What is the Best Degree for High School Computer Teachers?

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high school computer teacher

Want to teach computer science to high school students? Computer teachers help students from all backgrounds learn computer skills that will help them after they graduate. Computer literacy helps you during your college years and on the job.

You need more than passion for computers to get started as a computer teacher. A computer teacher knows many different things about computers, from computer hardware to coding. Computer instructors are also good at what they do. Teaching computer skills to students.

This article covers how high school computer teachers get their start. Learn which bachelor’s degree will help you find a job after college, and how to become the best teacher computer science offers.

What Education Computer Teachers Need

The most straightforward path to becoming a computer teacher is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Most computer teacher jobs ask for a four-year degree in computers or a related field. You can earn a bachelor’s in computers or in education. But if you earn a bachelor’s in education, you need computer skills.

A computer technology teacher for high school needs knowledge and skills in:

  • Coding
  • Computer engineering
  • Computer programming
  • Data analytics
  • Software development

You learn these computer skills in college. So, majoring in computer technology or science helps. But teacher job description announcements also ask for teaching skills. You pick these up while earning your teaching degree.

Teaching Skills for Computer Science Teachers

Your bachelor’s degree will give you the classroom management skills you need to work as a technology teacher. You will learn computer literacy while you also study curriculum development. Your bachelor’s degree program will also demand classroom hours that give you teaching experience. These supervised hours provide real-world training and help you to be the best teacher on computer devices you can be.

So, the bottom line is to get a degree to work as a teacher with computer skills. Your bachelor’s degree will provide all kinds of training, including:

  • Computer literacy
  • Computer software and hardware

To become a computer teacher, there are other requirements you need. Read on for more information on what your state can require.

Licenses and Certifications for Computer Teachers

Elementary school teachers and middle school teachers need some of the same credentials as high school teachers. This is no different for a computer technology teacher. Even after earning a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, your state can demand a teacher’s license.

High school teachers earn certifications that allow them to teach 7th through 12th grades. To become a computer teacher for high school, you must have these credentials. Requirements for licenses and certifications can include:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA
  • Completion of a student-teaching appointment
  • Passing a background check
  • Passing a teaching certification test for a specific subject you plan to teach

We discuss more on certification requirements for computer teachers below.

computer teacher

Different Degree Types for Computer Teacher Jobs

There are different bachelor’s degree programs for teacher computer jobs. Aspiring computer teachers can earn a bachelor’s degree in computers or education with a computer-related concentration. Let’s look at the different degree types that help you become a computer teacher.

Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

If your state doesn’t have a CS degree requirement, you can get an undergraduate degree in a related subject. Popular computer teacher majors include:

  • Computer information systems
  • Computer programming
  • Computer science education
  • Data processing
  • Information technology
  • Information systems

These majors prepare you for the job market by teaching you skills that help you become a computer teacher. Computer teacher jobs want candidates with relevant teaching experience. They also want you to know computers inside and out because you’re teaching the next generation.

The most common undergraduate degree for computers is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science. Another option is a specialized CS bachelor’s degree (BSC).

Other Degrees for Computer Teacher Jobs

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT)
  • Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (​AMCS)
  • Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering (B.Tech)
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Computer Science (BSE or BEng with CS).

These degrees can help you become a computer teacher. They can also give you a strong foundation for graduate school if you decide you want to get a master’s degree. These bachelor’s degree programs can leverage your resumé and help you stand out against your competitors.

What About a Degree in Education?

Computer teacher jobs are open to recent college graduates with a degree in education. You can choose to major or minor in education. You also earn a bachelor’s degree in education with a certification in:

  • Computer engineering
  • Computer hardware
  • Computer software engineering
  • Information technology

For high school teachers, you can major in the subject you want to teach. But this depends on the state you live and/or want to teach. Some states demand subject-specific exams for teaching licensure. It is easier to pass these exams when you major and earn your bachelor’s degree in the subject area.

But as long as you supplement your education with computer courses, there’s nothing wrong with earning a BA in Education (BAEd). This degree will give you classroom experience and the computer skills you need for the teaching exam and career.

Education Minor

An education minor means you can major in something other than education. For computer teachers, this is a good option. It is common for computer teachers who teach in an elementary school, middle school, or high school.

As long as you get plenty of computer lab and classroom management experience, you can major in any subject and minor in education. But remember, some states have certain requirements. Find out what your state requires before you declare your major and minor.

Dual Degree Option

Another option is a dual degree. You can earn two degrees at the same time. Computer teachers can earn a degree in education and computers, without prioritizing one subject over the other.

This pathway is not common, but can help you stand out above your competition. It is also a good choice for college students who are unsure if a computer teacher is the career they want to stay in until retirement. Earning a second degree gives you options.

high school teacher

Teacher Computers – Does a Master’s Degree Help?

A master’s degree can help leverage your degree. It can lead to advancement opportunities and a higher staring salary.

If you majored in computer science without much focus on education, you can round out your skill set with a Master of Education (MEd) degree. This degree program is for working professionals who want to advance in their career as a teacher or administrator. An MEd program covers topics in:

  • Administration
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Educational leadership

There are many different specializations you can also earn with this degree. A computer teacher can get a specialization in media and technology or curriculum design.

If you majored in education, you can counterbalance the general degree by earning a Master of Computer Science (MCS).

Master’s Degree Computer Skills

This degree will give you training in subjects like:

  • Computer networks
  • Computing skills
  • Database management
  • Programming
  • Software development

Some MCS programs have specializations in teaching. These specializations group between K-12 teaching and teaching for adults as part of workplace training.

Master’s Degree in Computers and Education

Computer science teachers can get a Master of Science (MS) in Computer Education. This degree is like the education computer program at the undergraduate level. It combines education topics with computers. But it explores advanced topics in:

  • Practices
  • Relevant theories
  • Skills

Computer teachers who have finished their bachelor’s program will have relevant coursework and knowledge to build on. You need this coursework to meet the requirements of the graduate degree program. But some schools offer a master’s program on a contingency basis. This means that you can enroll on a contingency basis without meeting all prerequisites.

Advantages of a Graduate Degree

The advantages of a graduate degree range from higher earnings to career advancement. If you want to get your master’s in education or computers, you should. A computer teacher with an advanced degree can earn $10,000 more per year than a computer teacher with only a bachelor’s.

Teacher Certification Requirements

A computer teacher with an undergraduate or graduate degree needs certification to teach in their state. Since every state has different requirements for their computer teachers, you need to find out what your state wants.

There are about 20 states where a computer teacher can’t certify in computers. But a general Praxis exam does the trick. A Praxis examination is the official, industry-recognized teacher certification exam that’s needed for licensure in the United States. There are several different tests, including the comprehensive “Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators” exam. There are also more specialized “Praxis Subject Assessments” that cover specific subjects a computer teacher needs. These include:

  • English
  • Math
  • Technology education

In the 30 states that do offer computer certificates or endorsements in CS, computer teachers schedule both a Praxis examination and a test for their particular program. Both exams test your knowledge of things like:

  • Internet infrastructure
  • Personal computers
  • Programming languages

Aspiring teachers also show their understanding of childhood development and best practices for teaching.

With these tests completed, computer teachers then wait for a final score from the organization administering the exam. Each state has a qualifying score needed for official teacher certification.

Alternative Teaching Certification for Computer Teachers

While standards are high for teacher education, some states make it possible to become a high school computer science teacher without years of schooling or training. This option helps teachers who want to make career changes. It also helps those with relevant work experience who lack official qualifications.

To follow this path, look for alternative teaching certifications. These certifications help you transition into a teaching career quickly and easily. You don’t have to spend four to six years in a bachelor’s or master’s program. And some alternative teaching programs center around computer science.

Most alternative teaching programs do demand a degree, but any discipline will do. A computer teacher takes teaching courses and passes either the Praxis or another teaching exam administered by the state.

Some states with teacher shortages offer stipends for a computer teacher willing to become certified through this alternative track.

computer teacher in high school

Continuing Education Requirements for Computer Teachers

Most states have continuing education (CE) requirements for computer teachers and professionals. You’re not finished when you get your license. Computer teachers must show an ongoing competence in their content areas.

They should have a general knowledge of:

  • Industry breakthroughs and developments
  • Practices
  • Standards

All teachers must meet CE requirements. But for computer teachers, this demand is especially important. Why? Because technology evolves.

Types of Continuing Education

Continuing education can take many forms. Computer teachers meet demands by completing:

  • Online classroom practicums
  • Self-paced courses
  • Workshops

Some courses focus on review. They help a computer teacher refresh what they’ve already learned. Other courses teach new concepts. They can address educational issues of modern society and culture or focus on diversity initiatives.

But continuing education requirements are not the same everywhere. Type, length, and frequency can vary by states. They can also vary by districts within states. On average, teaching professionals should expect to spend about 100 hours in continuing education every five years. The Praxis exam for a computer teacher expires after 10 years.

Benefits of Continuing Education for a Computer Teacher

There are many continuing education programs out there for aspiring teachers. Computer science teachers can benefit from meeting CE requirements. These benefits help a computer teacher:

  • Earn their credentials
  • Further their understanding of the classroom
  • Keep a competitive edge when applying for new computer teacher jobs

From general skills to learning how to handle parent teacher conferences, continuing education can help any computer teacher.

Job Outlook for a Computer Teacher

High school teacher computers and technology should see a 5% employment growth over the next several years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 5% growth in jobs for all high school teachers. The growth rate results in 77,900 openings for teachers in high school each year through 2031.

Teachers, in general, see a good job growth over the next decade. So, now is a good time to find a computer teacher position in an elementary school or high school. As states push for STEM studies in schools, districts will have job openings for computer science teachers.

But to qualify for computer and technology teaching jobs, you need to have training in relevant subjects like:

  • Computer programming
  • Computer science
  • Engineering
  • Technology
  • Web development

With one of these degrees, you qualify for computer teacher jobs in your state. But remember, state requirements vary. A computer teacher should check requirements before starting a major. And be sure to learn other valuable skills in classroom management.

BDP Staff
February 2023

Related Resources:

This concludes our article on the best degree for computer science teachers.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris