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Western Kentucky University

School of Teacher Education

Become A Teacher

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Secondary Education

Become a Teacher

If you want to teach youths who are about age 13 to 18 years old, you will need to decide what content area you would like to teach, and then complete a major in that content area. In addition, if you plan to teach mathematics or science (biology, chemistry, earth and space science, physics), you will have a second major in Science and Mathematics Education (SMED), while those who wish to teach other subjects will have to take a required set of courses for Secondary Education certification. Secondary (high school) teachersin Kentucky teach children in grades 8 through 12, in one or more content areas (such as Biological Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, etc.).

For information about becoming a secondary (high school) or middle grades teacher of sciences or mathematics, check out the SKyTeach program.

You might also want to check out our programs in several content areas where the certification is for teaching Grades 5-12 (Agriculture, Business and Marketing, Family and Consumer Sciences, Technology) and those where the certification is for teaching the primary grades through Grade 12 (P-12) (Art, French, German, Music, Physical Education, and Spanish). Though you will be certified to teach these subjects at all the indicated grade levels, you may choose to teach at a particular school level, such as secondary. To become certified to teach in these content areas, you will need to major in the chosen content area. See the following list of content areas in which you can be certified to teach:

If you want to teach any of the following subjects, you will major in that subject:

  • AGRICULTURE (Certification is for Grade 5 through Grade 12)
  • ART (Certification is for the Primary grades through Grade 12)
  • BIOLOGY (Certification is for Grade 8 through Grade 12). You must also complete the major in Science and Mathematics Education.
  • BUSINESS AND MARKETING (Certification is for Grade 5 through Grade 12)
  • CHEMISTRY (Certification is for Grade 8 through Grade 12). You must also complete the major in Science and Mathematics Education. 
  • EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE (Certification is for Grade 8 through Grade 12). You must also complete the major in Science and Mathematics Education.
  • ENGLISH FOR SECONDARY TEACHERS (Certification is for Grade 8 through Grade 12); however, if you want to teach English/communication to middle school children, you should choose the major in Middle Level Education in Social Studies and Language Arts.
  • FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES (Certification is for Grade 5 through Grade 12)
  • FRENCH (Certification is for the Primary grades through Grade 12)
  • GERMAN (Certification is for the Primary grades through Grade 12)
  • INDUSTRIAL (VOCATIONAL, CAREER, AND TECHNICAL) EDUCATION (Certification is for Grade 5 through Grade 12)
  • MATHEMATICS (Certification is for Grade 8 through Grade 12). You must also complete the major in Science and Mathematics Education. If you want to teach mathematics to middle school children, you must complete the majors in Science and Mathematics Education (SMED) and Middle Grades Mathematics (MGM).
  • MUSIC (Certification is for the Primary grades through Grade 12)
  • PHYSICAL EDUCATION (Certification is for the Primary grades through Grade 12)
  • PHYSICS (Certification is for Grade 8 through Grade 12). You must also complete the major in Science and Mathematics Education.
  • SOCIAL STUDIES (Certification is for Grade 8 through Grade 12); however, if you want to teach social studies to middle school children, you will be a Middle Level Education in Social Studies and Language Arts Major.
  • SPANISH (Certification is for the Primary grades through Grade 12)
  • TECHNOLOGY (VOCATIONAL/INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION) (Certification is for Grade 5 through Grade 12)

For more information about completing a program leading to certification for teaching secondary (high school) mathematics or science, Grades 5-9 or Grades 8-12, please click here.

For more information about completing a program leading to certification for teaching all other secondary (high school) subjects, Grades 8-12, 5-12, or P-12, please click here.

To talk with an advisor, please see this list and contact the advisor listed for the content area in which you are interested. Scroll down the page till you find the specific major of interest.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14