’ progress.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the 2011 median earnings for middle school teachers was $53,130. The top 10% of earners made $81,620, while the lowest 10% earn less than $35,760. The top paying industry for middle school teachers is in special education, specifically in state government. As of May 2011, annual mean wage for this occupation was $65,130.
States with the top wages for middle school teachers are Texas, California, New York, Florida, and Illinois. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 642,820 middle school teachers in the U.S. in 2011. With job growth in the field hovering near the national occupational average, the BLS projects almost 110,000 more jobs for middle school teachers created before 2020. High need areas are mathematics, science (especially chemistry and physics), bilingual education, and foreign languages.