3rd Grade Teachers: Job Info & Requirements

Mar 26, 2019

Learn about a career as a 3rd grade teacher. Read about the job description, duties, education requirements, salary, and employment outlook to decide if this is the right career for you.

Job Description for 3rd Grade Teachers

A 3rd grade teacher provides instruction in a variety of subjects including math, social studies, reading, and science. They must be sensitive to cultural, racial, socioeconomic, and religious differences among their students and understand how such diversity influences students' learning. Teachers at this level also assign homework, create lesson plans, prepare exams, and evaluate students. Depending on the school, class sizes may be small or large, requiring teachers to plan their curriculum accordingly. These teachers, like most elementary school instructors, are primarily based out of one classroom and work with the same group of students daily. Teachers must also communicate well with the parents of their students, especially regarding any potential social or behavioral concerns they may have.

Education Bachelor's in education or core education field
Job Duties Assign homework, create lesson plans, evaluate students
Median Salary (2017)* $57,160 per year for elementary school teachers, except special education
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7% for elementary school teachers, except special education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree is required for 3rd grade teachers. Some school systems allow individuals with bachelor's degrees outside of education to become teachers by completing professional development programs. Other states require that a teacher specialize in one area of core education, such as science or mathematics. Degree programs in education cover not only the material that will be presented to students (English, social studies, science, etc.), but also train future teachers to instruct and guide students within a classroom setting. Many programs include field training, such as student teaching opportunities.

Licensing Requirements

Public school 3rd grade teachers must hold a state license (also commonly referred to as a teaching certification), but those at private schools may not need one. All states require that public school teachers have a bachelor's degree and complete a teacher preparation program in order to qualify for certification. Many states also require a general teaching certification exam. Maintaining a teacher's license differs by state but usually requires continuing education. Some 3rd grade teachers also may pursue professional certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (www.nbpts.org).

Required Skills

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that successful 3rd grade teachers must hold the following qualities:

  • Communication skills to effectively relay information to students, parents, administrators, and other teachers
  • Creativity, which can allow teachers to engage their students' minds in different ways
  • Adaptability, patience, and compassion
  • Ability to handle stressful situations and have the energy to keep up with 3rd graders
  • Bilingual abilities, since Spanish and other languages are becoming more common in the U.S.

Employment and Salary Outlook

Elementary school teachers not involved in special education were expected to see average job growth at 7% from 2016-2026, according to the BLS, with most increases in urban and rural school districts, as well as in the Southwestern regions of the nation, where enrollment was projected to increase rapidly. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for elementary school teachers not involved in special education in May 2017 was $57,160.

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