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What Does IT Take to Be a Kindergarten Teacher?

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a kindergarten teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Kindergarten teachers are responsible for teaching children basic skills that will prepare them for elementary school grades. The main skills taught are reading and math, and teachers create lesson plans, grade student work, manage classroom behavior and work with parents to ensure that students are succeeding. These teachers usually need to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and complete student teaching requirements. Graduates are usually prepared to obtain a state teaching license, which is required to teach in the public school system.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in early childhood education
Other Requirements State licensure required by public schools
Projected Job Growth*13% for kindergarten teachers, except special education, from 2012-2022
Median Salary (2013)* $50,230 annually for kindergarten teachers, except special education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements for Kindergarten Teachers

The minimum educational requirement to become a kindergarten teacher is a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Many undergraduate early childhood education degree programs also prepare graduates to teach up to the third grade. Successful kindergarten teachers have strong communication and interpersonal skills and can motivate their students to learn.

Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

A bachelor's degree program in early childhood education combines core early childhood education classes with practical teaching experiences. The teaching component is typically completed in the final year, while early childhood education classes are taken during the entirety of enrollment. Some of the core courses include young children and cognitive experiences, family literacy, classroom management, integrated math and science and special needs young children.

A supervised teaching course requires students to demonstrate knowledge of core early childhood teaching principles. It also provides aspiring teachers with an opportunity to interact with children and test their ability to communicate and motivate students. A course such as this is usually supervised by a licensed teacher and is conducted at a school with ties to a university. Also, many undergraduate early childhood education departments aid students with meeting the state requirements for obtaining a teaching license.

License Requirements

State requirements for obtaining a teaching license vary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), most states require that candidates graduate from an education degree program and complete a period of supervised teacher training. Some states may also require that candidates be tested in areas such as writing and reading. Also, if a teaching license candidate has focused on a particular subject area such as math or science, demonstration of proficiency in the chosen subject is required. Additional requirements are possible and teaching license candidates are encouraged to contact the state in which they plan to teach for specifics.

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