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Become A Teacher

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Working As A Teacher

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $35,500

    Average Salary

What Does A Teacher Do

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


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 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.


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

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

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.


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.


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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Teacher jobs


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Teacher Career Paths

Case Manager Program Manager Education Director
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Instructor ESL Instructor
Academic Director
8 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Preschool Teacher Assistant Director Director Of Admissions
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Educator Site Coordinator Youth Director
Children's Ministries Director
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant Principal Adjunct Professor
Curriculum Director
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Program Director Chairperson
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Assistant Director Adjunct Instructor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Site Director Preschool Teacher
Director Of Preschool
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Director Of Special Education
12 Yearsyrs
Nanny Preschool Teacher Pre-K Teacher
Director Of Teacher Education
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor Trainer Training Manager
Director Of Training
7 Yearsyrs
Coach Trainer Training Manager
Director, Learning And Development
12 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Coach Teacher And Coach Assistant Principal
High School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Owner Substitute Teacher Kindergarten Teacher
School Director
7 Yearsyrs
Preschool Teacher Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Field Engineer Assistant Superintendent
School Superintendent
14 Yearsyrs
Special Education Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Obstetrics Teacher 10.0 years
Operators Teacher 5.6 years
Teacher And Coach 5.6 years
Woodwinds Teacher 5.4 years
Classics Teacher 5.1 years
Automotive Teacher 5.1 years
Secondary Teacher 5.0 years
Orchestra Teacher 4.9 years
Weaving Teacher 4.7 years
Certified Teacher 4.5 years
Astronomy Teacher 4.5 years
Athletics Teacher 4.5 years
Bilingual Teacher 4.4 years
Piano Teacher 4.4 years
Music Teacher 4.3 years
Marketing Teacher 4.2 years
Deaf Teacher 4.1 years
Anatomy Teacher 4.1 years
Latin Teacher 4.1 years
Flute Teacher 4.1 years
Business Teacher 4.1 years
Theology Teacher 4.1 years
Speech Teacher 4.0 years
Teacher 4.0 years
Science Teacher 4.0 years
Vocal Teacher 3.9 years
Hebrew Teacher 3.9 years
Math Teacher 3.9 years
Vocational Teacher 3.9 years
Karate Teacher 3.8 years
French Teacher 3.8 years
Journalism Teacher 3.8 years
Sewing Teacher 3.7 years
Choral Teacher 3.7 years
Fine Arts Teacher 3.7 years
German Teacher 3.7 years
Voice Teacher 3.6 years
Spanish Teacher 3.6 years
Headstart Teacher 3.6 years
Group Teacher 3.6 years
Strings Teacher 3.6 years
Special ED Teacher 3.6 years
Master Teacher 3.5 years
Shop Teacher 3.5 years
Nursing Teacher 3.4 years
Educator 3.4 years
Guitar Teacher 3.4 years
Biology Teacher 3.4 years
Head Teacher 3.3 years
Montessori Teacher 3.3 years
Bible Teacher 3.3 years
Technology Teacher 3.3 years
Art Teacher 3.3 years
Religion Teacher 3.3 years
Design Teacher 3.3 years
Organ Teacher 3.2 years
Teacher Advisor 3.2 years
Typing Teacher 3.2 years
2nd Grade Teacher 3.2 years
Russian Teacher 3.2 years
History Teacher 3.2 years
Physics Teacher 3.1 years
Key Punch Teacher 3.1 years
Consultant Teacher 3.1 years
Literature Teacher 3.1 years
Italian Teacher 3.1 years
Aerobics Teacher 3.0 years
Head Start Teacher 3.0 years
Arabic Teacher 3.0 years
Dance Teacher 3.0 years
Band Teacher 3.0 years
Drama Teacher 3.0 years
Chemistry Teacher 3.0 years
Yoga Teacher 3.0 years
Junior Teacher 2.9 years
Genetics Teacher 2.9 years
Psychology Teacher 2.9 years
Language Teacher 2.9 years
Blind Teacher 2.9 years
Economics Teacher 2.9 years
Resource Teacher 2.9 years
Acting Teacher 2.8 years
Theater Teacher 2.8 years
Computer Teacher 2.8 years
Geography Teacher 2.8 years
Violin Teacher 2.8 years
Health Teacher 2.8 years
University Teacher 2.8 years
Adjunct Teacher 2.7 years
Percussion Teacher 2.7 years
Preschool Teacher 2.7 years
ESL Teacher 2.7 years
Fitness Teacher 2.7 years
Safety Teacher 2.7 years
First Aid Teacher 2.7 years
Lead Teacher 2.7 years
8th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
GED Teacher 2.6 years
Inclusion Teacher 2.6 years
Reading Teacher 2.6 years
Peer Teacher 2.6 years
5th Grade Teacher 2.6 years
Pre-K Teacher 2.6 years
Mentor Teacher 2.6 years
ESL Instructor 2.6 years
Autistic Teacher 2.5 years
Lead Pre-K Teacher 2.5 years
Government Teacher 2.5 years
Modeling Teacher 2.5 years
Ballet Teacher 2.5 years
6th Grade Teacher 2.5 years
Bridge Teacher 2.5 years
Teacher Counselor 2.5 years
Zoology Teacher 2.5 years
Cooking Teacher 2.4 years
Sports Teacher 2.4 years
Youth Teacher 2.4 years
Choir Teacher 2.4 years
College Teacher 2.4 years
4th Grade Teacher 2.4 years
Physiology Teacher 2.4 years
Pilot Teacher 2.4 years
Guest Teacher 2.4 years
Teacher Associate 2.4 years
Class Teacher 2.4 years
1st Grade Teacher 2.3 years
Recreation Teacher 2.3 years
Algebra Teacher 2.3 years
Reading Instructor 2.3 years
Swimming Teacher 2.3 years
Teacher/Tutor 2.3 years
Calculus Teacher 2.3 years
Medicine Teacher 2.3 years
Substitute Teacher 2.3 years
Child Care Teacher 2.3 years
Visiting Teacher 2.3 years
Program Instructor 2.2 years
Multimedia Teacher 2.2 years
Transition Teacher 2.2 years
Humanities Teacher 2.2 years
Finance Teacher 2.2 years
Nursery Teacher 2.1 years
Day Care Teacher 2.1 years
Kinder Teacher 2.1 years
Chinese Teacher 2.1 years
Teacher Aide 2.0 years
7th Grade Teacher 2.0 years
Literacy Teacher 2.0 years
Chef Teacher 1.9 years
Toddler Teacher 1.8 years
Gymnasium Teacher 1.8 years
Teacher Assistant 1.8 years
Ceramics Teacher 1.8 years
Co-Teacher 1.7 years
Infant Teacher 1.7 years
Statistics Teacher 1.7 years
Volunteer Teacher 1.6 years
Geometry Teacher 1.6 years
Dietitian Teacher 1.6 years
Nutrition Teacher 1.3 years
Floater Teacher 1.3 years
Surveying Teacher 1.2 years
Pediatrics Teacher 1.2 years
Surgery Teacher 1.0 years
Motor Teacher 0.9 years
Teacher Internship 0.8 years
Student Teacher 0.7 years
Petrology Teacher 0.7 years
Agronomy Teacher 0.4 years
Banking Teacher 0.4 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 8.1%
Internship 7.7%
Tutor 4.9%
Volunteer 4.5%
Instructor 3.5%
Manager 2.7%
Server 2.4%
Top Employers After
Internship 5.5%
Tutor 5.2%
Instructor 5.1%
Cashier 4.7%
Volunteer 4.3%
Director 4.2%
Principal 3.6%
Manager 2.9%

Teacher Demographics










Hispanic or Latino






Black or African American

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Languages Spoken








































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Teacher Education


University of Phoenix


Grand Canyon University


Liberty University


Walden University


Ashford University


University of North Texas


Nova Southeastern University


Capella University


Florida State University


University of Central Florida


University of South Florida


University of Houston


Michigan State University


Temple University


New York University


Texas State University


Arizona State University


Texas A&M University


Northern Arizona University


Wayne State University

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Elementary Education




Early Childhood Education




Educational Leadership




Special Education


General Education, Specific Areas


Human Development


Curriculum And Instruction








Criminal Justice


Liberal Arts


Social Work


School Counseling


Secondary Education And Teaching



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Real Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Teacher Austin International School Association Austin, TX Oct 01, 2015 $206,613
Contract Teacher Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA Jun 08, 2015 $156,525
Teacher Temple Shaaray Tefila New York, NY Jun 09, 2016 $135,655
Japanese Teacher Woodside Priory School Portola Valley, CA Aug 01, 2015 $118,959
School Teacher/Assistant Director for French Studies French American School of New York Larchmont, NY Mar 05, 2015 $110,413
Secondary School Teacher-Science-Chemistry Mamaroneck Union Free School District Mamaroneck, NY Aug 29, 2016 $107,336
Teacher The Kids International Weekend School Inc. River Edge, NJ Jun 09, 2016 $104,350
Teacher AYA Nakamura River Edge, NJ Jun 09, 2016 $104,350
Teacher Ecole Internationale de New York LLC New York, NY Sep 22, 2015 $103,000
School Teacher/Assistant Director for French Studies French American School of New York Larchmont, NY Jul 02, 2015 $100,050
Teacher Bright Star Schools CA Dec 08, 2016 $97,118
Bilingual Secondary School Teacher Lycee Francais de San Francisco San Francisco, CA Sep 16, 2016 $95,576
Bilingual Secondary School Teacher Lycee Francais de San Francisco San Francisco, CA Dec 09, 2016 $95,576
Mandarin Teacher Darien Public Schools Darien, CT Aug 22, 2016 $91,661
Childhood Education Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $49,908
Childhood Education Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY May 01, 2015 $49,908
Childhood Education Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY Jan 02, 2016 $49,908
English Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY Jan 02, 2016 $49,908
Elementary Teacher Lafayette Parish School System Lafayette, LA Sep 29, 2016 $42,532
Secondary School Teacher Holmes County School District Lexington, MS Jun 01, 2015 $42,517
Teacher Milestone Educational Services, Inc. Forest Park, GA Jul 17, 2016 $42,500
Teacher Milestone Educational Services, Inc. Covington, GA Oct 01, 2015 $42,500
Teacher Global Teachers Research & Resources, Inc. Morrow, GA Sep 20, 2015 $42,500
Teacher Global Teachers Research & Resources, Inc. Jonesboro, GA Oct 04, 2015 $42,500
Teacher Global Teachers Research & Resources, Inc. College Park, GA Sep 25, 2015 $42,500
Elementary Teacher Oakland Unified School District Oakland, CA Jul 30, 2015 $42,498

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Top Skills for A Teacher


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Top Teacher Skills

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Weekly Lesson Plans
  3. Curriculum Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Ensured classroom management by setting rules and limits.
  • Assisted with weekly lesson plans, program, and curriculum development
  • Participated in the district curriculum development for social studies.
  • Teach basic mathematics, science, English and social studies courses to educationally challenged high school students
  • Instructed English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Writing, Technology, Current Events, and Character Education.

Top Teacher Employers

Teacher Videos

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

Kindergarten Teacher - Career Conversation

A Day In the Life of a Teacher: The Documentary