47% of High School Students are Taught History by Teachers without a Degree in History

Saturday, September 19, 2015
(photo: Getty)

Almost half of high school students are learning history from a teacher without a degree in the subject.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ Schools and Staffing Survey, which examines the teaching certificates and postsecondary degrees of instructors, 47% of students taking history were learning it from teachers without a history degree. Only 23% of history students were in classes led by a teacher with both a college major and certification in the subject. Among history teachers, only 26% had both credentials—and 34% lacked both credentials.


In comparison, most music teachers were fully qualified to teach their subject, according to the survey. Only 2% of music teachers lacked both certification and a degree in the field, while 87% held a postsecondary degree in the subject and were certified.


Most foreign language teachers were also found to be properly credentialed. Seventy-three percent of German teachers had both a college major and certification in the subject, as did 71% of French teachers, 63% of Spanish teachers and 49% of Latin teachers.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Qualifications of Humanities Teachers in U.S. Public High Schools (Humanities Indicators)


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