Career Information for a Degree in Teaching

Elementary education requires significant formal education. Learn about the degree, job options and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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A bachelor's degree and teacher's certification are required to become a special education teacher, elementary teacher, or education administrator. In addition, education administrators also need a master's degree and their principal's license.

Essential Information

A teacher has many responsibilities, including educating, evaluating and assisting their students to learn what is necessary. Teaching degrees for secondary or post-secondary levels typically require additional training in content areas, so this article focuses on a teaching degree for the elementary level. Elementary teachers also wear the hat of a reading teacher in that these grade levels are the ones when most children focus on learning how to read. Other paths for teaching degrees include special education or elementary education administrator positions. A state teaching licensure is necessary for all of these roles.

Career Special Education Teacher Elementary School Teacher Elementary Education Administrator
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Master's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% 6% 6%
Mean Salary (2015)* $58,640 $57,730 $92,940

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

In most cases, a student who chooses to be an elementary school teacher or a special education teacher must earn a bachelor's degree and state teacher certification. To become an elementary education administrator, an individual must have teaching experience and hold a bachelor's degree and a state teacher certification along with a master's degree. Completing a college internship program is mandatory for those who want a graduate degree.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have varying disabilities, such as cognitive, physical and emotional. Teachers must tailor their lesson plans to fit both the physical and emotional needs of their students. Teachers also guide and monitor students' development and keep detailed reports of their students' progress. Individuals who work with infants and toddlers may visit their students' homes in order to teach students and provide training to parents. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, projects 6% job growth for special education preschool, kindergarten, and elementary educators between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reported that the mean annual salary for special education kindergarten and elementary school teachers was $58,640 in May, 2015.

Elementary Teacher

Elementary teachers focus on basic school subjects such as science, English, math and history. Elementary teachers can have an important impact on a child's developmental years in which they are discovering and exploring the world and forming patterns that can affect their futures. Teachers may either work alone or in teams, specializing in a single subject or in a variety of basic subjects. The BLS projects a 6% job growth for elementary school teachers between 2014 and 2024. The mean annual salary for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was reported by the BLS to be $57,730 in 2015.

Elementary Education Administrator

Administrators in elementary schools are known as principals; they oversee curriculum plans, prepare budgets and create education goals and standards. Administrators could also be involved with public relations and meet with other administrators, parents and teachers to discuss state education standards and student performance. Principals could also establish after-school programs for students from single-parent families. Elementary, middle, and high school principal positions are expected to grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024. Additionally, elementary and secondary school education administrators earned a mean annual salary of $92,940 in May, 2015.

Elementary education teachers work with children in kindergarten through grade five. Special education elementary teachers work with students who have been identified to have learning difficulties and require modified instruction to meet individualized goals. Administrators oversee the operations of the school, approving curricula, preparing budgets and creating goals and standards for the school staff. These are career options for individuals with a bachelor's degree and teacher's certification (teachers), or a master's degree and principal's license (administrator).

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