What is the Best Degree for Becoming a High School Math Teacher?

What is the Best Degree for Becoming a High School Math Teacher

There is a fairly standard path for becoming a high school math teacher in nearly every state. It’s a career graduates need a specific degree to enter. The education requirements especially flexible. Anyone wanting to enter this profession should understand what education credentials they will be required to have.


High school teachers are almost always required to hold a bachelor’s degree in the subject they want to teach. For math teachers, this is a degree in mathematics. A bachelor’s degree in this subject will teach students the basic principles of mathematics as well as advanced knowledge regarding different fields of mathematics such as:

  • trigonometry
  • calculus
  • algebra

Students may also be required to take courses in math-related computer science and statistics. Mathematics is a common degree and offered at most universities across the country. Many states require teachers to have earned their bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university. So it is important for students to know what is required before selecting a college program.


As an aspiring high school math teacher you could also choose to get a degree in education in addition to your degree in mathematics. This could be a double major or a minor. Getting a major will be more time-consuming than getting a minor but it can be appealing to employers due to the commitment displayed in the process. A minor in education will place math majors into the niche of teaching and train them in basic education principles.

Individuals who are certain they want to go into teaching will benefit from the specific training they receive while obtaining a degree in education. Education degrees teach students how to:

  • formulate lesson plans
  • adapt to the learning needs of different students
  • convey information to their pupils

Regardless of whether you pursue an education degree in addition to a math degree, you need to enroll in the teacher education program at your college. This usually includes a student teaching program.

Is A Graduate Degree Required?

Very few high school teaching positions require a master’s degree or a Ph.D. However, a master’s degree can give you an advantage over others when applying for a job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some states will require high school teachers to earn a master’s degree after becoming certified and getting a job. Some individual schools, especially private, prestigious schools with strong reputations, may require a master’s degree to considered you for a position. Students who may want to teach math at the university level someday will need to get a master’s degree or Ph.D.

Related Resource: 30 Great Small Colleges For A Teaching Degree

Becoming Licensed As A Teacher

Simply obtaining a degree in math or education does not qualify you to begin teaching. Some exceptions are given for private schools but in general, teachers must be certified by the state in which they wish to teach. Requirements usually include:

  • passing an exam
  • completing a student teaching program
  • paying a fee

Some states require teachers to be certified in emergency procedures or have a certain GPA. Some states have reciprocity agreements where certification in another state can satisfy some of the licensing requirements in the new state.

Becoming a math teacher at the high school level is fairly straightforward in general. Earning a degree in mathematics with additional training as a teacher will satisfy the basic requirements. Differences in getting started as a high school math teacher come down to requirements set by individual states.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris