What Degree Does a Computer Science Teacher Need?

A computer science teacher is someone who teaches the basics of computer science to a group of students. Though many assume that these teachers only work at the college level, a growing number of public and private schools now hire these teachers to offer students a broad overview of the subject to students. This provides those students with the skills they need to do research online and write their own papers when they reach college. The degree required depends on where those teachers work.

Teaching Younger Students

In addition to teaching college students, CS teachers may also work in elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools. Teachers working in either a private school or a public school will generally need a bachelor’s degree in education. Some schools will also accept those who have a bachelor’s degree in computer science who can also qualify for a state teaching license. Some teachers work in tutoring centers or after school programs that help students develop better computer science skills. Those teachers may find work with just an associate’s degree in computer science.

Teaching at the College Level

Those hoping to teach at the college level will often need a higher degree like a master’s degree. Most community college require that their professors have a master’s degree in computer science and that those professors either wrote a thesis or created some type of final project based around computers. Those working for either a private or public college or university may need a doctoral degree. Some colleges offer adjunct positions and part time professor jobs to those who have a lower level degree and more experience. Someone who has 10 years of experience working with computers may receive a teaching position at a private university with just a master’s degree.

Do You Need a License?

Though CS professors do not need a license, those working in public schools will need a license. Getting a license requires going directly through the Department of Education in the state, and most states have different requirements for getting that license. Some states actually require that teachers graduate from an accredited college or university but agree to continue their studies and obtain a master’s degree within the next seven years or less. Many states also ask that all teachers pass a background test done by a local police department.

Do CS Teachers Need a Certificate?

The Computer Science Teachers Association is a large organization that offers certificates to teachers. The CSTA found that the states that have more stringent requirements for a computer science teacher are the states that have more students passing the computer science advanced placement examination. Though no state requires that teachers have a computer science teaching certificate, having one may increase the odds that a teacher finds a position working in a local school. The CSTA maintains its own database, which lets you the requirements necessary for obtaining a teaching license in each state and how certification can help you obtain a job.

Computer science is a constantly changing field that continually evolves based on the technology currently available. To become a computer science teacher, you will need either a bachelor’s degree in education or a higher level degree in computer science, but you may need a teaching license from your state’s Department of Education too.