Kindergarten teachers educate young children during some of their most formative educational years. These teachers generally need to complete a bachelor's or master's program in education, student-teaching experiences, and a licensure exam, though exact requirements can vary by state.
|Required Education||Bachelor's or master's degree in education|
|Other Requirements||Teaching licensure or certification for public school teachers|
|Projected Job Growth (2014 - 2024)*||6%|
|Median Salary (May 2015)*||$51,640 annually|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Requirements for Kindergarten Teachers
Kindergarten teachers generally need at least a bachelor's degree in order to qualify to teach in a public school. Early childhood education programs cover the various styles and techniques, such as play and interactive activities, used to teach young children. These programs provide students with an understanding of how to develop a child's ability to learn and methods for delivering education plans. Common courses in early childhood education programs include:
- Child development
- Technology in education
- Educational psychology
- Curriculum planning
- Classroom management
- Teaching methods
Many schools offer majors in early childhood education, though students can also choose to enroll in a supplementary certificate program that includes teacher training, especially if their bachelor's degree is in another field. Teacher training programs include teaching practicums under the guidance of professionals, allowing students to learn and interact with children in real-life teaching environments.
In every state, public school teachers must obtain licensing through their respective state boards of education; however, private schools generally don't require licensing. Some states provide different levels of licensure based on the grade taught, while others allow teachers with a general educator license to teach at any level. Teachers can also obtain licensure in a specific type of teaching, such as special education or reading. Common licensure requirements include a bachelor's degree, an approved teacher training program, a background check, and supervised teaching practice. Some states also have technology training and minimum GPA requirements.
Many states use the nationalized standard PRAXIS tests to ensure aspiring teachers are qualified after earning a degree. The exams cover general teaching knowledge in reading, math and writing, and subject-specific topics at the K-6 level. Most employers require teachers to participate in professional development training to keep skills and knowledge up-to-date, and states require continuing education to maintain licensure.
Licensed teachers who want to demonstrate proficiency beyond the requirements for licensure can opt to earn certification. Voluntary certification that's recognized by every state is available through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The organization offers certification for kindergarten teachers in several disciplines, such as library media, art, reading, and school counseling. To earn a credential, teachers must have at least a bachelor's degree and three years of classroom experience in a state-approved school.
Kindergarten teachers need patience and understanding in their daily jobs. Additionally, they'll need to understand how to select developmentally appropriate materials and equipment and work cooperatively with parents to develop education plans. They must know how to use assessment tools, enforce rules, and communicate effectively with young children. Kindergarten teachers might also need to know how to use and incorporate technology into the classroom.
Salary and Career Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated 6% job growth for kindergarten teachers in the years 2014-2024, which is about average compared to all occupations. In May 2015, kindergarten teachers earned $51,640 as a median annual wage.