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Become A Kindergarten Teacher

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Working As A Kindergarten Teacher

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • $48,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Kindergarten 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.

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How To Become A Kindergarten 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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Kindergarten Teacher Career Paths

Kindergarten Teacher
Tutor Instructor Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Tutor Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Tutor Team Leader Chairperson
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Assistant Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher
Child Care Director
5 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Adjunct Instructor Associate Dean
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Instructor Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Vice Principal
8 Yearsyrs
Instructor Program Coordinator Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Human Resources Manager Recruitment Director
College Director
6 Yearsyrs
Education Consultant Student Dean High School Assistant Principal
Elementary Assistant Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Preschool Lead Teacher Assistant Director Center Director
Early Childhood Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Principal Elementary School Principal
Curriculum Director
8 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Educational Programs Coordinator Education Program Manager
Assistant Education Director
6 Yearsyrs
Preschool Lead Teacher Director Center Director
Early Head Start Director
7 Yearsyrs
Nanny Preschool Lead Teacher Child Care Director
Child Care Center Director
6 Yearsyrs
Coach Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson
Administration Dean
9 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Master Teacher 3.6 years
2nd Grade Teacher 3.3 years
5th Grade Teacher 2.7 years
6th Grade Teacher 2.7 years
4th Grade Teacher 2.5 years
1st Grade Teacher 2.3 years
Student Teacher 0.7 years
Top Careers Before Kindergarten Teacher
Teacher 17.4%
Internship 3.8%
Tutor 3.2%
Volunteer 2.6%
Cashier 2.4%
Top Careers After Kindergarten Teacher
Teacher 19.9%
Tutor 3.5%
Director 2.9%
Volunteer 2.2%

Do you work as a Kindergarten Teacher?

Kindergarten Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

80.8%

Unknown

10.9%

Male

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.5%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.0%

French

6.8%

German

5.5%

Mandarin

4.3%

Arabic

3.7%

Chinese

3.6%

Japanese

3.1%

Portuguese

3.0%

Russian

2.2%

Italian

2.1%

Korean

1.9%

Cantonese

1.3%

Hebrew

1.3%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.5%

Romanian

0.5%

Hindi

0.5%

Greek

0.5%

Turkish

0.3%

Urdu

0.3%
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Kindergarten Teacher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.9%

Grand Canyon University

9.7%

Walden University

9.5%

Ashford University

6.0%

Liberty University

5.4%

Lesley University

4.4%

Nova Southeastern University

4.2%

University of Central Florida

4.1%

Arizona State University

3.9%

Towson University

3.8%

Montclair State University

3.8%

National Louis University

3.8%

Northern Arizona University

3.5%

University of Houston

3.4%

Kean University

3.2%

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

3.2%

Capella University

3.1%

Texas A&M University

3.0%

George Mason University

3.0%

Touro College

3.0%
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Majors

Elementary Education

26.6%

Early Childhood Education

16.7%

Education

14.9%

Special Education

6.5%

Educational Leadership

4.3%

Psychology

4.2%

Human Development

3.6%

Curriculum And Instruction

3.1%

Business

3.1%

English

2.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.3%

Liberal Arts

1.8%

Interdisciplinary Studies

1.5%

Teaching Assistants/Aides

1.5%

School Counseling

1.4%

Counseling Psychology

1.4%

Sociology

1.4%

Social Work

1.3%

Communication

1.1%

Nursing

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.2%

Masters

35.5%

Other

12.8%

Associate

4.4%

Certificate

3.9%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$48,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$33,000
Min 10%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$70,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Bloomfield, NJ
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Kindergarten Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Kindergarten Teacher in the United States is $48,471 per year or $23 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $70,000.

Real Kindergarten Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Kindergarten Teacher Baltimore City Public Schools Baltimore, MD Feb 11, 2016 $93,018
Kindergarten Teacher D.C. Preparatory Academy Washington, DC Jul 13, 2015 $78,266
Kindergarten Teacher New York International School New York, NY Jun 09, 2016 $70,000
Kindergarten Teacher Westside Waldorf School Pacifica, CA Jan 07, 2016 $68,250
French Kindergarten Teacher Ecole Internationale de New York LLC New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $63,000
French Kindergarten Teacher Ecole Internationale de New York LLC New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $62,000
Kindergarten Teacher Explore Excel Charter School New York, NY Sep 24, 2016 $60,500
Montessori Kindergarten Teacher The Montessori Family School of Manhattan New York, NY Jan 10, 2016 $60,000
Kindergarten Teacher-French American School Ecole Internationale de New York New York, NY Jan 12, 2015 $58,083
Kindergarten Teacher William E. DOAR Jr. Public Charter School for The Performing Arts Washington, DC Jul 21, 2016 $57,500
Kindergarten Teacher William E. DOAR Jr. Public Charter School for The Performing Arts Washington, DC Jul 21, 2015 $57,500
Kindergarten Teacher Global Montessori International School Berkeley, CA Jul 16, 2016 $46,250
Kindergarten Teacher Global Montessori International School Berkeley, CA Jan 09, 2016 $46,250
Kindergarten Mandarin Immersion Teacher Yu Ming Charter School Oakland, CA Jan 08, 2016 $46,250 -
$53,992
Kindergarten Teacher Global Montessori International School Berkeley, CA May 27, 2016 $46,250
Kindergarten Teacher Global Montessori International School Berkeley, CA Jun 16, 2016 $46,250
Kindergarten Teacher Sunshine Montessori School Chino, CA Sep 25, 2015 $46,206
Kindergarten Teacher Appleseed Montessori School Sunnyvale, CA Sep 01, 2015 $46,160
Kindergarten Teacher Play N Learn Preschool San Jose, CA Aug 01, 2015 $46,160
Kindergarten Teacher Lafayette Parish School System Lafayette, LA Jun 20, 2015 $42,750
Kindergarten Teacher Lafayette Parish School System Lafayette, LA Sep 15, 2015 $42,750
Kindergarten Teacher Primanti Montessori School Whittier San Dimas, CA Oct 01, 2015 $42,596
Kindergarten Teacher Flintridge Montessori Preschool and Elementary Inc. La Caada Flintridge, CA Sep 29, 2015 $42,575
Kindergarten Teacher The Scandinavian School of Jersey City LLC Jersey City, NJ Sep 03, 2015 $42,500
Kindergarten Teacher M of C, Inc. Calabasas, CA Jan 10, 2016 $42,500

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Top Skills for A Kindergarten Teacher

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Kindergarten
  3. Lesson Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed and implemented an appropriate classroom management system that effectively reduced negative behaviors.
  • Developed and implemented daily and unit lesson plans for kindergarten, administered tests and evaluations, and analyzed student performance.
  • Created and implemented detailed lesson plans around goal orientated criteria.
  • Implement developmentally appropriate lesson plans using the curriculum Open Court SRA/McGraw Hill and Everyday Mathematics.
  • Assessed student learning styles and provided differentiated instruction to promote academic mastery and student achievement.

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Top 10 Best States for Kindergarten Teachers

  1. Connecticut
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Texas
  4. Oregon
  5. Maryland
  6. Alaska
  7. New York
  8. Louisiana
  9. Rhode Island
  10. New Jersey
  • (226 jobs)
  • (403 jobs)
  • (1,602 jobs)
  • (134 jobs)
  • (177 jobs)
  • (31 jobs)
  • (448 jobs)
  • (113 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (566 jobs)

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