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How do I Become a Geography Teacher?

By Stacy Blumberg
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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In order to become a geography teacher, you will need to have an in-depth knowledge of world, regional, and local geography as well as have superior map-reading skills. Most geography classes cover related areas such as history and current events, as well. An undergraduate degree is generally required, but a post-graduate degree might be desirable. Student-teaching experience and state certification are also required of anyone who wants to work as a geography teacher.

The first step in becoming a geography teacher is to fulfill the teaching requirements for the region or state in which you are looking for employment. Typically, an undergraduate degree is required to be considered for a teaching position. The best degrees to have are in teaching, geography, or a combination of the two, but it is possible to become a geography teacher with other degrees, as well. If you do not have an educational background in geography and history, it can be a good idea to take some classes before applying for a teaching position.

Student teaching can help you amass teaching experience before landing a full-time teaching position. Typically, student teaching is completed as part of an undergraduate or master’s program that includes a teaching component. If you have not completed student teaching, it generally is recommended that you take teaching classes or attend teaching seminars where you can gain knowledge in lesson-planning and teaching methodologies.

Many places require certifications or post-graduate degrees in order to become a geography teacher. It is important to find out what qualifications are necessary to teach in a certain region before you apply for jobs. To teach at the university level, a doctorate degree (PhD) may also be necessary.

Once you have met all of the qualifications to become a geography teacher, you can begin looking for positions in local classified ads or in teaching publications that have such advertisements. Some colleges have placement offices that might be able to help you find open positions. You also might inquire with local school boards about openings.

When interviewing for a geography teaching position, it can be important for you to promote both your geography and teaching skills. Highlight courses and projects completed and any relevant job experience or training. Be sure to demonstrate enthusiasm both for the subject matter and the prospective students.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By JoseJames — On Oct 14, 2010

I think the lack of proper geographical education in this country that has caused so many of our young students to not even understand the difference between a city, state and country.

This is very basic knowledge that seems almost obvious to so many of our generation in the older ranks is now a subject that only nerds would discuss in our elementary and high schools.

Have we really gotten to the point where we do not value even the most basics of educational subjects, such as geography. I am all for geography teachers taking to the streets and demanding that students know where they are.

By thumbtack — On Oct 14, 2010

@CoffeeJim, there are certain areas of this country that do in fact still have geography specific courses. The hometown that I grew up in had a local high school with a geography course that was required to graduate from the school.

This was my favorite course in high school and I will always remember the lessons that our teacher taught. It did give me bearing as to where I am in the world and my location. It also helps with Jeopardy questions.

By CoffeeJim — On Oct 14, 2010

When I attended high school there were no longer specific geography courses that could be taken. Instead the geography lessons were integrated inside of history courses that then the history course teachers would be required to add these extra lessons to their already packed curriculum.

I found the sad and upsetting because of my love for geography. Despite this lack gap in education that we now have I still found joy in the geography lessons that we did learn in our history course.

I wonder if there still are regions of the nation that have specific geography courses worth it is now a requirement to become a college professor if you would like to teach geography specifically.

Everyone wants to know where they are in the world and how their location relates to the rest of society so it seems vital that at least some geography lessons are still taught, even if we can't justify an entire curriculum for the subject.

By jeancastle00 — On Oct 14, 2010

Geography is my favorite subject. Because of this I am very picky about the types of teachers and professors that I have throughout my educational experience on the subject of geography.

The best types of geography teachers that one can have when taking courses in the subject is a professor that has actually traveled to many different locations in the world. By being able to provide a story along with the last, this teacher has added an element of realism to the lesson that they are trying to teach.

While it is possible for every geography teacher becoming world traveler, it seems likely that most geography teachers have some desire to travel or have done extensive traveling in their past.

If I were a principal of a school in the process of hiring a new geography teacher, I would most certainly ask them where in the world they have traveled in where they plan to go. I would also ask them how these lessons they learned from traveling affects the lessons they teach the students.

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