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Secondary School Teacher

Secondary school teachers provide instruction to young people in Grades 7 to 12. They may be generalists or subject area specialists.

Also Known As

Educator, High School Teacher, Instructor, Junior High School Teacher, Middle School 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
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

In general, secondary school teachers:

  • Identify students’ individual and collective learning needs
  • Plan and deliver instruction based on student learning needs, including unique needs for exceptional learners
  • Assess students’ learning progress
  • Provide a stimulating learning environment in which all students can experience growth and develop to their potential
  • Help students learn appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes to flourish in today’s fast-changing world

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

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

  • Communicate with parents
  • Evaluate and communicate student progress
  • Prepare and implement supplemental programs for students needing extra support
  • Meet with other professionals to discuss individual student needs and progress
  • Attend meetings, seminars, and in-service training sessions

Additional duties may occur after regular school hours. For example, teachers may volunteer to supervise extracurricular and after-school activities. They can add some time to the working day.

Some teaching specializations may concentrate on preparation and organization. Others may involve more marking or extracurricular involvement.

Secondary teachers in large urban schools may teach many classes in only 1 or 2 subject areas. In smaller rural schools and schools with a generalist approach, secondary teachers 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. They use techniques and materials designed to motivate students. Their duties may include:

  • Laboratory preparation
  • Maintenance of laboratory materials
  • Working with individuals or small groups of students who need more 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 children whose English skills are still developing. 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 living in Canada

Fine arts teachers are often teachers with an interest or experience in their respective artistic fields. For more information, see these occupational profiles:

Career and technology studies (CTS) teachers are usually specialists in their own or related fields. They teach courses drawn from 1 or more clusters of the provincial CTS program. The 5 clusters are:

  • Media, Design, and Communication Arts (MDC)
  • Business, Administration, Finance, and Information Technology (BIT)
  • Natural Resources (NAT)
  • Trades, Manufacturing, and Transportation (TMT)
  • Health, Recreation, and Human Services (HRH)

Each school chooses CTS content based on student and community needs and available resources. No single school is likely to offer all 1,400+ CTS 1-credit courses.

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

  • Indoor and outdoor games
  • Individual, dual, and team sports
  • Rhythmics and dance
  • Tumbling and gymnastics
  • Aquatics
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary

Secondary teachers spend most of their working day instructing classes. They also spend many hours outside of class time working with individual students, preparing lessons, and marking assignments.

Teachers often use the spring, summer, or winter breaks for professional development. They may use a portion of these school breaks to fulfil other professional responsibilities.

They may teach 150 or more students a day. The work can be demanding, requiring a great deal of physical, mental, and emotional energy. Most secondary schools are well-equipped, attractive facilities with up-to-date audiovisual equipment, language, computer, and scientific labs, and athletic gear.

Teachers work in classrooms, school laboratories, workshops, and athletic facilities. Some classes may simulate settings found in business, industry, or government such as:

  • Offices
  • Salons
  • Clinics
  • Homes
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
SOCIAL

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

INNOVATIVE

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

DIRECTIVE

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

Abilities

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, 2024

Secondary school teachers need:

  • Creativity and imagination
  • Patience
  • High energy
  • Resourcefulness
  • Good mental, emotional, and physical health
  • Strong leadership qualities
  • A clear speaking voice
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills
  • The ability to establish rapport with the public, especially students and their parents
  • A commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility practices
  • A desire to understand and appreciate diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • A sincere interest in the personal development of young people
  • Genuine respect for young people
  • A desire to understand the learning needs of students
  • Enthusiasm for and knowledge in their subject areas

They should enjoy:

  • Finding different ways to solve questions and present information
  • Organizing and coordinating the work of others
  • Having contact with the public

Alberta teachers must meet the 6 competencies identified in the Teaching Quality Standard. For more information, see Certification Requirements.

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 45 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 13, 2021 and Jul 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.
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Certificates, Licences, Memberships, and Courses : Provincial or Territorial Teaching Certificate
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Team player
Tasks: Teach students through lectures, discussions, audio-visual presentations and laboratory, shop and field studies
Security and Safety: Criminal record check
Construction Specialization: Flexibility
Construction Specialization: Values and ethics
Construction Specialization: Excellent written communication
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • 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.

To apply for an Alberta teaching certificate, secondary school teachers must complete:

  • 24 semester-hour credits in a teachable subject area
  • 6 semester-hour credits in English or French Literature and Composition

Teaching some subjects at the high school level may require specific courses. For example, a person wanting to teach social studies would need to take post-secondary courses in geography.

Admission can be competitive. Universities may prefer those who have experience working with children in a leadership capacity. Prospective students can gain valuable experience 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, 2024
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Teaching some career and technology studies (CTS) courses requires an appropriate Alberta Journeyman Certificate or recognized trade certificate. For information about designated trades, see the apprenticeship occupational profiles.

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.

Teacher

In Alberta, teachers work in the Kindergarten to Grade 12 system. They teach students who are usually between 5 to 18 years old. Kindergarten to Grade 9 teachers are typically generalists. It is often preferred that Grades 10 to 12 teachers have subject area expertise.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Education Act [pdf] and Certification of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation [pdf], school teachers must have a valid certificate from the Government of Alberta.

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Secondary school teachers work in:

  • Public and separate schools
  • Private schools
  • Vocational schools and colleges
  • Hospitals

The type of school teachers work for could vary by school board. Most schools in Alberta are categorized according to the Alberta Kindergarten to Grade 12 school system divisions:

  • Early childhood includes Kindergarten
  • Elementary schools include Grades 1 to 6
  • Junior high schools include Grades 7 to 9
  • Senior high schools include Grades 10 to 12

Some school boards may include different grade levels in their schools. For example, a middle school may include Grades 5 to 8. A secondary school teacher could work for any school that offers any of the Grades 7 to 12.

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

  • Relocate to small, rural, or northern communities
  • Work as supply (substitute) teachers

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

  • Department head
  • Coordinator 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 an above-average annual growth of 3.4% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 279 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
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: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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, 2024

School boards and their teachers negotiate collective agreements. The agreements determine teachers’ salaries and benefits, so salaries vary from one school board to another.

However, all teachers are paid according to a grid system. The system is based on their number of years of university training and of teaching experience.

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
$42.58
Per Hour
Average Salary
$80,556.00
Per Year
Average Hours
37.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.6
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
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
Starting
Overall
Top

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

ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
72%
72%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
19%
19%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
3%
3%
Vacancy Rate
0%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) website: www.teachers.ab.ca

Government of Alberta Teacher Certification website: www.alberta.ca/teacher-certification

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

Updated Mar 31, 2024. 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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