How to Become an Elementary Education Teacher
Positive learning experiences in elementary school can help shape the future success of young learners, academically as well as professionally and personally. As an elementary education teacher, you would have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in helping to nurture students during their most formative years.
Elementary education teachers generally teach students in kindergarten through grade 6, though school districts could include up to grade 8.
Follow these key steps to becoming an elementary school educator:
1. Enroll in a quality online bachelor’s or master’s program in education.
The curriculum of comprehensive degree programs like an online BS in Elementary Education or Master of Arts in Teaching - Elementary Education should align with the national professional standards of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and aim to prepare you for a state teacher licensing exam. Coursework generally covers the fundamentals of teaching general subjects in an elementary classroom setting, and the best degree programs are enhanced with virtual field experiences, field observations, and demonstration teaching. A robust program helps prepare you to become an effective elementary education teacher eager to make a positive difference in young students’ lives.
It’s important to note that not all education degree programs will prepare you to pursue licensure. Also, since requirements for licensure can vary, it is important to confirm the requirements where you plan to teach. To do so, contact your state’s department of education prior to enrolling in any licensure preparation or endorsement program.
2. Complete your demonstration teaching in an elementary school.
As part of an elementary education degree program’s curriculum, teacher candidates will gradually assume complete teaching responsibility of an elementary classroom. Demonstration teaching provides real-world experience and the opportunity to translate theory into practice. During demonstration teaching, teacher candidates also complete the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA).
3. Take your state’s licensing exam for elementary teachers.
Once you have successfully completed your teacher preparation degree program, you will need to pass the standardized testing required by the state in which you plan to teach. Each individual state sets its own standards, so it is important to check with the department of education in your state for details.
4. Apply for a certificate from the department of education.
Once you have met all the teaching licensure requirements, you need to apply for a certificate from the department of education in your state. As a licensed and certified teacher, you will be qualified to get a job as a teacher in any public school located in your state. If at any time you decide to teach in a different state, you will want to confirm the policies on reciprocity for out-of-state teacher certification.
Job Outlook for Elementary Educators
The market for elementary school teachers is projected to grow 7% from 2020 to 2030.1 While this growth is about the same as the average for all occupations, there should be about 124,300 new openings for kindergarten and elementary school teachers each year, on average, over the decade. Many of these positions will be opened in order to replace educators who are retiring or changing occupations.
If you’re passionate about becoming an elementary school teacher and you follow the necessary steps to achieve your goal, you can look forward to a fulfilling career inspiring young students with the joy of learning.
A Master of Arts in Teaching – Elementary Education or a BS in Elementary Education online program can help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to teach in K–6 classrooms. Walden’s online bachelor’s program in elementary education lets you learn from anywhere you have internet access and take classes at whatever time of day works best for you. This makes it possible to earn an online teaching degree while working full time and handling your other responsibilities. And, if you earn your elementary education degree from Walden University, a CAEP-accredited institution, that coursework will prepare you to pursue teacher certification.
If elementary education is the right choice for your career, a Master of Arts in Teaching – Elementary Education or a BS in Elementary Education from Walden University can help you get there.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering Master of Arts in Teaching - Elementary Education and BS in Elementary Education degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, please refer to www.WaldenU.edu/educlicensure.
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