Getting a math education degree today means that you will be making a significant contribution to the way the world is headed. Mathematics teachers in K-12 continue to be in great demand in many school districts across the country. Math has traditionally been a difficult subject in schools that students often give up on. However, it is important to get a handle on difficulty with the subject as early as possible. With increasing employment opportunities in fields that require math training, having good teachers is more important than ever. People have the option of getting degrees to teach in the field as well as other education opportunities. You can attain a bachelors or masters in education as well as a PhD in mathematics education. There are opportunities to teach mathematics in secondary education, post secondary or adult education environments. Determine what kind of education you want and what area you would like to work in.
Mathematics Education Preparation and Training
Entering into the math education degree program requires that you have experience and interest in math. In order to become a teacher you need at least a four-year degree from an accredited university and state certification. Some private schools do not have the same requirements, however, so it is always to your benefit to understand what area you might want to teach in.
Mathematics education programs emphasize educational technology and computer science training since these elements feature especially prominently in K-12 math curricula. In the final year of the program, students have the opportunity to refine their teaching skills in the classroom, as part of a supervised student teaching internship. Courses in mathematics teaching may include:
- Technology integration in mathematics
- Learning and teaching problem solving
- Instructional strategies for elementary and/or secondary school mathematics
- Mathematical logic
In addition students take math education courses in: algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, computer science, differential equations, etc.
General teacher education courses include:
Licensure and Certification
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that all states require teachers in public schools to be licensed, or certified. The requirements for certification vary by state but all states require at least a bachelor’s degree. For those who teach in private schools licensure may not be required, but may nonetheless be preferred.
- Each sate may require candidates to pass a teaching certification test, demonstrates their knowledge in the subject they will teach
- Teachers are often required to complete annual professional development classes to maintain their certificates
- Most states require teachers to pass a background check
- Some states require teachers to complete a master degree after receiving certification
- All states offer an alternative route to certification for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree but are missing education courses required for certification
- States also require students in teacher preparation programs to complete supervised experience in teaching earned through student teaching or teaching practicum
- Some states require a minimum grade point average
- With additional education or certification, teachers can work toward becoming school counselors, librarians, instructional coordinators, assistant principals or principals
Careers in Mathematics Education
With a degree in mathematics education you would be responsible for introducing and developing mathematical concepts. There is a great need for good, qualified teachers especially in math and science. While teaching is a career that women usually enter more often than men, math and science teaching fields also have a strong male presence. Either way, you will help people become successful in a discipline that is not always easy. In the mathematics education field you can enjoy working with learners of different ages and who come from very different backgrounds.
You have flexibility when it comes to location of city or school. You can even travel to other countries and share your knowledge with the developing world. Educators are known for their time off as well. Keep in mind that you still have to put a significant amount of time in even when you are not in the classroom for preparation and marking. Teaching is not an easy job, but it can be well worth the pay off.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
Mathematics teachers enjoy salaries at the high end of the national average, which ranged from $50,040 to $52,450. It depends on how far you are willing to take your education and what areas you want to work in. Your income will vary with your level of education and the experience you have in the field. In terms of employment the outlook is quite good for those with a math education degree.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports the following median annual wage for 2010.
- Kindergarten teachers – $48,800
- Elementary school teachers – $51,660
- Middle school teachers – $51,960
- High school teachers – $53,230
- Special education teachers – $53,220
Employment of special kindergarten, elementary, and middle school teachers is expected to grow by 17% from 2010 to 2020. That of high school teachers is expected to grow 7% during the same period.
People are retiring often from the field and there will always be a need for new hard working individuals. In mathematics especially, there are not enough people willing to teach and inspire young people. If you are willing to make a difference, there will be a job for you. Openings for those with a math education degree are expected to continue to rise over the next decade and many people consider teaching a life-long career.
Mathematics Education and Teaching Programs
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