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Occupational Profile

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).

  • Avg. Salary $76,274.00
  • Avg. Wage $41.40
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Down
Also Known As

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

NOC & Interest Codes
The Secondary School Teacher is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Secondary School Teachers
NOC code: 4141
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

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 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 More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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 student interest 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 extra-curricular 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 length to the working day. Some teaching specializations may concentrate on preparation and organization, while others may involve more marking or extra-curricular involvement.

Secondary teachers in large urban schools often teach many classes in only one or two 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 and 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 producing a desirable level of physical fitness and motor skill development in 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 Dec 15, 2016

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 and preparing lessons and marking assignments.

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Secondary school teachers need the following characteristics:

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

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In Alberta, the minimum qualification required to teach in a secondary school is four 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 two 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.

Concordia University of Edmonton


Related Education

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

Grande Prairie Regional College

Simon Fraser University - Burnaby

University of Alberta

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Teacher

Elementary school teachers teach and facilitate the learning of children ranging in age from four to 12 years (Kindergarten to Grade 6). 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).

Legislation

Under Alberta's School Act and Certification of Teachers Regulation, school teachers must be certificated by Alberta Education.

Education

Minimum requirements for an interim professional certificate: (1) four years of university education and a recognized degree including 48 semester hour credits in teacher education coursework and 10 weeks of supervised student teaching at an approved institution, (2) a Statement of Professional Standing from the jurisdictions in which applicants were trained and last taught, (3) verification of currency of teaching experience, (4) evidence of Canadian citizenship or permanent residency, and (5) proficiency in English or French. 

Requirements for a permanent professional certificate: (1) the equivalent of two years of full time teaching experience in Alberta, (2) at least two successful evaluations of classroom performance based upon requirements in the Teaching Quality Standard, and (3) a positive recommendation from the employing Superintendent of Schools or, in the case of private schools, from a Designated Signing Authority.

For official, detailed information including coursework requirements for elementary and secondary teachers, visit Alberta Education's teacher certification website or contact the Professional Standards branch.

Working in Alberta

Teachers who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified teachers in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Professional Standards
Alberta Education
2nd Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard Building
10044 - 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T5J 5E6
Phone number: 780-427-2045
Toll-free phone number (within Alberta): 310-0000 and then 780-427-2045
Fax number: 780-422-4199
Website: www.education.alberta.ca/teachers/certification.aspx

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

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 administration (vice-principal, assistant principal, principal).

In Alberta, most people employed as secondary school teachers work in the Educational Services industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Educational Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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.

Over 8,100 Albertans are employed in the Secondary school teachers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 113 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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 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 Plan Act. Holidays and pensions are specified by provincial legislation. However, teachers often use the summer break period of July and August, or Christmas and spring break holidays, for professional development or for fulfilling additional professional responsibilities.

Secondary school teachers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4031: Secondary school teachers. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Secondary school teachers occupational group earned on average from $29.87 to $50.67 an hour. The overall average wage was $41.40 an hour. For more information, see the Secondary school teachers wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Languages (other than English)
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Feb 01, 2012. 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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