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Become An Elementary Education Teacher

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Working As An Elementary Education Teacher

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $54,362

    Average Salary

What Does An Elementary Education Teacher Do

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.

Duties

Postsecondary teachers typically do the following:

  • Teach courses in their subject area
  • Work with students who are taking classes to improve their knowledge or career skills
  • Develop an instructional plan (known as a course outline or syllabus) for the course(s) they teach and ensure that it meets college and department standards
  • Plan lessons and assignments
  • Work with colleagues to develop or modify the curriculum for a degree or certificate program involving a series of courses
  • Assess students’ progress by grading assignments, papers, exams, and other work
  • Advise students about which classes to take and how to achieve their goals
  • Stay informed about changes and innovations in their field
  • Conduct research and experiments to advance knowledge in their field
  • Supervise graduate students who are working toward doctoral degrees
  • Publish original research and analysis in books and academic journals
  • Serve on academic and administrative committees that review and recommend policies, make budget decisions, or advise on hiring and promotions within their department

Postsecondary teachers, often referred to as professors or faculty, specialize in a variety of subjects and fields. Some teach academic subjects, such as English or philosophy. Others focus on career-related subjects, such as law, nursing, or culinary arts.

At colleges and universities, professors are organized into departments that specialize in a subject, such as history, science, business, or music. A professor may teach one or more courses within that department. For example, a mathematics professor may teach calculus, statistics, and a graduate seminar in a very specific area of mathematics.

Postsecondary teachers’ duties vary with their positions in a university or college. In large colleges or universities, they may spend their time teaching, conducting research or experiments, applying for grants to fund their research, or supervising graduate teaching assistants who are teaching classes.

Postsecondary teachers who work in small colleges and universities or in community colleges often spend more time teaching classes and working with students. They may spend some time conducting research, but they do not have as much time to devote to it.

Full-time professors, particularly those who have tenure (a professor who cannot be fired without just cause), often are expected to spend more time on their research. They also may be expected to serve on more college and university committees.

Part-time professors, often known as adjunct professors, spend most of their time teaching students.

Professors may teach large classes of several hundred students (often with the help of graduate teaching assistants), smaller classes of about 40 to 50 students, seminars with just a few students, or laboratories where students practice the subject matter. They work with an increasingly varied student population as more part-time, older, and culturally diverse students are going to postsecondary schools.

Professors need to keep up with developments in their field by reading scholarly articles, talking with colleagues, and participating in professional conferences. A tenured professor must do original research, such as experiments, document analysis, or critical reviews, and publish their findings.

Some postsecondary teachers work for online universities or teach online classes. They use websites to present lessons and information, to assign and accept students’ work, and to participate in course discussions. Online professors communicate with students by email and by phone and might never meet their students in person.

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How To Become An Elementary Education Teacher

Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.

Education

Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.

Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.

Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.

Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.

Other Experience

Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.

In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.

In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.

Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.

Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.

Advancement

A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.

Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.

Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.

Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.

Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.

Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.

Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.

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Elementary Education Teacher Jobs

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Elementary Education Teacher Career Paths

Elementary Education Teacher
Office Manager Program Coordinator Adjunct Instructor
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Instructor ESL Instructor
Academic Director
8 Yearsyrs
Elementary Special Education Teacher Special Education Teacher For Grades Assistant Principal
Assistant Dean Of Students
6 Yearsyrs
Elementary School Teacher Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Adjunct Professor Professor
Campus Dean
14 Yearsyrs
High School Teacher Assistant Principal School Director
Children's Ministries Director
6 Yearsyrs
Middle School Teacher Math Teacher Instructor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Middle School Teacher Special Education Teacher
Director Of Special Education
11 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Instructor Lead Teacher
Director Of Teacher Education
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Educator Instructor
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
2nd Grade Teacher Teacher Assistant Principal
High School Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Preschool Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
High School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
High School Teacher Math Teacher Assistant Principal
Instruction Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Preschool Teacher 2nd Grade Teacher Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Elementary Special Education Teacher Special Education Resource Teacher Assistant Principal
School Director
7 Yearsyrs
Elementary School Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
2nd Grade Teacher Social Studies Teacher Assistant Principal
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Elementary Education Teacher?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Certified Teacher 4.5 years
Bilingual Teacher 4.4 years
Teacher 3.8 years
2nd Grade Teacher 3.2 years
6th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
5th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
4th Grade Teacher 2.4 years
1st Grade Teacher 2.2 years
Teacher Internship 0.8 years
Top Employers Before
Teacher 18.3%
Instructor 3.2%
Director 2.6%
Leader 2.3%
Tutor 2.3%
Top Employers After
Teacher 22.0%
Tutor 3.4%
Internship 2.3%

Do you work as an Elementary Education Teacher?

Elementary Education Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

80.5%

Male

17.6%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

63.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.3%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.8%

German

8.3%

French

8.3%

Vietnamese

4.2%

Braille

4.2%

Italian

4.2%
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Elementary Education Teacher Education

Schools

Grand Canyon University

10.2%

Nova Southeastern University

7.4%

Northern Arizona University

7.4%

Walden University

6.5%

Florida State University

6.5%

Northeastern State University

5.6%

Wayne State University

4.6%

Auburn University

4.6%

University of Iowa

4.6%

University of Central Florida

4.6%

Hofstra University

4.6%

Capella University

4.6%

Ashford University

3.7%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.7%

University of Phoenix

3.7%

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

3.7%

Liberty University

3.7%

Western Michigan University

3.7%

Ball State University

3.7%

University of North Florida

2.8%
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Majors

Elementary Education

33.1%

Education

18.9%

Special Education

9.9%

Educational Leadership

8.4%

Curriculum And Instruction

4.9%

Early Childhood Education

4.7%

Business

3.5%

School Counseling

2.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.9%

Educational Technology

1.8%

Counseling Psychology

1.8%

English

1.6%

Nursing

1.4%

Teaching Assistants/Aides

1.2%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.0%

Mental Health Counseling

0.8%

Pharmacy

0.8%

Sociology

0.8%

Health Education

0.8%

Interdisciplinary Studies

0.8%
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Degrees

Masters

44.2%

Bachelors

32.6%

Other

12.1%

Certificate

4.3%

Doctorate

3.6%

Associate

2.0%

License

0.8%

Diploma

0.5%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Elementary Education Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Elementary Teacher-Physical Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD May 31, 2014 $78,910
Teacher-Elementary Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 07, 2014 $78,910
Teacher-Elementary Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 01, 2014 $78,910
Teacher-Elementary Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 01, 2015 $78,669
Elementary Teacher-Physical Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD May 31, 2014 $77,890
Elementary Teacher-Physical Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Apr 30, 2014 $76,870
Teacher-Elementary Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 07, 2014 $76,870
Teacher-Elementary/Apc/Generic Spec. Educ/Elem & M Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Oct 01, 2012 $75,281
Elementary Bilingual Education Teacher Centronia Washington, DC Jul 30, 2013 $73,200
Elementary Education Teacher School District of Palm Beach County Lake Worth, FL May 04, 2011 $71,245
Elementary Teacher-Physical Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jun 04, 2014 $69,664
Elementary Education Teacher Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Oct 22, 2014 $67,075
Teacher-Elementary Education Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Jul 07, 2014 $67,075
Teacher-Elementary/Spc/Early Childhood Education N Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Oct 01, 2012 $63,534
Elementary Education Teacher Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Feb 07, 2015 $62,518
Elementary Education Teacher Baltimore City Public School System Baltimore, MD Mar 15, 2011 $60,880
Elementary Bilingual Education Teacher Centronia Washington, DC Jul 01, 2014 $53,600
Elementary Education Teacher East Baton Rouge Parish School System Baton Rouge, LA Jan 08, 2010 $49,981
Elementary Science Education Teacher Salida Del Sol Academy Greeley, CO Dec 27, 2016 $49,000
Elementary Science Education Teacher Salida Del Sol Academy Greeley, CO Dec 12, 2016 $49,000
Elementary Education Teacher Baltimore City Public School System Baltimore, MD Aug 10, 2015 $47,475 -
$84,011
Elementary Education Teacher Baltimore City Public School System Baltimore, MD Aug 05, 2015 $47,475 -
$84,011
Elementary and Secondary Education Teacher Montessori School of Anderson Anderson, SC Jul 28, 2016 $46,757
Elementary Bilingual Education Teacher Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School Distr Baytown, TX Jul 01, 2011 $46,000
Elementary Education Teacher Community Academy Public Charter School Washington, DC Jul 29, 2011 $45,890
Elementary Education Teacher Allendale County School District Allendale, SC Aug 24, 2015 $41,473
Elementary Education Teacher Mater Academy, Inc. Miami, FL Aug 01, 2013 $41,214
Elementary Education Teacher Tooele County School District Tooele, UT Aug 17, 2011 $40,019
Elementary Education Teacher Tooele County School District Stansbury Park, UT Aug 17, 2011 $40,019

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Top Skills for An Elementary Education Teacher

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  1. Grade Level
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Lesson Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide guidance and leadership for grade level peers regarding standards and general accountability.
  • Maintained exceptional classroom management, in addition to excellent and consistent communication with parents and school administration.
  • Developed and implemented lesson plans that fulfilled the district curriculum program and showed written evidence of preparation as required.
  • Instruct 1st to 4th grade students in reading, ,writing, and mathematics.
  • Incorporated various forms of technology, increasing student learning and proficiency.

How Would You Rate Working As an Elementary Education Teacher?

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Top 10 Best States for Elementary Education Teachers

  1. New Jersey
  2. Connecticut
  3. Michigan
  4. Alaska
  5. Arizona
  6. Rhode Island
  7. California
  8. Maryland
  9. New York
  10. New Hampshire
  • (706 jobs)
  • (319 jobs)
  • (482 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)
  • (476 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (3,400 jobs)
  • (168 jobs)
  • (545 jobs)
  • (91 jobs)

Top Elementary Education Teacher Employers

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Jobs From Top Elementary Education Teacher Employers

Elementary Education Teacher Videos

Elementary Education Teacher, Career Video from drkit.org

A Day in the Life of a Kindergarten Teacher

A Day In the Life of a Teacher: The Documentary

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