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Secondary School Teacher

Secondary school teachers may be generalists or subject area specialists who provide instruction to young people in junior and senior high school (Grades 7 to 12).

Also Known As

Educator, High School Teacher, Instructor, Junior High School Teacher, Music Teacher, Physical Education Teacher, School Teacher, Teacher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 4141: Secondary School Teachers

2006 NOC-S

  • E131: Secondary School Teachers

2011 NOC

  • 4031: Secondary school teachers

2016 NOC

  • 4031: Secondary school teachers

2021 NOC

  • 41220: Secondary school teachers

2023 OaSIS

  • 41220.00: Secondary school teachers
Updated Mar 31, 2017

In general, secondary school teachers:

  • identify students’ individual and collective learning needs
  • plan and deliver instruction based on student learning needs and special needs
  • provide a stimulating learning environment in which each student can experience growth and develop to his or her potential
  • help students learn appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Secondary classes vary in size and are made up of students who represent a broad range of abilities, interests, needs and diversities. Teachers use various instructional techniques to engage students and maximize individual learning within a group teaching environment.

In addition to preparing and presenting lessons, secondary school teachers:

  • meet with parents
  • evaluate and communicate student progress
  • prepare and implement remedial programs for students requiring extra help
  • meet with other professionals to discuss individual student needs and progress
  • volunteer to supervise extracurricular and after-school activities
  • attend meetings, seminars and in-service training sessions.

Most of these additional duties occur after regular school hours and add considerable time to the working day. Some teaching specializations may concentrate on preparation and organization, while others may involve more marking or extracurricular involvement.

Secondary teachers in large urban schools often teach many classes in only 1 or 2 subject areas. In smaller rural schools and schools with a generalist approach, secondary teachers are required to teach a broader range of subjects and grades.

Academic specialists teach core courses such as English language arts and math. They prepare and present academic course content in a clear and creative way by using techniques and materials designed to motivate students. Their duties also may include:

  • laboratory preparation and the maintenance of laboratory materials
  • working with individuals or small groups of students who require additional help.

In addition to second languages taught as specific subjects, many schools offer language immersion programs at various levels. Bilingual and multilingual teachers may teach academic subjects in languages other than English.

English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Language Learners (ELL) teachers work with immigrant children whose English skills are insufficient for the regular classroom. The objective of an ESL or ELL program is to integrate students into mainstream classes by:

  • providing students with the necessary English vocabulary
  • assisting students with communication skills and strategies
  • helping students adjust to Canadian society.

Fine arts teachers usually are artists or performers in their own fields. For more information, see the Dancer, Instrumental Musician, Painter or Printmaker, Singer and Sculptor occupational profiles.

Career and technology studies teachers usually are specialists in their fields. For more information, see the Career and Technology Studies Teacher occupational profile.

Physical education teachers work toward enhancing the physical fitness and motor skill development of their students through recreational activities such as:

  • indoor and outdoor games
  • individual, dual and team sport activities
  • rhythmics and dance
  • tumbling and gymnastics
  • aquatics.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary

Secondary teachers spend most of their working day instructing classes. They may teach 150 or more students a day. The work can be demanding, requiring a great deal of physical, mental and emotional energy. Many hours are spent out of class working with individual students, preparing lessons and marking assignments.

Most secondary schools are well-equipped, attractive facilities with up-to-date audiovisual, language laboratory, computer and scientific equipment.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Secondary School Teachers

2006 NOC: 4141

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in participating in staff meetings, educational conferences and teacher training workshops; may advise students on course selection and on vocational and personal matters


Interest in co-ordinating information to prepare materials for academic, technical, vocational and specialized subjects and examinations, and to prepare and implement remedial programs for students requiring extra help


Interest in instructing students using a systematic plan of lectures, discussions, audio-visual presentations, and laboratory, shop and field studies; and in assigning and correcting homework, and administering and correcting examinations; may supervise student teachers

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Secondary school teachers need:

  • a genuine interest in and respect for young people
  • enthusiasm for their subject areas
  • good mental, emotional and physical health
  • tolerance and an appreciation of diverse cultures
  • strong leadership qualities
  • a clear speaking voice
  • excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills
  • creativity, imagination, patience, high energy and resourcefulness
  • the ability to establish rapport and enjoy contact with the public, especially parents.

They should enjoy finding different ways to solve questions and present information, and organizing and coordinating the work of others.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Secondary school teachers

2016 NOC: 4031

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 37 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 13, 2021 and Apr 18, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Certificates, Licences, Memberships, and Courses : Provincial or Territorial Teaching Certificate
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Construction Specialization: Team player
Security and Safety: Criminal record check
Tasks: Teach students through lectures, discussions, audio-visual presentations and laboratory, shop and field studies
Construction Specialization: Organized
Health benefits: Health care plan
Construction Specialization: Flexibility
Construction Specialization: Values and ethics
Construction Specialization: Excellent written communication
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

In Alberta, the minimum qualification required to teach in a secondary school is 4 years of post-secondary education leading to a bachelor of education (B.Ed.) degree.

Secondary education students in B.Ed. programs must choose at least 2 subject areas of concentration. Teaching particular subjects at the high school level may require specific courses. For example, post-secondary courses in geography are required to teach social studies.

Admission can be competitive and universities may give preference to those who have experience working with children in a leadership capacity. Valuable experience can be obtained from:

  • hospital volunteering
  • amateur sports coaching
  • teacher assistant work
  • working with youth in organized groups.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

St. Mary's University

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northwestern Polytechnic
Simon Fraser University
University of Alberta

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.


In Alberta, teachers in the K to 12 system work at the elementary (Kindergarten to Grade 6), junior high (Grades 7 to 9), or high school (Grades 10 to 12) levels. Elementary and junior high teachers are typically generalists. However, it is preferred that high school teachers have subject area expertise.


Under Alberta’s Education Act [pdf] and Certification of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation [pdf], school teachers must be certificated by the Government of Alberta.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Teacher.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Secondary teachers are employed in:

  • public and separate schools
  • private schools
  • hospitals
  • vocational schools and colleges.

With experience and further education, secondary school teachers may advance to positions such as:

  • department head
  • co-ordinator of a particular subject area in a large school or school system
  • specialist in a department of education, university or school district
  • school administrator, such as vice-principal, assistant principal or principal.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 4031: Secondary school teachers occupational group, 99.7% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 4031: Secondary school teachers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 290 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

In large urban centres, the supply of secondary school teachers generally is greater than the demand. To find employment, beginning teachers may:

  • relocate to smaller, rural or northern communities
  • work as supply (substitute) teachers.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Since teachers’ salaries and benefits are determined by negotiated agreements between school boards and their teachers, salaries vary from one board to another. However, all teachers are paid according to a grid system based on their number of years of university training and their number of years of teaching experience.

All teachers employed in Alberta’s publicly supported schools are members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and are automatically included under the Alberta Teachers Pension Plans Act. Holidays and pensions are specified by provincial legislation. However, teachers often use the spring, summer or Christmas break periods for professional development or for fulfilling additional professional responsibilities.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Secondary school teachers

2016 NOC: 4031
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4031 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.91 $39.22 $30.50 $28.40
Overall $28.33 $55.78 $42.58 $41.21
Top $44.39 $68.40 $52.62 $48.75

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Educational Services
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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