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Elementary School Teacher Career Outlook & Job Description

An elementary school teacher is an early education provider and may teach children in kindergarten through the sixth grade. In addition to standard job responsibilities, an elementary teacher also helps young children develop social skills and positive learning habits in an enthusiastic, stimulating and positive classroom environment. It can be a rewarding career, in which educators help foster the social and intellectual development of their students.

Elementary School Teacher Requirements and Common Tasks

Elementary school teachers will generally possess a bachelor’s degree or better as well as certifications and licensing specific to the individual requirements of each state. Teacher degrees in early childhood development and other behavioral sciences can be especially helpful for teaching at the elementary level. In most situations, teachers are expected to continue their education and clearly demonstrate a commitment to learn, prepare and present the most current information in any given area of study. Because of teacher shortages and difficulty placing teachers in high-risk positions, some states offer alternative licensing methods, such as a baccalaureate level certification which allows prospective teachers to begin their career while still attending school. These alternative types of certifications are usually temporary and may only be renewed a few times.

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Elementary school teachers are expected to prepare a lesson plan or teaching guide that employs consistent, proven standards that best help students comprehend and develop basic, elementary level skills. Lesson plans typically include many age appropriate activities that are designed to stimulate young minds and aid the learning process. Teaching methods and materials must be specifically arranged to prepare students for advancement by ensuring fundamental goals have been met or exceeded. Depending on the age of the students, some elementary school teachers also provide some basic child care, such as monitoring nap times and helping with hygiene.

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Elementary School Teacher Salary & Job Outlook

In 2009, elementary teacher school salaries ranged between $33,830 and $78,720 with an average median elementary teacher salary of $53,150. The demand for elementary teachers is expected to rise by 13% through 2018, roughly the same rate as most other occupations. The number of jobs available will largely depend on location, field of study, and budgetary concerns. Educators who teach math, science or bilingual studies or hold multiple licenses may find more job opportunities. The largest projected growth in elementary school teacher jobs is expected in the Southern and Western states.

Question: What are the NCLB teacher requirements?

Answer: The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act is a federal law which requires that teachers be highly qualified. This means a teacher must have a bachelor’s degree and full state certification. It also means that a teacher must have passed tests to demonstrate competency in the subject matter being taught.

Elementary Education Teaching Degrees and Programs

Popular Programs:

  • A.A. in Elementary Education
  • M.A. in Education/Elementary Teacher Education
  • Master of Arts in Education/Curriculum and Instruction
  • Doctor of Education/Curriculum and Instruction
  • And more...

Popular Programs:

  • M.Ed. Teaching and Learning - Elementary Education
  • MA in Teaching - Elementary Education
  • M.Ed. - Program Specialist in Early Childhood Specialist
  • MA Teaching: Middle Grades
  • And more...

Popular Programs:

  • MS - Early Childhood Education
  • MS - Integrative Studies
  • MS - K-12 Studies in Education
  • MS - Evaluation, Research, and Measurement
  • And more...

Popular Programs:

  • Early Childhood Education - Master of Education
  • Early Childhood Education - EdS
  • Early Childhood Education - PhD in Education
  • Early Childhood Education - Doctor of Education
  • And more...

Popular Programs:

  • Early Childhood Education (Certification Only)
  • Master of Education in Early Childhood Education

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an Elementary School Teacher

Question: What degree do I need to teach elementary school?

Answer: To teach elementary school, you need a bachelor’s degree in a subject that is teachable in school. You also must take courses that give you a broad education in all of the subjects taught in the primary grades, such as math, English, reading, science, and social studies. You must also complete a teacher preparation program at a university and become certified as a teacher according to your state’s requirements.

Question: What are the NCLB teacher requirements?

Answer: The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act is a federal law which requires that teachers be highly qualified. This means a teacher must have a bachelor’s degree and full state certification. It also means that a teacher must have passed tests to demonstrate competency in the subject matter being taught.

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