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Educational Requirements for Becoming a College Geography Teacher

February 20, 2023 · 4 min read

Becoming a college geography teacher requires a high level of education and a passion for teaching. A college geography teacher is responsible for educating students about the geography of the world, including physical geography, human geography, and cultural geography.

As a college geography teacher, your job duties may include:

  • Planning and delivering lectures and seminars on geography topics, such as physical geography, human geography, and cultural geography.
  • Assigning readings, projects, and other coursework to students.
  • Grading exams, papers, and other student work.
  • Advising students and providing them with academic and career guidance.
  • Conducting research in your area of expertise and publishing your findings in academic journals.
  • Attending conferences and participating in professional development opportunities.

To become a college geography teacher, you will need the following steps:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

The first step to becoming a college geography teacher is to earn a bachelor's degree in geography or a related field, such as earth science, environmental science, or geology. A bachelor's degree program typically takes four years to complete and provides students with a foundation in geography, earth science, and related subjects. During this time, you'll take classes in subjects like physical geography, human geography, cartography, geology, and more. You'll also gain valuable experience with research and analysis, as well as writing and presentation skills.

2. Pursue a master's or doctoral degree

After completing a bachelor's degree, you can pursue a master's or doctoral degree in geography or a related field. A master's or doctoral degree will give you advanced knowledge of geography, including research skills and expertise in a specific area of geography. You may also take courses in teaching methodologies, instructional design, and curriculum development to gain experience in teaching at the college level.

A master's degree program typically takes two years to complete and requires a thesis or final project. A doctoral program typically takes four to six years or more, and requires a dissertation and a comprehensive examination. During your time in a graduate program, you'll work closely with faculty members and engage in independent research projects.

3. Gain teaching experience

Gaining teaching experience can not only help you build your resume and demonstrate your commitment to the field, but it can also provide valuable insight into the challenges and rewards of being a college geography teacher. It is important to continuously seek opportunities to expand your skills and knowledge in both geography and education.This can be done by teaching or tutoring at the high school or community college level, or by working as a teaching assistant in a university setting.

Additionally, you may also consider the following ways to gain teaching experience:

  1. Participating in teaching workshops or professional development opportunities.
  2. Developing and presenting guest lectures in college geography courses.
  3. Publishing scholarly work in the field of geography.
  4. Volunteering or interning as a teacher in under-resourced schools or communities.
  5. Mentoring students or recent graduates who are interested in the field of geography education.

5. Apply for college teaching positions

Once you have completed your higher level of education and gained teaching experience, you can begin applying for college teaching positions. Some colleges and universities may require that you have a PhD in geography, while others may only require a master's degree. Additionally, many states require that college teachers be licensed or certified, so it's important to check the requirements in your state.

Professional Organizations and Resources for Geography Education and Research

  1. American Association of Geographers (AAG) is the largest professional organization for geographers in the world. It provides information on the latest research and trends in geography, as well as opportunities for networking and professional development.
  2. National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) is a professional organization for geography educators at all levels. It provides resources, training, and support for geography teachers, and offers opportunities for networking and professional development.
  3. The National Geographic Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring and protecting the planet. It offers resources for geography teachers, including maps, lesson plans, and educational programs.
  4. The American Geographical Society (AGS) is a professional organization dedicated to advancing geography education and research. It provides resources and support for geography teachers and students, including information on scholarships, grants, and research opportunities.
by Yevheniia Osmakova

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