Teacher — Secondary School — Physics

Physics with science teacher
Education and training

Career outlook for teacher — secondary school — physics

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would inspire and motivate young people to learn about the scientific principles and concepts used to understand how the universe works.

As a physics teacher, you’d teach them about the study of matter, how it moves through space and time as well as energy and forces.

You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old, in state and independent schools. You might also work in a college or learning centre.

You’d help your pupils develop skills in the accurate use of scientific language, formulae and equations and how to use practical techniques for scientific inquiry and investigation.

They would learn how scientific discoveries make an impact on people’s lives, society and the environment. You’d teach them the capacity to be scientifically literate citizens and prepare the foundations for some pupils to go on to a career in science and technologies.

You’d teach students of different ages and abilities and prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in this subject.

There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence Sciences and National Qualifications, which you would use when planning your teaching.

You would:

  • prepare lessons and teaching materials
  • assess students’ progress and mark their work
  • set homework
  • manage classroom behaviour
  • discuss students' progress with parents and carers
  • organise study trips, social activities and sports events.

You’d encourage the students to take pride in their achievements inside and outside school. You’d support them to build good relationships with other students and teachers and play a positive part in the life of the school and the local community.

You’d help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they’ll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.

Sometimes you will need to deal with challenging behaviour. It may be difficult to get some teenagers to study so you’d need to be imaginative and enthusiastic to keep them interested.

You’d need to attend meetings and training courses. You’d work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s timetables and work with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers.

Working conditions


Teaching takes place for 39 weeks a year, usually from 9am to 3.30pm or 4pm. You are likely to spend several more hours outside of these times, planning lessons, marking pupils' work and taking part in activities such as outings, parent evenings and training.


Secondary school teachers often have a base classroom. However, from time to time they may have to carry books and equipment from room to room. This is subject to the space available in each school.


You could do supply teaching where you work in different schools for short periods to cover the absences of permanent teachers.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Supporting
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Empathising
  • Respecting
  • Social conscience
  • Ethical
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Motivating others

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You will need either a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree in Physics with Teaching (SCQF level 9/10) or you can apply with any relevant degree to a PGDE — Professional Graduate Diploma in Education — in Physics or Physics with Science (SCQF level 11).

To enter a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree in Physics with Teaching (SCFQ level 9/10) you will require National 5 qualifications and at least four Highers at B or above. Some courses will require this in one sitting and may prefer Advanced Higher physics.

If you are applying to a PGDE (SCQF level 11) you will need a relevant degree.

To enter this job applicants must have completed degree level study or above with at least 80 credit points from subjects such as electricity and magnetism, electronics, optics, mechanics, dynamics, nuclear and atomic physics.

Useful subjects

  • Higher English (required by most courses) 
  • Maths (required by most courses) 
  • Physics (required by most courses)
  • Science and technologies subjects
  • Social studies subjects such as psychology

You will also need

You will need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate the ability to work with children or young people, communication skills and experience with science and technologies will be helpful.

You will be expected to support literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing as well as your own subject.