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Teaching Science

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:07 pm
by kelli phan
How does elementary science education affect future science career?

Teaching Science

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:35 am
by Dave Jensen
While I am not certain what you are getting at here Kelli, it appears to me that there is a great relationship between elementary school science education and later success in a science job. Many people report that they got interested in science "way back" and this often has to do with a wonderful science teacher.

Unfortunately, some of the goofy images we throw at kids regarding "scientists" don't make doing science "cool." For example, that stupid looking Bill Nye the Science Guy? Or those mad scientists who are always the bad guy in movies?

If you are interested in supporting a wonderful non-profit which does work with elementary school science education, including producing brochures and pamphlets that are just super for young kids, see the Biotechnology Institute.

Dave Jensen, Moderator

Teaching Science

PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2004 1:13 pm
by Todd Quinton
I am currently a research faculty member who is interested in shifting careers slightly from performing basic science research at a university to teaching science at a small/community college or perhaps even high school. Would anyone happen to know of any resources that would facilitate such a shift? Any help would be appreciated.


Teaching Science in High School

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:28 am
by Joyce
I recently was downsized from my industry job and have investigated becoming a high school biology teacher. I will share what I have learned thus far.

First, you need to contact your state?s Department of Education to find their requirements for teaching in the public schools. What follows is the process in place in New Jersey.

There are two routes to teaching in NJ. In the traditional route, you get either a BS or MS in education and do supervised student teaching while still in college. When you are through with college, you can be hired as a teacher. In what is called the alternate route, you enter the teaching field without any prior education courses or student teaching experience. You begin as a ?provisional teacher? with a mentor (costing $1000) to guide you. You also take education classes during the evening. After one year of successful provisional teaching and successful completion of the education classes, you can become certified as a teacher.

In order to seek employment as an alternate route teacher, you first need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) from the state. A school district cannot hire you (nor will they interview you) unless you have a CE. To obtain the CE, you need to take one or more Praxis exams that your state may require (see It will cost you several hundred dollars to take the exams but they are quite easy. You also need to have a BS in the subject you plan to teach (with a GPA of at least 2.75, I think), with at least 30 credits in that subject. You then submit an application for the CE to the state, along with a $170 fee. Historically, in NJ, it has taken about a year (yes, a year) to get a CE issued. You need to be very patient.

Once you obtain your alternate route CE, you can apply for teaching positions. However, most school districts avoid hiring alternate route teachers because of the extra administrative hassle. Typically, alternate route candidates only are hired to teach subjects for which traditionally trained teachers are not available. If your CE is in Math or Physical Science, you have a decent chance of finding a job outside of urban areas. If your CE is in Biology, jobs are not as plentiful, but you may be able to find something in an urban high school. Your chances of getting a job are improved if you have experience working with teenagers, such as gained through coaching or being a scout leader. University teaching experience generally means little to public school districts.

The starting salary for public school teachers in NJ with an MS ranges from $42K to $47K (I believe NJ has the second highest salaries in the US). Generally, the salary is uniform across subjects and experience levels; i.e., previous experience in scientific research does not earn one a higher salary over what a newly graduated student would get.