Military adult interacting with child
Teaching Careers and Professional Development

Military Teacher: Job Outlook, Education, Salary

By The Editorial Team

Military teachers may be private contractors or enlisted personnel who teach the children of enlisted service members, or a civilian contractor working for the Department of Defense. It could also be extended to former military personnel who are moving into the education profession after their service or while in the reserves.

At-a-glance: military teacher

Military institutions within the United States or abroad can offer employment as a military teacher. In addition to military bases or schools and academies, there are also opportunities to work at one of the 190 Department of Defense schools in 12 countries, Puerto Rico, and Guam. However, when assessing available positions for former military personnel pursuing a new career as a teacher, the opportunities are fairly limitless.

Due to the varying salary figures and certifications required, this article specifically highlights teachers on military installations.

Military teacher job description

A military teacher faces a unique challenge in the classroom. Due to frequent deployments and change of station orders, students and families come and go all year long. The students who begin the year in any classroom won’t all be the same ones who end the year. The ability to differentiate instruction appropriately is a plus. While having a military background is beneficial, it’s not required.

Typical responsibilities and duties of the job might include:

  • Instructing students of different grade levels in one classroom
  • Creating lesson plans and adhering to educational standards
  • Assigning and grading essays, quizzes, and tests
  • Attending conferences to discuss academic progress
  • Participating in professional development opportunities
  • Collaborating with colleagues on course curriculum
  • Team-building exercises with fellow staff members
  • Maintaining grades and progress reports for all students
  • Developing lectures and providing small-group discussion opportunities

As each military installation is unique, it’s important to be familiar with the job expectations prior to accepting any military teaching position. Make sure all details are clearly communicated so you can make a fully informed decision.

Who makes a good military teacher?

  • Someone who can create an equitable environment for learning
  • A flexible individual who can adapt to the ever-changing landscape in the classroom
  • A compassionate individual who relates to common challenges of military families
  • A person who can enforce consistent discipline
  • A teacher with familiarity or experience with English language learners
  • Someone with a military background, either personal or through family connections
  • A teacher able to use technology effectively within the classroom
  • A clear communicator and effective public speaker

Military teacher in-depth

Education requirements

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in education (minor or specialized disciplines optional)
  • Typical time to earn a graduate degree: 2-4 years for a bachelor’s degree, 12 months to 2 years for a master’s degree and up to 6 years for a doctorate

Depending on the specifics of a degree and any prior college credits, an undergraduate student can get a teaching degree in as little as 2 years. Typically, including student teaching and the PRAXIS exam, they can get a degree in 4 years.

The pursuit of a master’s in education allows for the specialized focus on additional disciplines. Due to its specific nature, this can be attained in as little as 12 months.

A doctorate is recommended for teachers who intend to work in administration. Having a master’s degree might reduce the overall time required, but on average, this degree takes 5-6 years to obtain.

Average salaries for military teachers

The salary range for military teachers is wide, especially between stateside and abroad positions. Specialized skills, experience, certifications, and level of education also factor into the equation.

Although not comprehensive, these averages provide a general idea:

Job outlook for military teachers

There’s a high need for qualified teachers at every military installation, both stateside and abroad. The Department of Defense is particularly seeking teachers eager to work abroad in one of its 12 countries or two territories.

Prior experience is always advantageous, and individuals ready to learn more to better serve the military community are more likely to have job security in this sector. Since enlistment isn’t required to obtain a military teaching position, any credentialed and certified teacher who has passed the PRAXIS exam can apply. Military teachers, like public school teachers, need a valid teaching license.

Any teacher with specialized training and experience, such as ELL, AP, or special education, can find ample career opportunities on military bases, both stateside and abroad.

Challenges and opportunities for military teachers

Advantages

  • Discipline is enforced as a top priority, and administrators actively partner with teachers.
  • There’s abundant community support and involvement.
  • Pay is higher than public school, and benefits are the same as government employees.
  • Abroad locations are often in bustling urban centers.
  • A wide variety of cultures is represented, providing ample learning opportunities.
  • Students with military backgrounds can relate more easily to each other.

Disadvantages

  • High number of transient students in the classroom throughout the year
  • Varying educational background levels among students in the same grade
  • Might be teaching military and civilian students in the same classroom
  • First 2 years are provisional, and contract might not get renewed
  • Somewhat isolated, especially if working overseas

Professional development

For most military teachers, advancement largely depends on a willingness to relocate and possessing specialized skills that might be in demand at other locations. Those who easily adapt to the needs of their classroom and establish an equitable instructional atmosphere can likely thrive in this military environment.

Associations and greater education are also excellent traits. They show the military teacher’s commitment, which leads to longevity and loyalty to the service.

Continuing education

Although a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required (and sometimes, an additional certification in a specialized field), the education field continues to present a competitive arena. Teachers continually seeking to grow their knowledge in specific disciplines or expand their portfolios through further training can place themselves in demand by a wider scope of institutions.

This is accomplished through securing a master’s in education or even obtaining a doctorate. Since military bases closely align their academic standards with the curriculum set by the Department of Education, additional certifications and degrees can equate to a higher salary and possibly an increase in available positions at more desirable locations.

Professional associations

As teaching is a time-honored and long-held respected position, many associations and organizations exist to support and inform teachers from all experience levels and disciplines. Depending on the location of the school, isolation is a distinct possibility. Establishing professional connections can help alleviate this, plus provide opportunities for developing and furthering a career.

Specialized groups are available in nearly every discipline, and those can often be found through a simple web search. However, some of the more prominent organizations to consider are:

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