Teaching As a Profession

“Teaching As a Profession,” New Era, Sept. 1972, 11

Teaching As a Profession

“Teaching is the noblest profession in the world,” stated President David O. McKay. But teaching is a profession that only appeals to a special type of person—a person who is concerned about others, one who has a desire to touch the lives of his students and somehow leave them better than they were. The richest rewards of teaching come when a teacher can observe growth and development in his students.

One of the largest of all professions, teaching employs more than 2 1/2 million people annually. Nevertheless, jobs are sometimes difficult to find because of the large number of people currently prepared to enter the profession. In the field of social sciences, for example, there are almost no opportunities. On the other hand, elementary placement is still quite high. Special education and physical sciences (chemistry, math, and physics) have many opportunities, too. Naturally there are more opportunities in some geographical areas than in others and especially in schools where teaching conditions are poor. Eight out of ten recent BYU graduates found teaching jobs last year.

Salaries vary and are dependent on the teacher’s experience and education, and on where he teaches. For most positions the hours are long. Not only does the teacher spend about eight and one-half hours per day in the classroom, but two to three hours are spent at home grading papers and preparing for the next day.

Since teaching can be very difficult and nerve taxing, one should carefully look at his interests, abilities, and goals before deciding upon a career in education. If he finds himself to be stable, interested in continued study and learning, and capable of seeing beneath the surface to the basic needs of other people, he can discover in teaching extraordinary satisfaction and the nobility President McKay referred to.

To assist you in becoming acquainted with opportunities in the education field, a number of teaching categories are listed here. Additional information can be obtained by contacting your school counselor or by writing to the individuals listed on the chart.

Careers in Education

Careers in Education


Starting Salary


Description of Duties and Responsibilities

Education and Training

For Further Information Write

Coach or Physical Education Teacher

$6,000–$7,000 per year

Approximately equal to the supply of qualified people.

Coach athletics, teach physical education and other subjects where qualified.

A Bachelor’s Degree is required. Physical education major with an academic minor.

Dr. Elmo S. Roundy, 270 Smith Fieldhouse, BYU, Provo, Utah 84601

Dr. Phyllis Jacobson, 296 RPF, BYU, Provo, Utah 84601

School Counselor

$7,000 and up—for a 10-month contract

Supply and demand are pretty well balanced. Most new counselors are not having difficulty in finding jobs if they have had teaching experience.

Duties can range from vocational guidance to counseling with personal problems. It also involves coordinating a testing program in the individual school. At present there are few counselors in the elementary schools, but this area looks good for the future.

Bachelor’s Degree plus School Counselor Certificate, which requires an additional year of college. Most states prefer teaching experience and many are insisting on a Master’s Degree.

Darwin F. Gale, Counselor Chairman, Educational Psychology, 180 CHLC, BYU, Provo, Utah 84601

Elementary Education


Good to highly competitive depending on the area. More opportunities for men than women.

Classroom teaching in the elementary schools.

Bachelor’s Degree and in some states a fifth year of college. Student teaching or practice teaching required.

Dr. Max J. Berryessa, Chairman, Department of Elementary Education, BYU, Provo, Utah 84601

Junior College Instructor


Estimated at approximately 6,000 to 10,000 new teachers annually. Competition is keen.

Teaching responsibilities as assigned. Participation in extracurricular activities, emphasis on teaching.

Master’s Degree plus additional hours in major field. Teaching minor related to major field.

Some professional education courses, philosophy, methods, junior college and directed teaching.

Dr. Ralph Smith, Chairman, Department of Educational Administration, 207 McKay Bldg., BYU, Provo, Utah 84601



Good depending on area. Many school districts promote from within.

Supervision of curriculum instruction, student activities.

Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, teaching and administrative experience.

Dr. Ralph Smith, Chairman, Department of Educational Administration, 207 McKay Bldg., BYU, Provo, Utah 84601

Recreation Education


Equal to the supply of qualified people. Greatest demand in areas of heavy population.

Varies considerably with particular employing agency and assigned position. Standard areas are therapeutic recreation, park planning and maintenance, outdoor recreation, municipal recreation, administration, social recreation leadership.

Bachelor’s Degree with a major in recreation and an appropriate minor.

Dr. Bill Hafen, Chairman, Department of Recreation Education, 273 CRPE, BYU, Provo, Utah 84601

Secondary Education Teacher


Oversupply in social sciences. Shortage in mathematics, physical sciences, and vocational technical education.

Solo teaching: Responsible for designing, presenting, and evaluating learning opportunities. Team Teaching: Cooperative approach to learning activities capitalizing upon the strengths of team members.

Bachelor’s Degree. Meet requirements for a teaching major and minor in an academic field plus professional education courses including student teaching experience.

Wallace F. Allred, Chairman, Secondary Education, BYU, 113 McKay Bldg., Provo, Utah 84601

Seminary Teacher

$6,500 with Bachelor’s Degree

Competition is keen.

Teaching religious education to students grades 9–12

Principals— administer program in seminaries

Coordinators— Coordinate a number of seminaries in a geographical area

A Bachelor’s Degree is required and a teaching certificate is preferred.

Student teaching experience or 1 year of early morning seminary teaching.

F. Weldon Thacker, Director of Personnel, Seminaries & Institutes, B-353 ASB, BYU, Provo, Utah 84601

Special Education Teacher

$6,000 and up

Still quite strong.

Teaching exceptional children (gifted, mentally retarded, visually handicapped, emotionally disturbed, disabled, speech impaired, etc.)

Bachelor’s Degree with a major in at least one area of exceptionality.

Dr. Glen F. Thomas, Coordinator, Institute for Special Education, 245 Training Building, BYU, Provo, Utah 84601



Highly competitive.

General supervision of all schools and personnel, liaison with Board of Education, public relations, budget, educational planning.

Bachelor’s, Master’s, doctorate, teaching and administrative experience.

Dr. Ralph Smith, Chairman, Department of Educational Administration, 207 McKay Bldg., BYU, Provo, Utah, 84601

University Professor


Highly competitive for available positions.

Teaching, research, writing.

Ph.D. degree in subject matter.

Dr. Ralph Smith, Chairman, Department of Educational Administration, 207 McKay Bldg., BYU, Provo, Utah, 84601