Teaching Middle School: Make a Life-Long, Positive Impact on Adolescents

Teaching Middle School

Although most of us may cringe to remember middle school or junior high, these years can actually be an exciting part of development. During grades six through nine, students stand on the threshold of adulthood, discovering themselves and exploring their growing personalities. Talented junior and middle school teachers revel in this energy everyday and often find that facilitating such immense growth can be one of the most rewarding teaching careers around.

Typical Coursework

Whereas elementary education majors learn to be general educators, middle and junior high school teachers serve more as specialists and must know their subjects more in depth. Aspiring middle and junior high school teachers must major in the subject they plan to teach, in addition to taking general education courses (such as Early Adolescent Learners, Health and Safety Issues, Philosophy of Curriculum, and Instruction for Teaching Diverse Classrooms). Over the course of a four-year bachelor's degree program, you'll gain experience in real world classroom environments. Most programs require students to complete a student-teaching internship (usually a semester or more), summer teaching jobs and/or extensive classroom observation and reporting.

Teaching Requirements

A bachelor degree isn't the only ticket you need to get into a middle or junior high school classroom. Teaching certification and licensure are also required and differ by state. While some states require a bachelor's degree as a minimum for employment, others mandate a post-baccalaureate program or master's degree. Additionally, you may need to pass a state test or the PRAXIS exam (the typical educational testing tool). Be certain to check your state's licensing requirements before planning your career path.


Middle and junior high schools often hire secondary education majors fresh out of college, making middle and junior high school teaching a career you can get started on right away. With a master's or additional teaching certificates, middle school teachers can also pursue careers as school librarians, reading specialists, principals, or guidance counselors.