California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education in California

May also be called: English Teachers; History Teachers; Junior High School Teachers; Life Science Teachers; Math Teachers; Physical Education Teachers; Science Teachers; Social Studies Teachers

What Would I Do?

Middle School Teachers, usually known as Junior High School Teachers, educate students in grades 7 and 8. Some specialize in single subjects, such as math or science, while others may teach two or more related subjects, such as English and history. Teachers prepare and assign lessons on approved criteria, develop and administer tests, grade papers and tests, and record students' progress. They assign research and group projects where students learn to work together and gather information. They also discuss local, national, and global news issues with students. Teachers observe and evaluate students' performance and potential and give extra instruction when needed. They meet with parents and school staff to discuss a student’s academic progress or personal problems. Teachers maintain classroom discipline by creating a positive environment. They also take part in faculty and professional meetings.

Public Middle School Teachers use coursework and textbooks that have been approved by the school district. Any material used in classroom instruction must meet State and federal standards. Private School Teachers usually have more control over establishing the curriculum and setting standards for performance and discipline.

Teachers must constantly update their skills by attending conferences and workshops to keep current with the latest educational methods. Teachers also use a variety of technological tools, such as cameras, computers, DVD players, the Internet, overhead projectors, smart boards, and televisions.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Adapt teaching methods and instructional materials to meet students' varying needs and interests.Learning Strategies
Confer with parents or guardians, other teachers, counselors, and administrators to resolve students' behavioral and academic problems.Psychology
Prepare, administer, and grade tests and assignments to evaluate students' progress.Monitoring
Instruct through lectures, discussions, and demonstrations in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics, or social studies.Education and Training
Establish clear objectives for all lessons, units, and projects, and communicate these objectives to students.Instructing
Prepare objectives and outlines for courses of study, following curriculum guidelines or requirements of states and schools.Written Expression
Observe and evaluate students' performance, behavior, social development, and physical health.Social Perceptiveness
Plan and conduct activities for a balanced program of instruction, demonstration, and work time that provides students with opportunities to observe, question, and investigate.Judgment and Decision Making
Meet with parents and guardians to discuss their children's progress, and to determine their priorities for their children and their resource needs.Active Listening
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Middle School Teachers work in private, public, and charter schools. They may work more than 40 hours a week both in and outside the classroom. Some Teachers work a traditional nine-month school year with a three-month summer vacation, while others may be on a year-round schedule, instructing for several weeks or months with a vacation in between sessions. Year-round schools are split into either single track or multi-track calendars, depending upon the student population. Traditional and most year-round school calendars have approximately 180 days of instruction.

The teaching profession can be very rewarding. However, Teachers may experience some stress because of increased class sizes, lack of volunteers or teacher aides, heavy workloads, or the need for modern equipment. Teachers may face challenges with unmotivated or disrespectful students; nonetheless, seeing students discover and develop new skills and gain an appreciation for knowledge and learning can be very gratifying.

Since private schools can be selective in their admission processes, private School Teachers usually enjoy smaller class sizes.

Teachers may belong to the California Teachers Association or the California Federation of Teachers.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Middle School Teachers enjoy assisting, communicating with, and instructing students on lesson plans. They are able to motivate and inspire trust and confidence in students. Teachers also help students make informed decisions and help guide them through their personal development process.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?


The median wage in 2020 for Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education in California is $81,849 annually. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2020Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


Both public and private schools generally provide health and life insurance, sick leave, and pension plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job opportunities for Middle School Teachers depend upon the location, grade level, and subject taught. However, those who have single subject credentials in mathematics or science may have better opportunities for employment. Public Schools are dependent upon federal, State, and local government funding; therefore, there maybe fewer employment opportunities during economic downturns.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education are expected to increase by 7.0 percent, or 3,400 jobs between 2016 and 2026.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Middle School Teachers must have a bachelor's degree or higher and a Preliminary or Professional Clear Credential to teach in California. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) establishes requirements for the Preliminary and Professional Clear Credentials.

To obtain a Preliminary Credential, applicants must complete a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university. They must meet the basic skills requirement of the CTC, such as passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) in a single subject matter. In addition, a CTC-approved Teacher preparation program must be completed.

To earn a Professional Clear Credential, an individual must complete a professional teacher preparation program and receive a five-year Preliminary Credential. Once a Preliminary Credential is obtained, an individual must complete one of the following:

  • A CTC-approved professional Teacher induction program

  • A fifth year of study in a CTC-approved Teacher preparation program at a California college or university

  • Possess a National Board Certificate in their chosen subject area

All Teachers are required to obtain an electronic fingerprint (LiveScan) and criminal background clearance prior to employment.


Teaching experience may include student teaching or instructing at a private school, an out-of-state school, or the Peace Corp.

Early Career Planning

High school students thinking about a career in teaching should take college preparatory courses, such as English, mathematics, science, and computer science. Students can gain valuable experience by tutoring or mentoring other students. In addition, students that have a high school diploma and are taking courses towards a career in education may obtain a Substitute Teacher Credential to explore teaching opportunities without having a bachelor's degree.

Work Study Programs

Accredited colleges and universities offer a one- or two-year university internship in which the candidate teaches while taking classes. Some school districts have established their own internships that include a two-year professional development plan for the Teacher. Other candidates may take a year of graduate courses at an accredited institution along with student teaching.

Continuing Education

Teachers possessing a Preliminary Credential will need to complete the continuing education requirements before their current credential expires to receive a Professional Clear Credential. However, Teachers holding a Professional Clear Credential are not required to take continuing education courses, but they are encouraged to update their skills to stay current with emerging technologies and educational methods.

Licensing and Certification

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing requires Teachers to have a Preliminary Credential or a Professional Clear Credential before they can teach in the classroom. The Preliminary Credential is good for five years and must be updated to a Professional Clear Credential within that time. Professional Clear Credentials must be renewed every five years. Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information. Click on the license title below for details.

Middle School Teachers may hold one or several certificates, such as First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, and Automated External Defibrillator for Schools and the Community, National Board Certification - Adolescence and Young Adulthood/Science, or National Board Certification - Adolescence and Young Adulthood/English Language Arts. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Education and Teaching, Junior High/Intermediate/Middle School Education & Teaching, Teacher Education, Teacher Education, Multiple Levels, Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas, Other.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Elementary and Secondary Schools99.4%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to school districts remains one of the most effective job search methods. School district listings and other job resource services may be found on the California Department of Education Web site. In addition, college campus career placement offices are a valuable source for finding employment. Job openings can also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers, online job boards, and teacher organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education.

  • Middle Schools
  • Private Schools (K-12)
  • Public Schools
  • Religious General Interest Schools
  • Schools

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Highly qualified, experienced Teachers may become senior or mentor Teachers, with higher pay and additional responsibilities. These Teachers guide and assist less experienced Teachers while keeping most of their own teaching responsibilities. Other experienced Teachers may have the opportunity to transfer to other schools, which may offer better working conditions and higher salaries. Administrative positions require teaching experience, advanced studies or degrees, and additional credentials.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education with links to more information.

Graduate Teaching AssistantsGuide
Health EducatorsProfile
Instructional CoordinatorsProfile
Teacher AssistantsGuide
Vocational Education Teachers, PostsecondaryProfile

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification25-2022
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education25-2022.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)SAE
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Health Teacher Education 131307
   Technology Teacher Education/Industrial Arts Teacher Educati131309
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Health Education083700
   Industrial Arts (Transfer)083900