How to Become a History Teacher

To become a history teacher, you must have a passion for the subject and be devoted to helping students learn. Teaching is not for everyone, but if you have decided you're dedicated to teaching history, you must complete a few steps before receiving your educator's certification.


  1. Image titled Become a History Teacher Step 1
    Check with your state to find out specifically what degree and coursework you will need to become a history teacher. Some states require a bachelor's degree in history, some only want a degree in any social science, while others may only require that you take several history courses. Either way, you will need at least a bachelor's degree of some kind to teach history.
  2. Image titled Become a History Teacher Step 2
    Complete your bachelor's degree if you haven't already. If your school doesn't offer a history major, you could minor in the subject or take as many history classes as possible, using your elective hours.
    • Some states only license teachers in social sciences and not in history specifically. These teachers must have several courses of United States history plus classes pertaining to world history, European history, economics, government, geography and psychology. Try to get a well-rounded background of all the social sciences, depending on what your state requires.
  3. Image titled Become a History Teacher Step 3
    Take a state-approved subject area exam after you have your bachelor's degree if you don't have enough credit hours in the social sciences. If you can pass this exam, you may be able to get your teaching certificate in lieu of taking more college courses. The exam may be a general social sciences exam or a specific exam focusing just on history; this varies by state.
  4. Image titled Become a History Teacher Step 4
    Pass the subject area exam given by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). There is a high cost for this exam but passing it means you know enough about history to teach it to students. There are exams for both U.S. History and World History available for potential teachers in all 50 states.
  5. Image titled Become a History Teacher Step 5
    Complete any state-specific requirements for teachers. Many states have guidelines for becoming a teaching professional and offer courses on classroom instruction before a teacher can be certified to start. Teaching history is no exception, so if your state has these requirements, sign up for this program so you can complete your certification requirements as quickly as possible.


  • Laws vary by state and also by what grade you want to teach. You may need a more well-rounded background to teach high school history as opposed to teaching to middle grades, so it's very important to check with your state's department of education if you haven't already completed your undergraduate degree.

Article Info

Categories: Teaching