Elementary School Teachers: Job Requirements, Duties and Career Info
Elementary school teachers instruct children from grades 1-8. All teachers must hold both a bachelor's degree and a state teaching license to work in public schools. Employment of teachers is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. Read on to learn more.
Elementary School Teacher Job Requirements
Since a bachelor's degree is a requirement for state teaching licenses, all aspiring public school teachers must graduate from a 4-year program before submitting an application for a license. Students hoping to work as elementary teachers need to look for schools that offer programs in elementary education. Most schools conferring education degrees require students to complete a supervised student teaching experience prior to graduation.
The definition of elementary differs from state to state. For example, a state may define elementary as K-8 (kindergarten through to grade eight) while another state may define it as K-6. Students should consider the grade level they want to teach and state certification guidelines when choosing a degree program.
Observations of elementary school classrooms supplement many classes in an elementary education degree program. Students also take courses in which they create sample lesson plans and give mock lessons to their classmates. Additional courses may include educational psychology and elementary school science.
Most states require aspiring elementary school teachers to have teaching experience, so elementary teacher preparatory programs typically include this in their curriculum. Sometimes referred to as internships, these opportunities allow aspiring elementary school teachers to prepare reading assignments, grade papers and work with kids.
Teaching in a public school requires a state license. State boards have varying licensure requirements; however, most require a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Aspiring elementary school teachers may also need to successfully complete skills tests in subjects like reading and writing. Applicants should consult their respective state boards for more specific requirements.
Elementary School Teacher Duties
Most elementary school teachers are in charge of a single classroom of students who are all in the same grade. Accordingly, elementary school teachers typically instruct students in a variety of subjects, from language arts to social studies. While they still deliver formal lessons, elementary school teachers often use games, crafts and other entertaining activities to help students learn material.
Elementary school teachers are often required to know how to encourage and communicate well with young children in order to help them develop in their earliest academic years. Since school children learn intellectually and behaviorally at their own pace, a high level of patience is needed for the job. Teachers may be required to communicate with parents on a regular basis. This may include phoning parents about specific issues or giving progress updates through report cards.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a large number of elementary school teachers to retire in the years 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Therefore, the BLS anticipates employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers to grow 12% between 2012 and 2022. Aspiring teachers willing to relocate to high-need rural or urban areas will have the best job prospects.
As of May 2012, median annual earnings of kindergarten and elementary school teachers were $53,400 as reported by the BLS. The highest-earning ten percent earned salaries exceeding $83,160. Since most school districts use a salary ladder, the salary of an elementary school teacher tends to increase each year. School districts may pay teachers who have earned credits beyond a bachelor's degree, such as completing a 1-year professional development program or a master's degree, higher salaries.
Related to Elementary School Teachers
- Recently Updated
Elementary school teachers mentor children at crucial points in their lives. These educators may teach children in grades 1-8....
Middle school teachers, also known as junior high teachers, instruct students who have completed elementary school, but have...
Dealing with bad behavior from immature students may be considered a normal part of an elementary, middle or high school...
Elementary school teachers instruct children from kindergarten through either fifth or eighth grade, depending on their state's...
- Elementary School Teacher Career Info
- Elementary Principal: Career Profile
- Elementary Education Teacher: Educational Requirements
- Bachelor's in Travel & Tourism: Degree Overview
- Associate of Design Drafting: Degree Overview
- Top University in Tampa for a Computer Science Degree Program
- Automotive Technology Certificate for Diesel & Industrial Technicians
- California Elementary School Combines Reading Encouragement with Business Writing
- Career Info for a Degree in Teaching Elementary School Curriculum
- Electronics Certificate in Computer Technology & Telecommunications
- Top School for Becoming a Chef - San Bernardino, CA
- Bachelor of Science (BS): Marketing and Advertising Degree Overview