Become a Kindergarten & Elementary School Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers specialize in preparing young children for future schooling and largely for the world in general. They lead students through a critical period of development when they must learn the fundamentals of reading, writing, math, science and other subjects to get an understanding for how these elements will fit into their lives in the future.

Moreover, it's up to these teachers to observe, evaluate and report about particular students' learning habits, strengths and weaknesses. While it's up to the teacher to help students understand the material, its also important they recognize who may be struggling and why. On a broader level, kindergarten and elementary school teachers are responsible for maintaining proper classroom decorum and teaching children how to behave inside and outside the classroom.

In all states, school teachers must have a bachelor's degree as well as a state-issued certification or license, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[i]. While online courses may help prepare you for exams you must pass to receive licensing, they are also beneficial for learners with busy lifestyles. Many online courses can be taken at your convenience and can be structured to fit your schedule. They also make attending class easier by reducing the need to commute.

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Are Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher Degree Programs for You?

Here are some things to consider when choosing an online kindergarten and elementary school teacher program:

  • Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work in public and private institutions. Teachers in public schools must be licensed or otherwise certified, but private schools may not require this.
  • Educational requirements vary by state, institution and position. Some states require that teachers receive a master's degree after being certified. Other schools require teachers of particular subjects to major in certain fields - such as math and science.
  • State certifications often require educators to pass a teacher preparation program, which includes a period of student teaching.
  • After being certified, instructors must regularly attend professional development to keep a teaching license.
  • Before signing up for online kindergarten and elementary teacher degree courses, ask if certain classes are designed to help prepare you for state regulated exams or help locate student teaching resources to meet employment requirements within a state.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher Careers and Potential Salaries

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers are primarily equipped to teach young children using principles in child psychology and learning techniques. However, online courses in this field may prepare you to pursue for similar occupations. Research your options before signing up for an online program:

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers[i]

These professionals have various responsibilities depending on their positions within a school. There are kindergarten and elementary school instructors that teach specific subjects - such as music, physical education and art - while others cover subjects more generally. At the base level, these professionals are charged with teaching students problem solving, critical thinking and how to understand abstract concepts.

  • See the BLS for median annual salary information
  • Job growth through 2022: 12 percent (as fast as average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Middle School Teachers[ii]

After learning the fundamentals in elementary school, students proceed to middle school, where teachers build off of what they already know and prepare them for more difficult coursework in the years ahead. Courses are typically more in-depth and challenging, while lesson plans may be more complex.

  • See the BLS for median annual salary information
  • Job growth through 2022: 12 percent (as fast as average)
  • Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals[iii]

Principals of these schools take on more administrative tasks. Instead of mentoring children primarily, they are expected to help mentor teachers and evaluate their performance. They organize staff activities, manage school budgets and make sure the institution runs efficiently and effectively.

  • See the BLS for median annual salary information
  • Job growth through 2022: 6 percent (slower than average)
  • Entry-level education: Master's degree