With the advent of big data, artificial intelligence and other technology, the need for qualified STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professionals is growing. In a 2017 spotlight, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 28.2% growth rate for STEM jobs from 2014 to 2024, more than four times the average growth rate for most occupations at just 6.5%.
Other fast-growing careers in STEM include positions in postsecondary education and STEM-related management. BLS placed the growth rate for these occupations between 10 and 13%. Furthermore, almost half a million new jobs will be added in computer occupations between 2014 and 2024.
How to Become a More Qualified Science Teacher
Captivating student interest in STEM begins in school. For students to get the most rigorous STEM education, schools must have high-quality teachers.
Since the need for STEM-related postsecondary teachers is growing, there may be an opportunity for science teachers to advance their careers by enhancing their curriculum development skills. They may also consider teaching other science-related subjects to expand their reach and enjoy more variety in their school day.
Another option is to become a curriculum specialist. Some school districts have teachers in dual roles, where they help develop curriculum for the school or district while continuing to work in the classroom.
Transitioning into a curriculum specialist role may lead to a salary increase. BLS data shows that the median pay for high school teachers was $61,660 per year in 2019. The required level of education to become a high school teacher is usually only a bachelor’s degree. The median pay for instructional coordinators, on the other hand, was $66,290 with top earners making more than $103K, and the role typically requires a master’s degree.
In addition to calling for a master’s degree for instructional coordinator and curriculum developer jobs, some districts may require a state-issued license. Science teachers interested in these jobs will want to research their state’s licensing requirements as well as look for graduate programs that focus on science curriculum and instruction, such as a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Science.
How Science Teachers Can Dive Into Curriculum Development
Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction – Science is a 100% online program. Teachers have the flexibility to complete the program at their own pace. Instead of commuting to on-campus classes, they can use the time to study. It is possible to finish the program in as few as 12 months.
Students enrolled in the M.Ed. C&I – Science program learn how to design and implement science curriculum that stirs students’ interests. They also learn how to develop standards-based assessments to measure student knowledge and progress.
An M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction – Science typically has two components: the core courses and the science specialty courses. The core courses address general education topics that are vital to all subjects, such as education research, philosophy of education, teaching strategies, culturally responsive learning, school law and learning technologies.
Science specialty courses explore earth, space, life and physical sciences. Students will also learn the fundamentals of curriculum development and foundations of the STEM classroom. Graduates of this program will be prepared to advance their careers within the school walls and beyond.