Kindergarten teachers aid the development of children between the ages of approximately four and six as they enter the education system. Through the use of games, educational tools and learning exercises, they help children build core skills to succeed in school. Working with young children can be quite stressful and tiring, requiring a great deal of patience and energy, but seeing students' social and academic progress at the end of the school year can be rewarding, and most teachers get the summers off.
Career Skills & Info
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree; some states require a master's degree|
|Degree Field||Education, elementary education, early childhood education; some states mandate a second major in a relevant content area, such as science or math|
|Experience||Must complete the requirements of supervised student teaching and pass proficiency exams for certification.|
|Licensure/Certification||Must pass state certification exams; some states require a kindergarten endorsement|
|Key Skills||Nurturing, patience, creativity, compassion, communication, good classroom management, computer software skills|
|Salary (2015)||$54,510 (Annual average salary for a kindergarten teachers, excluding those who worked in special education)|
|Career Outlook||From 2014-2024, jobs for kindergarten and elementary school teachers are expected to increase by 6%, or a fast-as-average rate.|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ONET Online, National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.
Let's find out more about these requirements.
Step 1: Bachelor's Degree
Kindergarten teachers must graduate from a 4-year teacher education program, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Alternative programs may award degrees in kindergarten and elementary education, early childhood and elementary education, or elementary education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some states require public school teachers to earn a second degree in a relevant subject area to qualify for a license.
Education majors take courses in curriculum planning, child learning methods, and child development theory. Because textbooks and lectures can't fully prepare individuals for leading a class of kindergartners, education programs also include hands-on training. Aspiring teachers usually spend one of their later semesters in an internship or student teaching experience.
- Become a tutor. Tutoring can help prospective teachers gain knowledge and techniques needed for effective instruction and communication.
Step 2: License
In the United States, all public school teachers are required to obtain a state license after graduating from an approved teacher education program. Licensing requirements vary by state, but typically include a bachelor's degree in education and a passing score on a basic skills proficiency exam. Some states require kindergarten teachers to earn an additional endorsement in early childhood education.
Individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in a field other than education may consider alternative certification routes. Private school teachers usually don't have to meet the state licensure requirement; however, many private schools prefer to hire teachers who have at least a bachelor's degree.
Step 3: Graduate Degree
Some states require teachers to earn a master's degree within a certain amount of time after receiving their certification. A Master of Education program, for example, offers teachers the opportunity to specialize in a grade level, subject, or specific aspect of teaching, while at the same time providing them with a valuable career tool for advancement. Graduate programs also prepare teachers to become experts in pedagogy or education.
- Take professional development courses. In order to remain licensed, states require teachers to participate in ongoing professional development or take continuing education courses.
We've discussed a lot of information in this lesson, so let's review. To become a kindergarten teacher in a public school, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in an education-related major and a state license. As of May 2015, kindergarten teachers earned an average yearly salary of $54,510.