Teaching is an enriching, in-demand career, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that high school teacher employment will grow by 8% between 2016 and 2026, which is slightly above the average growth rate for all other occupations. In 2017, high school teachers earned a median salary of $59,170, well above the national median salary of $37,690.
Math literacy is a vital life skill that expands students' horizons in innovative fields such as computer science and engineering. To pursue a career that is both personally and professionally enriching, consider obtaining a bachelor's in math education.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Math Education?
If you're passionate about both teaching and mathematics, you would benefit from a bachelor's degree in math education. Math teaching programs teach basic pedagogy and learning theory, plus fundamental math topics including algebra, geometry, calculus, and trigonometry. Students learn about fundamental and advanced topics in math, along with the basics of classroom management, lesson design, and learning theory. Math teaching programs provide students with many opportunities to network with faculty and peers, plus internship experience. The skills gained from a math teaching degree make graduates competitive candidates for work at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.
Distance learners can pursue their degrees online through flexible online courses. Online math teaching degrees particularly appeal to working professionals with limited budgets, who are looking for a career change. These types of students may also want to apply prior credits toward their degrees to graduate faster. On-campus degrees, on the other hand, may appeal more to recent high school graduates who want to transition directly to a teaching position after earning their bachelor's. On-campus programs also provide students with more in-person networking opportunities and freedom to choose electives.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Math Education?
Math teaching graduates are equipped to teach children in K-12 grade levels. Each state has its own licensing requirements for teachers, but most call for a bachelor's degree. Graduates who want to work in a high-energy atmosphere with energetic kids might pursue an elementary teaching career. Those who are prepared to work with older students and spend their weekends grading assignments may fit well in a high school environment. Likewise, graduates interested in middle- to higher-level mathematics might prefer a career in secondary education.
- High School Teacher
In high school, math teachers tackle middle- to advanced-level subjects including geometry, trigonometry and calculus. On a typical day, you might deliver lectures, facilitate group work, and administer tests for several different subjects. High school teachers often spend their weekends grading papers or designing lesson plans.
Median Annual Salary: $59,170*
- Middle School Teacher
Math teachers in middle school may teach middle-level subjects such as algebra, statistics, and graphing data. They instruct students from sixth through eighth grade. You might spend a typical day lecturing, challenging students to work in groups, and administering tests for several different subjects.
Median Annual Salary: $57,720*
- Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher
In kindergarten and elementary school, math teachers may focus more on designing lesson plans to engage their younger students in a fun and educational manner, along with maintaining classroom discipline. They teach basic subjects such as arithmetic and pre-algebra up to sixth grade.
Median Annual Salary: $56,900*
- Teacher Assistant
Prospective teachers can work as classroom assistants prior to receiving licensure. Teacher assistant positions only require an associate degree, but a bachelor's in mathematics would make it easier for teacher assistants to work in advanced K-12 topics, or even as assistants at the postsecondary level.
Median Annual Salary: $26,260*
- Career and Technical Education Teacher
Career and technical education teachers work in public schools and technical colleges, teaching life skills and trades. Most schools require a bachelor's degree for these positions.
Median Annual Salary: $55,240*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Math Education Program
When choosing a math teaching degree, make sure to consider practical issues. Most bachelor's degrees take four years to obtain, but part-time students may need more time to obtain their degrees. Working professionals might need to stick with a part-time course load. Moreover, you should look into your potential programs' curricula before making a decision.
Some programs may not offer the focus or specialization you need, and internship requirements may vary between programs as well, as might written thesis or practicum stipulations. Take cost into account, as well, and consider the potential savings offered by online programs.
Take special care regarding your program's accreditation status. Regional accreditation guarantees an institution's quality of education, plus the transferability of its credits. The location of your program also matters in case you need to complete on-campus requirements. Geographical location may also affect employment opportunities and housing costs.
Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor's in Math Education Programs
Program-specific accreditation is especially relevant in fields such as medical services, health services, and law. In programmatic accreditation, a national standard-bearing organization evaluates programs from schools and other institutions to make sure they meet certain standards for content and instruction for certain specialized fields.
Many math teaching degrees, particularly online programs, come with programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Regional accreditation is still important in the math teaching field, but CAEP accreditation shows that a program maintains standards for educator preparation. CAEP maintains relationships with a number of state education departments; many states hold standards in line with the CAEP's and some actually require licensed teachers to attend a program with CAEP accreditation. Pay close attention to program accreditation and your state's standards to avoid wasting time and money at an improperly accredited school.
Bachelor's in Math Education Program Admissions
When applying for on-campus programs, consider that your prospective schools may expect to hold an in-person interview. On the other hand, the admissions process for online programs is often even more involved, since some may require admission to the regular on-campus school in addition to the online program.
Most candidates apply to between four and eight schools. Applying to too many schools may overextend you, whereas too few might be risky. Assess each prospective program's cost, length, and viability before applying, and prioritize accreditation. Also make sure each school offers a curriculum that interests you, has requirements in line with your expectations, and comes with an affordable price tag.
- Minimum GPA: Most schools require a minimum GPA of 2.0 for undergraduate admissions. Some schools may waive this requirement for students who can show exceptional standardized test scores.
- Application: Complete the core application, which typically asks for basic personal information and details on your education plans. This process typically takes an hour, but can take less time through standardized application forms like CommonApp.
- Transcripts: Undergraduate applications usually require official high school transcripts, plus relevant college transcripts. You must apply with a transcript request and pay a small fee.
- Letters of Recommendation: You must usually provide one or two letters of recommendation, ideally from academic or career mentors. Make sure to give your prospective letter writers plenty of notice.
- Test Scores: You need to take either the ACT or SAT. Required test scores vary between schools, but most expect scores higher than 1000 on the SAT or 15 on the ACT.
- Application Fee: Most schools require an application fee of around $40. This may be waived if you take the SAT with a test fee waiver.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Math Education Program?
Some bachelor's in math education programs offer a math concentration within a secondary education bachelor's, while others may offer a teaching concentration within a mathematics bachelor of science. Some programs may offer more advanced electives or concentrations. These specifics depend on the specific school and program.
|Secondary Education||A math major with a concentration in secondary education prepares you specifically for a career as a high school or middle school math teacher. In this program, you learn about classroom management strategies, plus learning theories more relevant to older students. You also learn geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and algebra.||High school math teacher, middle school math teacher|
|Elementary Education||An elementary education major with a concentration in math gives a grounding in learning theories and classroom management strategies applicable to all K-6 education levels. You learn about childhood development and psychology in addition to algebra and geometry, gaining knowledge of how to ethically guide children's behavior and effectively facilitate learning.||Kindergarten and elementary school teacher|
|Probability and Statistics||In a probability and statistics concentration within a math major, you study the mathematics of chance and organizing data through different analytical and collecting methods. High school students interested in this concentration should take trigonometry as a prerequisite. This degree serves as preparation for careers in analysis and engineering.||Actuarial scientist, biostatistician, business analyst, data analyst, software engineer|
|Applied Mathematics||Applied mathematics studies the practical usage of mathematics in fields such as physics, engineering, and computer science. In this field, you learn how to employ mathematical tools such as differential equations to problem-solve for practical purposes. This concentration prepares students for work in research, business, and engineering.||Research assistant, business analyst, data analyst, software engineer, postsecondary teacher|
|Pure Mathematics||A concentration in pure mathematics might serve as a fitting introduction for someone interested in pursuing graduate work to become a postsecondary teacher. A pure mathematics concentration offers courses in differential equations, linear algebra, and mathematical analysis, taking a more in-depth look at complex topics independent of direct application.||Researcher, postsecondary teacher|
Courses in a Bachelor's in Math Education Program
Depending on the school and degree title, coursework for your math teaching degree will vary. Some may delve deeper than others, featuring more advanced electives in mathematics or topics such as psychology. However, the following courses appear consistently between programs:
- Early Adolescent and Young Adult Psychology
This course prepares you for secondary school education by giving you an overview of young adult psychological development. Learners leave with a clearer perspective on how secondary school students' minds work, and with a clearer idea of how to communicate effectively with their future students.
- Classroom Engagement Strategies
This course provides students with strategies on effective communication within the classroom as a whole. Course topics may include facilitating discussions, utilizing technology effectively, and overseeing group work. Students gain perspective on a number of engagement activities and tools they can use to ensure maximum class engagement.
- Classroom Management and Conflict Resolution
Students in this course learn how to effectively resolve conflicts and keep lessons on topic. Course topics may include the ethics of classroom management and strategies for dealing with emergency situations. Students leave the course knowing how to maintain order and de-escalate potentially unsafe situations.
- Teaching High School Math
Schools offer this course to students with a secondary education major or concentration and a specific interest in teaching high school. The course tells teachers what to expect from their students' progress in concepts such as algebra and precalculus, and how to effectively communicate and use learning technology.
This course gives an advanced look at calculus, the study of the findings and properties of integrals and differentials of functions, for math majors. Most math and science-related majors require calculus. College calculus courses inform your teaching practice for common high school courses such as precalculus.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Math Education?
A typical bachelor's in math education takes four years and 120 to 125 semester hours to complete. Several factors may affect how long it takes to obtain a math teaching degree. Programs with a thesis or capstone assignment may take more time to complete. Students transferring credits from an associate degree can complete their bachelor's in much less time than usual. On the other hand, part-time students might take much longer to complete their degrees, and their programs potentially cost more. However, a working professional's schedule may not accommodate a full-time course load, which may necessitate taking fewer classes.
Online programs may also take less time to complete than on-campus ones. In fact, some online programs allow students to take accelerated versions, which can take as little as two years to complete.
How Much Is a Bachelor's in Math Education?
A number of factors can affect the cost of a degree. These include out-of-state tuition rates, the length of the program, and the level of the degree. The cost of a college degree runs between $5,000 and $50,000. Public schools usually charge far less for tuition than private institutions, many public schools offer a significantly lower rate for in-state students.
The more time you spend on a degree, the more costly that degree may be. Students must also consider housing costs, plus expenses related to technology, textbooks, and commute expenses. Fortunately, online programs do not entail these other costs since distance students can work from home.
The overall cost of a bachelor's degree in math education varies depending on the school. For instance, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's bachelor's in math education boasts an in-state tuition of $7,094, while the City University of Seattle's costs $14,880. On average, a bachelor's degree in math education costs between $5,000 and $15,000.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Math Education Prepares For
- Teaching Licensure
Different states implement different licensing standards, but most require you obtain a bachelor's degree to qualify for licensure. You must then take an internship through a state-approved teacher preparation program in order to sit for the state-required exam for licensure.
Resources for Math Education Students
CAEP is the main programmatic accrediting body for educator preparation programs. The organization's website offers a number of digital resources for students, plus biannual conferences for educator preparation providers.
The Boston-based math and science EDC is a nonprofit, advocating for affordable education worldwide. The EDC also offers a resource library, including relevant books, research reports, and digital games.
The AMW, founded in 1971, advocates for and offers a number of resources to female students interested in science and mathematics, including the Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize scholarship rewarding excellence in math.
WMEF advocates for mathematics education in Wisconsin. The organization offers a number of resources, including the Arne Engebretsen Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship tailors to high school students looking to major in math education.
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program offers awards of up to $10,000 for students pursuing careers teaching mathematics or science to K-12 students. Students need not reside in any particular state for eligibility.
Professional Organizations in Math Education
Professional organizations offer their members opportunities for networking, mentorship, and community engagement. Job support from online job boards could also help recent graduates and experienced veterans in their search. Additionally, these professional organizations will often offer opportunities for continuing education in the form of webinars, online courses, and publications.
The NCTM offers a career center, conferences, and continuing education opportunities. The organization maintains a number of publications on math education, including Mathematics Teacher and the Middle School and Mathematics Teacher Educator.
The ATM, founded in 1952, promotes excellence in math education. It offers resources, such as professional development events, in the form of its annual Easter conferences and events at local chapters.
The AMS provides a network of community resources for professionals in the field of mathematics through its publications, conferences, and professional services. The organization's website also offers a job search assistance service, free of charge.
The MAA, founded in 1915, advocates for the advancement of mathematical knowledge. The organization also offers a number of curriculum resources for math teachers on its website, called Classroom Capsules.
The NCSM advocates for leadership in math education. The organization offers a number of continuing education opportunities for math educators, including an annual conference and webinars.