Job requirements for teachers in 2017

September 07, 2018

As students return to school, let’s take a look at job requirements for different types of teachers. In 2017, 96.2 percent of elementary school teachers and 97.6 percent of secondary school teachers had to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Teachers often also must have some pre-employment training, typically earning a teaching license or certification from a governing body. Most teaching jobs do not require prior job-related work experience; less than 10 percent of elementary and secondary school teachers had to have work experience before they could begin their jobs.

Percent of teachers with education, training, and experience requirements, 2017
Type of school Bachelor's degree required License required Certification required Prior job-related work
experience required

Elementary school teachers

96.2% 67.2% 21.0% 8.8%

Secondary school teachers

97.6 91.0 9.9 6.3

Elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers are on their feet, either standing or walking, around 70 percent of the day. Although all teachers must verbally communicate, 72.2 percent of elementary, 72.1 percent of middle school, and 62.7 percent of secondary school teachers must do so nearly constantly (that is, over two-thirds of the work day). Most teachers are exposed to moderate noise intensity level (over 90 percent for the three types of teachers).

Selected job requirements for teachers, 2017
Type of school Percent of day spent
standing or walking
Percent of teachers with
constant verbal communication
Percent of teachers exposed
to moderate noise intensity

Elementary school teachers

72.2% 72.2% 96.7%

Middle school teachers

69.3 72.1 94.2

Secondary school teachers

72.8 62.7 96.8

These data are from the Occupational Requirements Survey. To learn more, see the occupational group profiles and the 2017 survey estimates (XLSX).


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Job requirements for teachers in 2017 on the Internet at (visited November 16, 2018).


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