How to become a high school biology teacher

February 07, 2023 · 3 min read · By ASU Online
Learn how to become a high school biology teacher, what they do, their career outlook and how Arizona State University’s online master's in biology can prepare you for this rewarding career.

High school biology teachers not only teach and help answer questions, they also inspire their students to seek out the answers for themselves. Using different learning methods and materials, they have the opportunity to encourage students to explore the natural world around them and learn about new and evolving scientific theories.


What does a high school biology teacher do?

High school biology teachers provide instruction in the life sciences for students between the ninth and twelfth grades. Through a combination of lectures, hands-on lab projects, field trips, mixed media materials and discussions, they teach students about different subject areas within the broad field of biology, including ecology, botany, zoology, biochemistry and genetics. At some schools, biology teachers may provide preparation courses for standardized tests, such as the AP biology exam.

In addition to teaching classes, other job duties of high school biology teacher include:

  • Collaborating with other teachers, staff and parents to support student progress.
  • Conducting research on new teaching methods, curricula and equipment to improve classroom instruction.
  • Evaluating and grading student work.
  • Managing classrooms and mentoring students.Planning and organizing field trips and science fairs.
  • Preparing lesson plans and activities.
  • Providing accommodations to students with special needs.


What are the qualities of a good biology teacher?

Some qualities that help high school biology teachers do their jobs effectively include having good communication skills, as well as being friendly and approachable to students. It’s also important for teachers to be organized, and have a strong understanding of modern teaching methods and an in-depth understanding of science.


High school biology teacher salary and job outlook

The job outlook for high school teachers is expected to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual salary for high school teachers is $61,820.


Requirements for becoming a high school biology teacher

To become a high school biology teacher, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in biology at minimum. Some schools require or prefer candidates who hold a master's degree in biology, in addition to other standard requirements such as passing tests, criminal background checks and drug tests.

According to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), more than half of surveyed science teachers have a master’s degree. Even if it isn't required, a master’s degree is something science teachers should consider, even after they have obtained a job at a high school. Current teachers may choose to pursue a master's degree in order to advance their careers. Not only does having a master's degree increase your knowledge in your subject of specialty, but it may also help you increase your earnings as a science or biology teacher.

Although teacher certification requirements vary from state to state, all public schools require teachers to be certified in order to teach science. Many states also ask public school teachers to take supplemental education courses to maintain a teaching license. If you accept a position at a private school, you may not need a teaching license.


Earn your Master of Science in biology online

ASU Online offers a Master of Science in biology that can help prepare you to become a high school biology teacher or further your career. An advanced understanding of biological concepts adds dimension to your roles in classrooms and other career settings.

The program allows you to strengthen your knowledge of biological concepts while learning how to communicate this information to others. Both of these skill sets are important for high school biology teachers.

Earn your master's degree while working full time

With the right strategy and support, you can strike a balance between your educational goals and busy life. Learn more about the time management and strategic planning it takes for working professionals to earn their online master's degree.


About ASU Online

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Our offerings include:

  • Elite expertise and research.
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  • Superior student support services.

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