Kindergarten Teacher Career Guide

Kindergarten teachers instruct young children, usually five- or six-year-olds, in basic subjects that will form the foundation for later years of schooling. This guide provides information on what kindergarten teachers do, how to become one, and the typical salary and job outlook.

Table of Contents

How to Become
Job Description
Salary & Job Outlook
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Related Pages

How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher

One of the basic requirements to become a kindergarten teacher is earning a bachelor’s degree that includes a state-approved teacher preparation program. A program that focuses on the needs and development of young learners, such as an early childhood education degree, is typical preparation for this career. For teachers in public schools, a state-issued teaching certificate is also necessary. The common steps to becoming a kindergarten teacher are:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  2. Complete a student teaching internship in a kindergarten classroom.
  3. Take your state’s required tests for prospective kindergarten teachers.
  4. Apply for a teaching license.
  5. Begin applying for open kindergarten teaching jobs.

Kindergarten Teacher Job Description

A kindergarten teacher works in public or private schools and promotes the academic, physical, and social development of their students. They instruct students by using enthusiastic and hands-on teaching methods and tools, including games, music, art, books, and computers.

They instruct their young students one-on-one or in groups, adapting teaching methods to meet students’ varying needs and interests. Kindergarten teachers play an important role in childhood development; the job requires that they be able to easily communicate with their students and inspire trust and confidence.

Common Tasks

Kindergarten teachers impart simple but important skills such as color, number, shape, and letter recognition, phonics, basic personal hygiene, and social skills such as sharing and interacting with peers. Teachers often read to their class aloud and demonstrate activities, as well as encourage class participation. Using various materials and resources, they allow their students to learn by exploration and hands-on discovery.

Kindergarten teachers prepare materials, lessons, and projects for their students, and observe and assess performance, skills, behavior, and social development; they also watch for potential problems including health, developmental, or emotional issues. They meet with parents of children periodically to inform them of progress and concerns.

Helpful Skills and Experience

Prospective kindergarten teachers should love children. Most of their day will be centered on teaching, caring for, and nurturing small children, and as one of the primary figures of authority in these students’ lives, they will also be one of their first role models. Teaching at the kindergarten level can be both stressful and rewarding. Patience, creativity, and excellent communication skills are important skills for prospective kindergarten teachers.

Kindergarten Teacher Salary and Job Outlook

As of 2022, the median annual wage for kindergarten teachers was $60,490.1 Depending on the individual employer, benefits will vary. Salary will typically increase with years of service. This career field should see about average growth through 2031, with projected job growth of about 4%.2 Kindergarten teachers can find employment in public elementary schools, private schools, and childcare organizations.

Kindergarten Teacher Career Interviews

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What types of courses do I take to become a kindergarten teacher?

Answer: The courses required will vary depending on the school, but most prospective kindergarten teachers will complete coursework in early childhood education, including classes in child psychology as well as basic math, reading, and science courses.

Question: Do kindergarten teachers get summers off?

Answer: Depending on the individual school and its calendar, most teachers at the kindergarten level do get two months off during the summer. Teachers may choose to teach during a summer program for additional income.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm