Chemistry is a popular, priority subject in Scotland’s schools and there are great opportunities right now for chemistry specialists entering the teaching profession.

What’s involved?

If chemistry is your subject, teaching offers a varied and interesting career with strong prospects for career development.

Chemistry teachers work with children aged 12 to 18 sharing their knowledge of the physical world and how it works. Your understanding of elements, atoms, molecules and the various associated scientific principles will form the basis of the lessons you prepare. Through practical experiments and academic study, you’ll help your pupils to develop their skills and explore the principles of scientific investigation, inspiring many of them to follow a career in science and technology.

Chemistry teacher training options

There are two routes into teaching chemistry. You can study a four-year combined degree in education and chemistry or take a one-year diploma course following your undergraduate degree in chemistry.

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Michael Barker – Chemistry Teacher at Hillpark Secondary School

“I discovered I had a passion for teaching when I was working for a year in a biomedical research centre during my Chemistry degree. School pupils often visited to take part in activities with the scientists and it was this that showed me how inspiring it is to teach young people.

"Teaching carries a lot of responsibility but it’s incredibly satisfying. I try to ensure classes are enjoyable so that my students want to develop a thirst for learning. Fun and hard work are what I try to bring to the classroom because fun makes hard work seem easier.

"My advice for anyone considering a teaching career is make sure you’re willing to work hard and have a real passion for your subject. If this is the case then apply for teacher training – the chance to influence so many young people in a positive way is not one you come across every day."

Helen Murray – Chemistry Teacher, Bucksburn Academy

“I was working in an environmental monitoring laboratory before switching to becoming a Chemistry teacher. I was happy enough but felt I had much more to offer, and I missed interacting with people. I absolutely made the right choice; the biggest difference has definitely been job satisfaction. It is so fulfilling to celebrate your pupils’ achievements, even the smallest victories. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly feel the need for holidays when term ends, but I love my job and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

“If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher, spend some time observing at your local school and see if you could juggle the demands. It took me a while to adjust to the routine of the bell, but you quickly realise that every class and every day is different; that is one of my favourite things about the job.”

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