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Mike Titelbaum

Since no one has posted on this, I'll go ahead and chime in even though I don't have quite the experience you're asking about. I taught for four years at a private high school before I started my PhD. Here are some things I learned about the market for high school teachers:

1. Most states require some sort of certification to teach in a public school. Some states have such dire teacher shortages that they have instituted emergency plans on which one can teach without a certification as long as one is taking night classes or some such towards a certification at the same time. (I was teaching in California, which had such a setup.) I don't know about states that don't require any certification at all.

2. Private schools don't typically require a certification. You are a stronger candidate, though, if you have some sort of advanced degree. You will also typically get paid more if you have an advanced degree.

3. I wouldn't count on finding a high school job that is philosophy teaching full time. Most high schools don't even teach philosophy, and the ones that do usually have it as an elective. I was teaching math pretty much all the time (four sections with two preps each semester), with the occasional opportunity to teach a philosophy elective to seniors.

4. Private high schools are flooded with applicants who want to teach history and English. (Lots of people with PhDs in those subjects who couldn't find an academic job.) You will have a much better chance if you apply to teach some STEM field. Of course, that requires convincing them that you can effectively teach in some STEM field.

5. If you want to pursue employment in a private school, there are organizations you can sign up with that will help you put together an application and connect with schools looking for candidates. They typically hold conferences every year in multiple locations at which interviews occur. Carney Sandoe is the name of one of these organizations; I can't remember the others. But I'm sure you can find them online.

Good luck!


I will ad something else. My exboyfriend was a high school teacher, and a lot of low income areas are desperately looking for teachers and provide a lot of incentives to teach in those areas. So if you do want to teach in a humanities area, and are willing to teach in an underprivileged district, I think you have fairly good odds especially with a PhD. You might have to get a certificate, but as Mike mentions that varies everywhere. My ex was able to get a high school teaching job in a low income area with only a BA, but he was enrolled in a master's program at the time.

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