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 that pivotal role—helping to shape and nurture students during their most formative years.
Elementary education teachers generally teach students in kindergarten through grade 6, with ages ranging from 5 to 13 years old.
These are the important steps to becoming an elementary school educator:
- Enroll in a quality online bachelor’s program in education.
The curriculum of comprehensive degree programs like an online BS in Elementary Education should align with the national professional standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and aim to prepare you for the state teacher licensing exam. Coursework generally features the fundamentals of teaching general subjects in an elementary classroom setting, and the best 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.
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.
- You may need or want a master’s degree in education.
Although all 50 states require a bachelor’s degree to teach in elementary education, some also require graduate degree, such as an MS in Education degree. Check with your state’s department of education on this important point as well.
- 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 are 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.
Salaries and Job Outlook for Elementary Educators
The market for elementary school teachers is projected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024. The median annual wage for elementary school teachers, except special education, was $54,890 in May 2015. The lowest 10% earned less than $36,190, and the highest 10% earned more than $85,550.*
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.
Explore how Walden University can help you advance your career through an online education degree, offered in a convenient format that lets you balance work and personal commitments.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016–2017 Edition, Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-1.