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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).

  • Avg. Salary $78,700.00
  • Avg. Wage $50.23
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 14,400
  • In Demand Medium
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: Secondary School Teachers (4141) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Secondary School Teachers (E131) 
  • 2011 NOC: Secondary school teachers (4031) 
  • 2016 NOC: Secondary school teachers (4031) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Interest Codes
The Secondary School Teacher is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Secondary School Teachers

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

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

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

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.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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.

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.

Concordia University of Edmonton

Grande Prairie Regional College

Simon Fraser University

St. Mary's University

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 Mar 31, 2017


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.

What You Need

Minimum requirements for an interim professional certificate are:

  • 4 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
  • Criminal record check with a vulnerable sector search

Requirements for a permanent professional certificate are:

  • 2 years of full-time teaching experience (approximately 400 days equivalent) in an Alberta accredited school while holding a valid Interim Professional Certificate
  • 2 successful evaluations of classroom performance based on meeting the requirements in the Teaching Quality Standard
  • Recommendation from the employing school authority

For detailed official information including coursework requirements for teachers in the K to 12 system, visit the Government of Alberta website.

Working in Alberta

Individuals who hold a valid teaching certificate from another Canadian jurisdiction are eligible for certification in Alberta without additional training or examination. Evidence of language proficiency may be required. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the Government of Alberta website.

Contact Details

The Registrar at Alberta Education
Government of Alberta
2nd Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard Building
10044 – 108 St
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 5E6

Phone: 780-427-2045
Toll-free within Alberta: 310-0000, then 780-427-2045
Fax: 780-422-4199


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.

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

The employment outlook [pdf] 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)
  • size of the occupation.

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 290 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.

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.

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.

Secondary school teachers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.02 $49.21 $36.27 $33.20
Overall $35.45 $103.44 $50.23 $47.53
Top $46.62 $103.44 $65.44 $58.50

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.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Educational Services

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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