How to Become a History Teacher

how to become a history teacher

History instructors educate students on historical events and lessons and how they connect to present events. To assist students in comprehending how historical events have influenced the world as we know it, a teacher educating students on this subject must have a broad understanding of history, complemented by research in other fields.

Read on to learn what history instructors do, how to become a history teacher, and their compensation and career prospects.

What is a History Teacher?

A history teacher guides students through studying historical events in the United States and globally. They often instruct students in high school, middle school, and postsecondary settings. A history curriculum might include themes ranging from ancient history to current events. History teachers help students to see the world from a variety of viewpoints and to become well-informed citizens.

History professors aid students in learning by facilitating readings, intriguing conversations, and projects. They often assist students in comprehending and processing the gravity of challenging social and political situations. History teachers create lesson plans per curricular requirements and gather and develop class assessments and lesson presentations. They also execute other typical teaching responsibilities, such as grading assignments.

Career Outlook for History Teachers

A candidate must have a degree in history education and meet state standards for teaching history to be employed to teach history in K-12 public schools. All states require public school teachers to complete one or more competence examinations in their subject area. An example is the Praxis Series. History teachers at private schools may have varying requirements. They may not be required to be certified by the state. To qualify for certification, instructors often undergo a supervised student teaching term while receiving their bachelor’s degree. To teach at the university or college level, postsecondary instructors must have a master’s or doctorate.

History instructors may be required to teach topics ranging from economics to American history based on the size of the school system where they are employed and the district’s authorized curriculum. Teachers create and evaluate interactive projects and examinations, give lectures, engage with parents and students, and, ideally, keep current events in consideration. History instructors may collaborate with special education teachers to adapt courses for kids with learning disabilities. Furthermore, most teachers participate in their school’s extracurricular activities and are often invited to help with debate teams or other groups relating to their specialty.

History Teacher Salary

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the profession of high school educators will expand at a rate of around 4% per year until 2028 as student enrolment rises and school systems work to reduce student-teacher ratios. According to the BLS, high school teachers receive a median pay of $60,320 per year. In contrast, middle school teachers get a median compensation of $58,600 annually, with positions expected to expand by 3% until 2028.

However, earnings for history teachers vary greatly based on region, credentials, and school type. Postsecondary instructors make a median salary of $78,470 per year and are predicted to enjoy an 11% rise in employment opportunities through 2028. Postsecondary careers in history should see a 6% increase.

How to Become a History Teacher

If you are interested in how to become a history teacher, below are five steps you need to take.

1.   Get Your Bachelor’s Degree in History

The first step in becoming a history teacher is to get a bachelor’s degree, ideally in history. You should look for a college or institution with a reputable history department and a state-approved teacher training program. These two programs will help you become well-versed in historical issues and qualify you to teach in that state.

You’ll most likely take a few lower-level history courses and general education classes for the first two years of your four-year degree. After your third year, you may register for the teacher training program and designate history as your major. Following that, you’ll begin taking more advanced-level history courses and classes on how to teach.

When selecting history courses, seek lessons that cover various topics rather than concentrating on a certain period or culture. This will provide you with a foundation for studying numerous historical courses. If you want to teach about a certain period or culture in high school or university, you may take more advanced courses as part of your master’s degree.

Educators with a history degree may also work in the following fields; museums and historical societies, libraries, creating tests for educational institutions, historic preservation organizations, tutoring services, legal research firms, departments in charge of developing educational programs, and more.

2.   Finish a Teacher Education Program

As you take your undergraduate studies, you will almost certainly be required to enroll in and complete a teacher preparation program. These programs will teach you skills like how to plan and implement lessons, how to strengthen your communication skills, education challenges, psychological education, evaluation of students, child growth and development, and more.

Before admission, most teacher training programs require a GPA (grade point average) of 2.5 and above. Some also include an introduction course you must pass before proceeding to additional courses.

Most of this program’s courses are taught in a classroom environment at your institution or college. However, some also involve student teaching experiences, where you will practice teaching under the guidance of an experienced teacher at another neighboring school.

3.   Do an Internship

An internship is another term for student teaching. The internship will allow you to learn more about what it is like to be a teacher, receive useful teaching experience, and put some of the key duties of a teacher into practice.

Your university or college will pair you with a teacher from a neighboring school to complete your internship. They will pair you with a suitable partner depending on the age of the pupils you want to teach and the course content. As a result, students interested in becoming history instructors will be allocated to social studies or history professors.

During the internship period, you will spend a couple of months in that teacher’s classroom, creating lesson plans, assisting students, and delivering lessons to the class. The trainer will be available to provide advice, answer any questions, and provide an assessment once the semester ends.

To graduate, you must complete the internship and get a positive rating from your head instructor.

4.   Pass Your Certification Exams, Then Apply for Your Teaching License

After finishing your undergraduate studies, you must take state-approved certification exams and excel. They comprise a series of assessments that verify preparedness to teach. Each state has its own set of examinations and criteria, so investigate the standards in the state where you intend to teach.

The Praxis Series and the National Evaluation Series are two of the most extensively utilized certification assessments. Your state determines which tests you must take and how well you must perform on each. After completing these exams, you can acquire your state’s teaching certification. You need to apply via your state’s certification office, which will assess your application and award you a teaching license.

5.   Apply for Available History Teaching Job Opportunities

You’re ready to look for available history teacher positions after you’ve obtained your teaching license. You should seek history teaching employment in the age range you wish to teach. Your university or college most likely offers a job placement service that may assist you in finding and applying for available opportunities.

However, most schools prefer to recruit experienced instructors, making it more difficult for recent graduates to get work. If you can’t find a full-time job, search for alternatives that will enable you to get experience.

Some schools, for instance, use paraprofessionals to assist instructors and provide one-on-one education to students. Dealing as a paraprofessional allows you to get more experience working with students. If a full-time job becomes available in your school system, you will have a higher chance of acquiring it.

Day in the Life of a History Teacher

A history teacher teaches students about world history or specific areas; They may often tie current events to historical events. History instructors deal with students in grades ranging from high school to middle school. In some circumstances, they may teach in postsecondary institutions.

A history teacher’s regular responsibilities on a typical school day include the following:

  • Making lesson plans as well as grading papers, homework, and examinations
  • Delivering lessons from previously produced lesson plans
  • Teaching students about anything from the Cuban Missile Crisis to ancient Egypt.
  • Applying effective learning tactics in their studies
  • Acquiring specialist resources for further reading and assignments
  • Keeping up with current events and key historical events
  • Other responsibilities at school include hall surveillance and detention coverage
  • Carrying out studies and publicizing their results
  • They may also teach political science and social studies courses in their history lesson, depending on who and where they teach.

Experience and Useful Skills

An educational foundation in history from all historical periods and worldwide areas is required for success in teaching history. Successful history instructors often have good classroom leadership abilities and communication skills. These skills enable them to establish a learning atmosphere focused on debate and discussing historical events and how they connect to present times.

Teachers with a real passion for history may help students interact with the topic. Furthermore, history professors should be familiar with current research and citation methodologies to aid students in learning about and referencing historical facts.


What is the time commitment required to become a history teacher?

It takes four to five years, on average, to qualify as a history teacher. The better part of your time will be spent in undergraduate studies, after which you will complete a student-teaching practicum and acquire a teaching credential or license. Then it’s only a matter of time until you get your first job as a history teacher.

How can I improve my chances of landing a job as a history teacher?

There are various things you can do to improve your CV and raise your chances of securing a job as a history teacher. To begin, you should seek out appropriate experience. Consider volunteering to teach at local schools or youth groups. You may also join local historical groups to get more knowledge about your town or city.

There are also certain regions in the United States where history instructors are critically needed. Teaching in impoverished regions may be difficult, but it can also be rewarding. Perhaps most importantly, if you teach in low-income communities for five years in a row, you may qualify for student debt forgiveness.

What steps may history instructors take to promote their careers?

History instructors may progress into administration positions with further education and training. Moving up to a job in administration, such as assistant principal, vice principal, superintendent, or principal, comes with new duties, and you will no longer make direct interactions with students. Nonetheless, it usually comes with a big wage raise.

How can I become a history professor at a university or college?

To teach college students, you’ll need to get a master’s or a Ph.D. degree. Master’s degrees typically last two years, with a curriculum focusing on a single subject via research, classroom study, and lectures. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees may take 3-5 years to complete and necessitate a subject or geographic specialty such as military or medieval history, twentieth-century, or Asian or Latin American studies.

Often, prior experience as a history professor is also required.

Next Steps

Start your education to become a history teacher today by inquiring about a few different education degree programs. Your new career can start now!