In our 2012-13 Nationwide Survey of High School Physics Teachers, we asked whether teaching high school was the respondent’s first career. More than 40% of the respondents indicated that teaching high school was not their first career. We call this group multi-career teachers. The table reveals differences and similarities for first- and multi-career teachers.

There are several statistically significant differences between first-career and multi-career teachers. Not surprisingly, first-career teachers are younger and have more teaching experience than multi-career teachers. Perhaps counterintuitively, even though a higher proportion of first-career teachers have a major in physics or physics education, a higher proportion of multi-career teachers are members of AAPT. While about one-third of teachers in both groups have a bachelor’s as their highest earned degree, multi-career teachers are more likely to have a doctorate than first-career teachers.

Susan White is the Assistant Director of the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute...

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