How To Become a Math Teacher (Plus Salary and Job Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 14, 2022 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated September 14, 2022

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you excel in mathematics and enjoy the idea of instructing young learners, you might consider becoming a math teacher. While specific requirements vary by state and school, a background in education and professional certifications can make you a strong candidate for a position as a math teacher. In addition to mathematical skills, teaching this subject requires patience, time management, organization and communication abilities.

In this article, we explain what a math teacher does, outline steps on how to become a math educator and provide answers to frequently asked questions about this role.

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What does a math teacher do?

Math teachers educate students on the principles of mathematics. They might teach general math or particular fields of mathematics, such as geometry, algebra and calculus to students at different grade levels. Their main responsibility is to help students cultivate an understanding of mathematical problem-solving appropriate for their age group.

Math teachers typically work for middle or high schools, but a math teacher can teach any grade from kindergarten to 12th grade and beyond, depending on their qualifications. When it comes to classes like calculus, trigonometry and other higher-level math courses, a math teacher may need special training to qualify for the role.

Teaching math involves a variety of duties and responsibilities, including:

  • Creating lesson plans

  • Preparing homework and assignments for students 

  • Correcting and grading student work

  • Preparing tests to measure a student's level of understanding for basic and complex math concepts

  • Assessing and recording the progress and abilities of each student throughout the year

  • Following state and school standards and guidelines to ensure students meet the established criteria

  • Providing instruction for varying grade levels and content

  • Managing student behavior during class to maintain an effective learning environment 

  • Communicating with parents and administrators

  • Supervising study halls, field trips, extracurricular activities and homerooms when required

  • Providing academic and career advice for students

Related: Teacher Job Descriptions: Learn What Various Kinds of Educators Do

How to become a math teacher

If you're interested in pursuing a career as a math teacher, these steps can help you get started:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

To become a math teacher, you'll need a bachelor's degree. While you can apply for a state teaching license with any major, you might want to choose a major in education with a focus on math or a math-related major. You could study for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Secondary Education or Elementary Education with a focus on math. You can choose Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mathematics Education, or study any branches of mathematics as a major. 

If you've already earned a bachelor's degree in a related subject and have work experience in the field, you can take the next steps for certification to start teaching as a second career

Related: How To Get a Teaching Certificate After Earning a Bachelor's Degree

2. Complete a student teaching internship program

Some states require you to complete a student teaching internship program to become a qualified teacher. This program is a full-time course pairing you with a certified math educator who acts as a mentor and trainer. This supervised learning experience gives you real classroom experience in instruction, lesson planning, student assessment and classroom management. 

Although you may not complete your internship in the exact grade level you plan to teach, your time in the classroom helps you practice and prepare for teaching on your own. The first part of your internship involves classroom observation, while the second half usually gives you the opportunity to lead the class. Internship programs typically last from eight to 12 weeks. 

Related: How To Write a Teacher Internship Resume in 5 Steps

3. Pass professional exams

The total requirements to earn your teaching certificate for public education varies based on the state where you plan to teach. Most states require prospective teachers to take a professional skill exam and subject knowledge competency exams for mathematics. These tests will examine your reading, writing and math skills. Check with the state department of education for specific guidelines about how to prepare and register for each exam. 

Related: 8 Teacher Certifications (With Benefits and FAQs)

4. Apply for a teaching certificate

With a state teaching certificate, you will be eligible to apply for the math teaching jobs that you want. This is a license that will allow you to teach in the area you have specialized in and in the state that you wish to work in. You will be issued this license by the governing body in your home state. Then you can start applying for math teaching jobs in the grade level of your choice.

Related: 50 Teacher Interview Questions (Plus 11 Example Answers)

Frequently asked questions

The following are some of the most commonly asked questions about becoming a math teacher:

Can a math teacher earn a master teacher certification?

A master teacher certification is an advanced credential that signifies your skill and experience. For a math teacher to earn this certification, you must show advanced knowledge in your area and a strong ability to successfully teach students. You will also need three to five years of teaching experience. If you do earn this credential, you could start earning a higher salary.

Related: Education Specialist Degree vs. Master's Degree: What's the Difference?

What is the job market like for math teachers?

The job market for math teachers is a positive one. Math teachers are highly in demand in all grade levels. It is easier to find a job as a math teacher if you have a major in math or a master's degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of 8% for high school teachers from 2020 to 2030. 

Related: 10 Steps You Can Take to Make More Money as a Teacher

What skills should a math teacher have?

Aside from a deep knowledge of mathematics, math educators use a variety of skills to teach their course material. Elementary teachers use different methods to introduce math concepts to young students while high school teachers may lead more career-focused content. Common skills math teachers use include communication to clearly share ideas with learners, organization to prepare lessons and curriculum aides, creativity to help students understand complex math ideas and empathy to detect when students need help or have trouble understanding a concept. 

What is the average salary of a math teacher?

The average salary of a math teacher is $46,389 per year. Salaries can vary widely based on grade level, type of school, experience and location. Teachers with additional training and education such as a master's degree also have the potential to earn higher wages. Public school typically pay based on a scale of tenure within the district. You may also have the opportunity to earn bonus pay by taking on additional responsibilities at schools like overseeing an after school club or sports team. 

Related: Q&A: How Much Do Math Teachers Make? (Salary and Potential)

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