How to Become a
Computer Science Teacher
Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications
Thanks to advancements in technology, computer science is one of the fastest-growing fields. More industries are switching gears and making computer literacy a mandatory job requirement. The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) projects an 11 percent employment growth in the computer and information technology industry. These industries will create an estimated 531,200 new jobs.
That means computer science classes are becoming essential in schools. Middle school and high school students learn computer programming languages to prepare for university and professional development. The demand for computer and information technology skills has also led to an increase in computer science teacher jobs.
Working as a computer science teacher is an excellent career choice. But do you know how to become a computer science teacher? Read on to discover all the necessary steps.
What Is a Computer Science Teacher?
Computer science teachers guide students on the ins and outs of computer and information technology. They help students learn computer programming languages and teach about hardware and software. Middle school students are taught the basics. The curriculum gets more complex as students enter high school and higher learning institutions.
As you learn more about becoming a computer science teacher, you should consider if you’re interested in teaching at the middle school, high school, or university level.
What Does a Computer Science Teacher Do?
Computer science teachers develop a curriculum that focuses on all aspects of computer science. They play a significant role in familiarizing students with computer programs and new technology. They also teach students how to handle hardware and software programming.
We will expand on some of these responsibilities below.
Develops the Curriculum
Computer science teachers are responsible for developing the curriculum of the computer science program. With this curriculum, the teacher can track student progress. This curriculum changes according to the school level. For example, middle school students only learn the basics of computer science.
As students advance into high school, the curriculum tackles more complicated topics. A high school computer science teacher delves deeper into computer programs, programming languages such as Python, and information technology. These teachers help develop the computer literacy that students need to successfully join today’s workforce.
Gives Career Advice
Giving career advice is also an important part of the job. This guidance is particularly vital for high school students as they prepare for entry into higher learning institutions or trade school or get ready to join the workforce. Computer science teachers help students identify the different career paths they can pursue.
Exams help school teachers track student progress. Computer science teachers are responsible for preparing exams that complement the curriculum. Students take several assessment tests throughout the term before sitting for the main exam. As a computer science teacher, you will be in charge of creating and administering all these exams.
General Teaching Tasks
On top of extensive computer science knowledge, you’ll need the same skills as any school teacher. Regardless of what they teach, school teachers have myriad tasks, such as tracking attendance, providing class materials, assigning homework, and reviewing student performance.
To become a computer science teacher you need, at the very minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Postsecondary teachers are usually required to have a master’s degree or doctorate. You’ll also need a teaching license from the state you plan to teach in.
Some school teachers enroll in computer science bootcamps and other online courses to keep their skills sharp. Below we go into each education pathway in more detail.
You can start your career as a teacher assistant, a position that requires only an associate degree. An Associate Degree in Computer Science takes two years to complete.
A high school computer science teacher will need a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, which takes around four years. To teach at a university, you will need a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. The highest level of education a computer science teacher can attain is a doctoral degree.
Computer science bootcamps are more popular than ever. Bootcamp courses can be completed in a short period of time, but their intensive training thoroughly prepares students for the job market.
Boocamps offer programs on a plethora of subjects, with some of the most popular ones being coding, data science, cyber security, DevOps, and app development. These bootcamps equip you with the skills that matter in this ever-changing industry.
A coding bootcamp is a great way to build a solid foundation in computer science. You’ll learn about web development, programming languages, data structures, and software programs. Actualize, Code Fellows, and Ironhack are among the best coding bootcamps out there.
Education doesn’t end with a degree or bootcamp. There is always more to learn, particularly in the fast-changing computer science sector. Online courses can help you tap into this knowledge and expand your expertise in this field. Remember that keeping up-to-date with the latest trends will give you access to better jobs and higher salaries.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are the best way to enhance your expertise. Providers of MOOCs include popular learning platforms such as edX, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning.
How to Become a Computer Science Teacher: A Step-by-Step Guide
The best way to become a computer science teacher is by getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree. That is the primary job requirement for most computer science teachers. There are many paths that lead to a career as a computer science teacher, but here we present you with one of the most common ones.
Get a degree
You can start with an associate or bachelor’s degree. An associate degree only allows you to apply for entry-level jobs. If you want to become a computer science teacher, you’ll need to pursue a bachelor’s degree. University lecturers need a master’s degree or doctorate.
Join a bootcamp
As a computer science teacher, your curriculum must be as relevant to today’s world as possible, and coding bootcamps are a great way to learn the latest trends in the industry. Although not a requirement for the job, it is always a good idea to join a bootcamp to sharpen your skills in information technology and computer programming.
Get an entry-level job
Entry-level jobs are an excellent way to gain experience and practice what you learned in school. Many teaching programs require prospective teachers to work as teacher assistants before graduation.
Take online courses
MOOCs will expand your skillset, enabling you to apply for better jobs. Research different MOOC providers and find one that appeals to you.
Get a license
Licensing is mandatory for all teachers in the United States. Find out the steps you need to follow to acquire a license in your state. Depending on the state, a teaching license might also be known as a teaching certification, qualification, or credential.
Get additional certification
Aside from state licensing, there are other voluntary certifications that computer science teachers can get. The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers certification to show you meet a rigorous set of professional standards.
Top Computer Science Teacher Skills
All computer science teachers must have skills in mathematics, planning, programming, and troubleshooting. You need to think fast, be a problem-solver, and be able to prepare engaging teaching materials for your students.
Below is a list of the most important skills for a computer science teacher.
This position requires knowledge of hardware and software programs. You need to know how to write code in different programming languages and understand how software functions.
Planning and Organizational Skills
Teachers need top-notch planning skills to create lesson plans and exam timetables and develop the curriculum. In addition, good planning and organizational skills help you monitor student performance.
Advanced Mathematics Skills
Math plays a significant role in computer programming. You’ll teach students how to use programming languages, work with algorithms, and solve complex problems. Students develop critical thinking by working on their computational skills. As a computer science teacher, mathematics must be one of your fortes.
Active Listening Skills
Computer science teaching also involves listening and addressing your students’ needs. The support you lend your students can help them thrive. This makes being a good listener and communicator essential.
Computer Science Teacher Salary and Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labour Statistics does not provide employment and salary figures for computer science teachers specifically. However, it estimates that the overall number of postsecondary teaching positions will expand by 9 percent by 2029. This is described as “much faster than average.”
According to PayScale, the median yearly salary for a computer science teacher is around $60,000. However, this number can go over $100,000, depending on your qualifications.
- Minimum salary: $37,000
- Median salary: $60,116
- Maximum salary: $104,000
Entry-Level Computer Science Teacher Job Requirements
To aid a computer science teacher in the classroom as a teacher assistant, you’ll need an associate degree or bootcamp education. These qualifications make you eligible for a middle school job. As an entry-level professional, you’ll earn around $37,000.
How to Prepare for Your Computer Science Teacher Job Interview
Preparing for an interview can be nerve-wracking. Thoroughly researching your potential employer, preparing the documentation you’ll be bringing along, and practicing common interview questions can make the interview less stressful. Below is a list of common interview questions for this position.
Computer Science Teacher Job Interview Practice Questions
- How do you rate your knowledge of current computer science trends?
- How do you monitor students and enforce rules in the classroom?
- How do you ensure good student performance?
- Which programming languages do you know?
Computer Science Teacher Certifications
Aside from state licensing, certification isn’t mandatory for computer science teaching roles. However, the right certification can take your career to the next level and give you access to better jobs. Likewise, the process of certification can enhance your expertise in the field. Below, we tell you more about one of the main voluntary certifications for computer science teachers.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)
NBPTS certification demonstrates that your teaching adheres to the highest standards. This certification is available for K-12 teachers, so it is ideal if you are teaching at a middle or high school level.
To qualify, you must be a licensed teacher with a bachelor’s degree. You must also have at least three years of computer science teaching experience. There are over 20 specializations under this certification.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Computer Science Teacher?
It takes a minimum of four years to become a computer science teacher because this is how long it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree. However, you can begin your career as a teacher assistant with a two-year associate degree. Remember that to teach at any school in the US you need a teaching license.
You can always further your education through online degree courses and computer science bootcamps. To become a lecturer at a university, you will need a master’s degree or a PhD.
Why You Should Become a Computer Science Teacher in 2021
Becoming a computer science teacher in 2021 is a good move. Every industry relies on computer programs in one way or another. This means the world is in constant need of educators to help children and young adults develop computer literacy. If you are looking for a fulfilling career, becoming a computer science teacher is a good idea.
Computer Science Teacher FAQ
Yes, computer science teachers are in demand and will continue to be in the foreseeable future. Most jobs today require at least basic computer skills. This means there is always a need for educators to help children and young adults develop computer literacy.
Computer science teachers help students become computer-literate. They teach students programming languages, coding, and how to use software programs.
You can earn between $37,000 and $104,000 as a computer science teacher. The national average salary for this profession is around $60,000. Bootcamps, online courses, and higher education degrees can increase your salary prospects.
Employers look for skills in computer programming, analytical thinking, planning, and organization. You also need to be an active listener and have patience.