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Average Salary
$49,952
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
3%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
83,096
Job Openings

Elementary School Teacher Careers

An elementary school teacher is tasked with creating a welcoming classroom environment and keeping it under control. The job of the elementary school teacher is to lay the foundation for future learning by teaching the basics of subjects like comprehension, math, science, and social studies. They develop and implement lesson plans in the classroom and establishes and enforces classroom and school rules. Furthermore, they prepare students for standardized tests and observes and reviews their performance. Similarly, they grade student's homework and tests and keep parents updated about their children's welfare.

While each state has its licensure requirements, most require a bachelor's degree in a related field. Applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience and passed a competency test. You must possess organization, listening, and communication skills. You must also be able to control a classroom. Elementary school teachers earn an average salary of $53,172 per annum. It ranges between $36,000 and $79,000.

What Does an Elementary School Teacher Do

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading. 

Duties

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans to teach students subjects, such as reading, science, social studies, and math
  • Teach students how to study and communicate with others
  • Observe students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach lessons they have planned to an entire class of students or to smaller groups
  • Grade students’ assignments to monitor their progress
  • Communicate with parents about their child’s progress
  • Work with students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules to teach children proper behavior
  • Supervise children outside of the classroom—for example, during lunchtime or recess

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers help students learn and apply important concepts. Many teachers use a hands-on approach to help students understand abstract concepts, solve problems, and develop critical thinking skills. For example, they may demonstrate how to do a science experiment and then have the students conduct the experiment themselves. They may have students work together to learn how to collaborate to solve problems.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers generally teach kindergarten through fourth or fifth grade. However, in some schools, elementary school teachers may teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. They typically teach students several subjects throughout the day.

Some teachers may teach in a multilevel classroom that includes students across two or more grades. They may teach the same group of students for several years.

Kindergarten and elementary school students spend most of their day in one classroom. Teachers may escort students to assemblies; to classes taught by other teachers, such as art or music; or to recess. While students are away from the classroom, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, or meet with other teachers and staff.

In some schools, teachers may work in subject specialization teams in which they teach one or two specific subjects, either English and social studies or math and science. Generally, students spend half their time with one teacher and half their time with the other.

Some kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach special classes, such as art, music, and physical education.

Some schools employ teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Both of these types of teachers work exclusively with students who are learning the English language, often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). The teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and to help them with assignments from other classes.

Students with learning disabilities or emotional or behavioral disorders are often taught in traditional classes. Kindergarten and elementary teachers work with special education teachers to adapt lesson plans to these students’ needs and monitor the students’ progress. In some cases, kindergarten and elementary school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students in higher grades, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information or to expand on a lesson taught in class.

How To Become an Elementary School Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Education

All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Some states also require kindergarten and elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. They typically enroll in their college’s teacher preparation program and also take classes in education and child psychology in addition to those required by their major.

In teacher education programs, future teachers learn how to present information to young students and how to work with young students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit teach.org.

Some states require all teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification.

Private schools typically seek kindergarten and elementary school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Those who teach in private schools are generally not required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers are typically certified to teach early childhood grades, which are usually preschool through third grade, or elementary school grades, which are usually first through sixth grades or first through eighth grades.

Requirements for certification vary by state. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, they are required to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, typically gained through student teaching. Some states require a minimum grade point average. States often require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach. Although kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do not teach only a single subject, they may be required to pass a content area test to earn their certification. For information on certification requirements in your state, visit teach.org.

Teachers are frequently required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.

All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately after graduation, under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing one of these programs.

Training

In order to receive certification, teachers need to undergo a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of time required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with teacher assistants and special education teachers. In addition, they need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Creativity. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must plan lessons that engage young students, adapting the lessons to different learning styles.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must respond with patience when students struggle with material.

Physical stamina. Working with kindergarten and elementary-aged students can be tiring. Teachers need to be able to physically, mentally, and emotionally keep up with the students.

Resourcefulness. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers need to be able to explain difficult concepts in terms that young students can understand. In addition, they must be able to get students engaged in learning and adapt their lessons to meet students’ needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to serve as mentors to newer teachers or to become lead teachers. In these roles, they help less experienced teachers to improve their teaching skills.

With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals, both of which generally require additional schooling in education administration or leadership.

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Average Salary
$49,952
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
3%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
83,096
Job Openings

Elementary School Teacher Career Paths

Top Careers Before Elementary School Teacher

Teacher
19.5 %

Top Careers After Elementary School Teacher

Teacher
21.5 %

Elementary School Teacher Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for an Elementary School Teacher

Elementary School Teachers in America make an average salary of $49,952 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $64,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $38,000 per year.
Average Salary
$49,952
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
New York, NY
Salary Range54k - 83k$67k$67,401
Washington, DC
Salary Range53k - 83k$67k$66,683
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range52k - 81k$66k$65,691
Palo Alto, CA
Salary Range51k - 82k$65k$65,218
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range45k - 71k$57k$57,143
Portland, OR
Salary Range47k - 68k$57k$56,848
$30k
$83k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
3Rd Grade Teacher
3Rd Grade Teacher
Garfield School District Re-2
Garfield School District Re-2
06/29/2021
06/29/2021
$36,89606/29/2021
$36,896
3Rd Grade Teacher
3Rd Grade Teacher
Garfield School District Re-2
Garfield School District Re-2
06/25/2021
06/25/2021
$36,89606/25/2021
$36,896
Elementary School Teacher (Lower Elementary; Independent Study; SAN Diego County)
Elementary School Teacher (Lower Elementary; Independent Study; SAN Diego County)
Dehesa Charter School
Dehesa Charter School
06/20/2021
06/20/2021
$47,47406/20/2021
$47,474
SY: Teacher-Sped-.5 FTE at Carlos Gilbert Elementary School
SY: Teacher-Sped-.5 FTE at Carlos Gilbert Elementary School
Santa Fe Public Schools
Santa Fe Public Schools
06/18/2021
06/18/2021
$41,00006/18/2021
$41,000
Elementary School Teacher (Kindergarten-6Th Grade)
Elementary School Teacher (Kindergarten-6Th Grade)
Lucerne Valley Unified
Lucerne Valley Unified
06/16/2021
06/16/2021
$49,26706/16/2021
$49,267
See More Recent Salaries

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Elementary School Teacher Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Elementary School Teacher. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Elementary School Teacher Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Elementary School Teacher resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Elementary School Teacher Demographics

Gender

female

74.8 %

male

20.8 %

unknown

4.5 %

Ethnicity

White

74.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

11.2 %

Black or African American

9.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.1 %

French

7.6 %

Chinese

3.8 %
See More Demographics

Elementary School Teacher Education

Degrees

Bachelors

67.6 %

Masters

17.4 %

Certificate

6.8 %

Top Colleges for Elementary School Teachers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

7. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. Brown University

Providence, RI • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,466
Enrollment
6,752

10. SUNY at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,099
Enrollment
21,404
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Elementary School Teacher That You May Like

Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom
ed2go

Improve your ability to teach diverse learners with real-world examples from elementary, middle, and high school classrooms...

Teaching High School Students
ed2go

Master the latest teaching strategies to help you reach high school students, including differentiated instruction and classroom management...

Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities
ed2go

Learn how to successfully meet the diverse needs of students with learning disabilities in your classroom...

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Top Skills For an Elementary School Teacher

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.4% of elementary school teachers listed classroom management on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and patience are important as well.

Best States For an Elementary School Teacher

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an elementary school teacher. The best states for people in this position are New York, Alaska, Maryland, and California. Elementary school teachers make the most in New York with an average salary of $66,550. Whereas in Alaska and Maryland, they would average $65,466 and $65,390, respectively. While elementary school teachers would only make an average of $62,596 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Maryland

Total Elementary School Teacher Jobs:
1,063
Highest 10% Earn:
$98,000
Location Quotient:
1.48
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Elementary School Teacher Jobs:
682
Highest 10% Earn:
$88,000
Location Quotient:
1.82
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New York

Total Elementary School Teacher Jobs:
1,624
Highest 10% Earn:
$99,000
Location Quotient:
1.12
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Elementary School Teacher Employers

1. Potomac High School
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$54,795
Elementary School Teachers Hired: 
467+
2. Baltimore City Public Schools
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$59,988
Elementary School Teachers Hired: 
173+
3. Denver County 1
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$48,600
Elementary School Teachers Hired: 
138+
4. Houston Independent School District
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$50,928
Elementary School Teachers Hired: 
118+
5. Minnetonka Schools
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$45,428
Elementary School Teachers Hired: 
98+
6. Bryan Independent School District
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$49,935
Elementary School Teachers Hired: 
71+

Elementary School Teacher Videos

Updated October 2, 2020