Kindergarten Teacher Career Info

A kindergarten teacher instructs students who are normally four to six years old using games, technology, group activities, crafts and storytelling. By developing language skills, social skills and problem-solving abilities and introducing math and science concepts, kindergarten teachers prepare students for higher levels of learning. Learn more about the required education, salary and employment outlook by reading on.

Career Definition for a Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten teachers lay the foundation for a child's educational career. They may use building blocks and counting games to teach math concepts, organize group activities to foster social skills, encourage creativity through arts and crafts projects, and develop language skills through storytelling and reading aloud. A kindergarten teacher establishes and enforces rules, leads physical exercise activities, helps disabled students with assistive devices, maintains records of student performance and meets with parents to discuss student progress.

Though the trend is shifting toward all-day kindergarten programs, some students attend half-day programs, and many kindergarten teachers instruct two separate groups of students each day. After three years, teachers in public schools often receive tenure, which can enhance long-term job security.

EducationBachelor's degree in teaching education, license requirements vary by state, voluntary certification available
Job SkillsCreativity, organization, working with children, performance evaluation
Median Salary (2015)*$51,640 for kindergarten teachers
Job Growth (2014-2024)*6% for kindergarten teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certification and Educational Requirements

Most states require kindergarten teachers employed by public schools to have a bachelor's degree in a teacher education program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), as well as state licensure. A list of accredited schools is available on the NCATE website. Private schools often do not require state licensure, but may have other requirements in addition to a bachelor's degree. Voluntary certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is also available for experienced teachers and may enhance job prospects.

Skills Needed

Kindergarten teachers must be creative, organized and enjoy working with kids. They must be able to maintain order in the classroom, lead and demonstrate group activities, read aloud to large groups, use audio-visual equipment and computers, operate assistive learning devices for disabled students and communicate with other teachers and parents. Additionally, they must also be able to evaluate a student's performance and identify potential learning disabilities.

Financial and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 6% job growth for kindergarten teachers from 2014-2024, which was about average. The best job opportunities are predicted in rural and urban areas, rather than the suburbs. The BLS reported median annual earnings of $51,640 for non-special education kindergarten teachers in 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Listed below are some other choices in teaching and research:

Librarian

Usually needing a master's degree in library science, librarians assist others in conducting research and finding information. Slower than average employment growth of 2% was predicted for librarian positions by the BLS from 2014-2024. According to the BLS, librarians earned a median salary of $56,880 per year in 2015.

Preschool Teacher

Often requiring just an associate's degree, preschool teacher positions provide care and education to children younger than kindergarten age. Faster-than-average job growth of 17% was expected by the BLS during the 2014-2024 decade. This profession offered a median salary of $28,570 per year as of 2015.

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