In order to teach elementary school, prospective teachers must complete a bachelor's degree program in education. Most colleges and universities offer these programs, which typically include courses in common school subjects and opportunities for students to gain supervised experience under a licensed teacher. Those who plan to teach in public elementary schools need to earn teacher licensure or certification.
Pre-Major Educational Requirements
To be accepted as an education major, students must complete the program's prerequisites. For example, some programs may require students to complete classes on human development and childhood education. Topics may range from child psychology to fostering relationships. Students may also be required to take lab courses in which they analyze different methods of education and relationship building. Students may need to complete an interview before being accepted into a teacher education program.
Because elementary school teachers typically teach all subjects to children, they may be required to take pre-major courses in a range of topics such as children's literature, language arts, and elementary mathematics. Programs may also require students to take supplemental classes in art and music.
Major Education Requirements
Once accepted into an elementary teaching degree program, students begin taking advanced curriculum courses in math, science and social studies. These courses delve more deeply into teaching concepts in algebra, biology and history. Additionally, aspiring elementary teachers are required to complete professional courses in classroom management and teaching methods that prepare them to motivate children and implement an interactive curriculum.
Elementary teaching programs also train graduates to assess student performance and utilize technology in the curriculum. These programs may offer insights into conducting meetings with parents and using tools such as computers to teach children basic academic skills. Some schools may offer programs designed to prepare students for obtaining teaching licensure while earning the degree.
Students in an education program are generally assigned internships. Internships require students to log a minimum number of hours earning hands-on experience. These opportunities allow aspiring teachers to gain experience with planning lessons and managing a class. Once the internship is complete, students may be required to show proficiency in teacher standards of performance set by their respective state.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that elementary school teaching jobs were predicted to grow 6% from 2014-2024, which was average. Opportunities should be better in urban and rural areas across the country. Elementary school teachers earned mean wages of $54,890 per year as of May 2015.
In summary, elementary school teachers need a bachelor's degree in education and are often required to be licensed or certified.