Secondary school teachers work with students from Grades 8 to 12. They teach academic, technical, career preparation and elective subjects.
This group includes department heads.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 7,180
In general, secondary school teachers:
They may also:
Most secondary school teachers specialize in a subject area. They may focus on mathematics, social studies, English, French, sciences, physical education, career preparation, or English language learning (ELL) instruction. Some teach elective subjects such as music, drama, art or photography. Others teach job-related skills such as carpentry, drafting, auto mechanics, cooking or hairdressing. Still others offer special education to students with special needs.
Secondary school teachers work in public and private secondary schools. They may also work for technical institutes, vocational schools or language schools. They teach in classrooms, labs, libraries, workshops, gymnasiums or cafeterias. Some classes take place in the community or outdoors.
Most teachers work a 10-month school year, with two months off in July and August. They also have holidays over winter and spring break.
Teachers often spend time outside of regular school hours preparing lessons, grading assignments, coaching sports teams, hosting student clubs and doing administrative work. Total number of hours vary from teacher to teacher.
Teaching can be stressful, and working with youth can be challenging. Long periods of standing and speaking can lead to back and voice problems. Science labs and shop classes can also pose danger.
Secondary school teachers use technology to develop and give lessons, receive assignments, take attendance, grade work and communicate with students and parents.
Source: 2016 Census
To teach academic subjects, secondary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree in education. Most teachers earn this after getting a bachelor’s degree in the arts or sciences. Teachers must also have a provincial teaching certificate.
Secondary school teachers must be familiar with technology such as Microsoft Teams, G Suite and Google Classroom. Experience working with youth, such as coaching or community mentoring, is also very helpful.
Other requirements vary depending on the teacher’s area of focus. These include:
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
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Teaching duties are evolving. More online resources are being used, and more focus is being placed on personalized learning and on developing students’ intellectual, personal and social skills.
With many teachers retiring and classroom size decreasing, B.C. has a shortage of trained teachers. Demand is especially high in northern B.C. and other rural areas.
Teachers who specialize in advanced math, physics, chemistry, French and French immersion are in demand throughout the province. Those who teach business education, technology education, home economics, special needs and English language learning (ELL) also have good job prospects. And the increase in career training programs means new openings for teachers of business office management, agricultural technology, food services, restaurant and hotel service and management, applied physics, environmental studies, construction, drafting, mechanics, textile and clothing production, health and social services.
Some new graduates secure teaching contracts right away. But many begin their careers as full- or part-time teachers teaching on call (TTOCs). TTOCs fill in for teachers who are absent, whether for a few hours, a few days, or while taking maternity leave or sabbatical.
New teachers usually teach junior-level courses. Those with experience often take on more senior courses. They may also have other responsibilities, including acting as department heads or program co-ordinators, or leading staff or district committees.
Teachers with experience and more education may move on to positions such as school counsellors or teacher-librarians. Some may advance into roles as education consultants, vice-principals or principals. Or they may become superintendents, specialists or senior managers at the school district level.