Chemistry with science teachers prepare and give lessons in topics such as the nature of chemicals, plastics, fuels and metals. They work to guidelines set up by the Curriculum for Excellence and prepare pupils, aged 11 to 18, for national exams.
You could be:
using a variety of teaching techniques such as demonstrations, experiments, discussions, projects and practical work
using a range of materials including text books, worksheets, diagrams, computers, audio-visual aids and scientific apparatus
organising and directing the whole class and helping individual pupils as required
setting assignments, projects, tests and exams, preparing and carrying out continuous assessment, marking pupils’ work and writing reports
keeping good order in the classroom and dealing with discipline issues
doing administrative work, including keeping a register of pupils
preparing for and attending parent-teacher meetings and staff meetings
sometimes supervising out of hours activities such as visits or social events
meeting regularly with other departments to plan interdisciplinary projects.
Teachers in Scotland are paid on a national salary scale. The starting annual salary for a probationer teacher is £32,217 (January 2024).
If you do your probationary period on the Teacher Induction Scheme, and are prepared to work anywhere in Scotland during that probationary year, you can also apply for the Preference Waiver Payment. For secondary school teachers, the payment is £8,000 before tax and national insurance.
After your probationary year, your salary will increase to £38,655 and increase an increment each year up to £48,516.
Where a teacher is employed in a remote school on a distant island both the remote schools allowance and the distant islands allowance are paid, in addition to the teacher’s normal salary.
A principal teacher earns between £52,896 and £68,265 a year, while the scale for depute head teachers and head teachers ranges from £59,994 to £110,808 a year, depending on the size of school.
Salaries in independent schools may differ slightly.
You would work in a classroom or laboratory.
Your working hours are based on a 35-hour week, working in a classroom 9.00am to 3.30pm or 4.00pm. You would use the rest of the time for preparation and marking.
You may have to do some preparation and assessment work at home, in the evenings or at weekends.
You would have 13 weeks holiday each year, but would probably use some of this time to prepare the next term's work.
You would have to prepare for and attend parent-teacher meetings, which are usually in the evening.
You should be aware that teaching is a mentally and physically demanding job.
To become a secondary school teacher of chemistry with science, you must have a degree (SCQF Level 9-10) in chemistry plus a Professional Graduate Diploma (SCQF Level 11) in Education (PGDE), or take a combined chemistry and teaching degree. The University of Strathclyde offers the MChem degree in Chemistry with Teaching (SCQF Level 10), the University of Stirling offers the BA (Hons) Professional Education (Secondary, Chemistry or Physics) and the University of the West of Scotland offers the BSc Hons Chemistry with Education.
For entry to a degree course in chemistry you need 4-5 good Highers, usually including chemistry and at least 1 other maths or science subject.
You must also have Higher English and National 5 Maths. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
For the degree in Chemistry with Teaching at the University of Strathclyde you normally need 4 Highers at AABB or AAAC (ABBB for Widening Access), including English, Maths, Chemistry. Advanced Higher Maths and Chemistry is recommended.
For the Professional Education and Chemistry degree at the University of Stirling, you need 2 Highers including a science subject plus National 5 including Maths and a science subject. You must achieve Higher English before entering Year 3.
For the BSc Hons Chemistry with Education at the University of the West of Scotland you need 4 Highers at BBBC including Chemistry plus National 5 English and Maths. You must obtain Higher English before entering Year 3.
Your degree should normally contain 80 Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) credit points relevant to the subject including organic, physical and inorganic chemistry. 40 of the credit points must have been studied at SCQF level 8 (second year undergraduate level) or above.
For entry to the PGDE, you need an approved degree and Higher English and Maths at National 5 - some institutions specify at B. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
PGDE courses in Chemistry are available at Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde, the Highlands and Islands (at a number of colleges) and West of Scotland universities.
There is a lot of competition for places in these courses. It helps if you have experience of working with children or young people.
For PGDE courses, apply through UCAS.
There are a number of new teacher training programmes available, most linked to local authorities. See Teach in Scotland for full details and to see which subjects are covered.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
Newly qualified teachers who want to teach in local council schools must complete a probationary period to demonstrate that they meet the Standard for Full Registration of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland). Those who wish to teach in independent schools may also require to be registered.
You are guaranteed a teaching post with a Scottish local authority for a full school year to complete this probationary period.