Montessori Teacher: Job Description and Education Requirements
Montessori teaching is a non-traditional method that infuses education techniques with a thorough understanding of child development. Montessori teachers, after they have been trained in specialized and accredited Montessori programs, foster independent growth in their students, acting more like guides than traditional teachers.
Often referred to as 'guides,' Montessori teachers are a part of an alternative education program that is offered in over 4,000 private schools and incorporated into over 200 public schools in the U.S. The Montessori method focuses on a child's education as a natural step in his or her development.
Instead of traditional teaching, the Montessori teacher helps children reach their own potential. According to the U.S. division of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the Montessori teacher must not only foster independent growth but also assist children to learn at their own pace though self-correcting lessons (www.amiusa.org). Careers for Montessori teachers are available at a variety of educational centers.
According to the North American Montessori Teachers' Association (NAMTA), teachers' salaries vary by experience and the age level they teach. In the 2009-2010 school year, the average entry-level salary for teachers of students ages 6-9 was $34,140 according to NAMTA (www.montessori-namta.org). Teachers can earn salary premiums for having degrees in related fields, like a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in education.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have salary or employment outlook data specifically for Montessori teachers; however, it does provide that information for elementary school teachers. They earned a median of $53,590 as of May 2013, and job growth of 12% was expected for them from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS.
All Montessori teachers must receive specialized training in this specific education method. There are a few institutions that offer Montessori teaching diplomas, but the most highly regarded are those accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale, which also offers training.
AMI training centers offer courses that run from September to May, allowing the student to graduate with a diploma in just one year of full-time work. There are also summer courses available that involve interim work and take 2-4 summers to complete. Each training center has its own application process, and most require the applicant to have a bachelor's degree, although some exceptions are made.
In AMI-accredited programs, students study the Montessori education method, child development and psychology for three age levels: Infancy (0-3), Primary (3-6), Elementary (6-12). At some universities, AMI courses can also count as graduate credit toward a master's or doctoral degree. The AMI diploma qualifies the graduate to teach the Montessori method in schools around the world.
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