Elementary Teacher Bachelor's Degree Program
With a bachelor's degree in elementary education, you can become a certified teacher and start your career. Keep reading to learn about degree programs, what you'll study, training requirements and licensure. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Would My Elementary Teacher Bachelor's Degree Program Be Like?
Elementary education bachelor's degree programs prepare you for teaching by giving you a foundation in the liberal arts, instruction in childhood development and hands-on experience in classrooms. You learn how to use creative teaching methods and technology to teach children subjects ranging from English and reading to science and math. Fine arts and physical education are also covered in many elementary teacher training programs.
Most programs for aspiring elementary teachers are designed with the goal of teacher certification in mind. Aside from courses that discuss teaching theory, you spend time in a real classroom, first observing and then taking on teaching duties. Upon graduation, you have fulfilled all of your state's teacher licensing requirements to teach children in grades 1-6 (though some programs might also cover kindergarten through eighth grade). Entirely online elementary teacher bachelor's degree programs are rare, likely due to practical and interpersonal elements of the field of study.
What Courses Will I Take?
A broad liberal arts education is the foundation of most elementary teacher bachelor's degree programs. You take courses in the humanities, sciences, mathematics and arts. Writing, reading and philosophy are typically on the roster, and social studies courses often include history and psychology. You may be required to take geography, physical science and math, too. Additionally, creative arts courses like music or fine art are mandatory, but you might also be able to take physical education courses.
The education courses you take teach you how children grow, develop and learn. These courses usually include educational psychology, education theory, literacy and classroom diversity. You also learn about using technology in the classroom and gain teaching skills through both lecture-based courses and on-site fieldwork experiences. All elementary teacher bachelor's degree programs include student-teaching time.
How Does My Student-Teaching Experience Work?
Typically completed later in an elementary teacher bachelor's degree program, your student-teaching experience takes place in an elementary school classroom - usually near your college or university. Some programs might place you in urban or rural settings, and you're immersed in a real classroom on a full-time basis. When you begin your student teaching, you spend most of the time observing - but you work your way toward taking over as the main teacher. This typically takes 10-15 weeks, depending on your assigned school's schedule. Some of your academic coursework might take place concurrently with your student-teaching experience.
What Do I Need to Be Licensed?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all states require public school teachers to be licensed or certified, and requirements vary from state to state. A bachelor's degree in elementary education is the minimum academic requirement to become licensed, and you need to complete a minimum number of supervised practice hours. You might also need to complete some training in technology for the classroom. Some states require you to take skills and competency tests, and you may even need to earn a master's degree sometime after you begin your teaching career, the BLS said (www.bls.gov).
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