Kindergarten Teacher: Job Duties, Employment Outlook, and Educational Requirements

Research what it takes to become a kindergarten teacher. Learn about job duties, education requirements and salary expectations to find out whether this is the career for you. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Kindergarten Teacher?

Kindergarten teachers explain basic academic concepts to children and help them develop cognitive, social and emotional skills. They will create lesson plans to cover various subjects and monitor students' progress.

Kindergarten teachers will help identify their students' strengths and weaknesses, work to improve their abilities and help individuals overcome learning challenges. They must enforce classroom rules and teach students how to behave and communicate appropriately. These professionals are typically in contact with parents to update them on a student's progress and any issues that come up. See the table below to learn more about the duties, job outlook and licensing requirements for kindergarten teachers.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Early childhood education
Licensing/Certification State-issued license required for public schools
Key Responsibilities Plan curricula; provide group and one-on-one instruction; teach basics in reading, math and classroom behavior; assess student progress; work with parents
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Average Salary (2015) $54,510*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are The Duties of a Kindergarten Teacher?

Kindergarten is often the first school experience for young children, especially for those who did not attend preschool. As a kindergarten teacher, it's your responsibility to introduce and reinforce their understanding of how school works. Through the use of play, toys and other hands-on techniques, you'll help students develop.

Your duties will include teaching basic language, writing, reading and creative skills. You'll instill basic academic concepts such as hand-raising, forming lines, homework, speaking voices and classroom organization.

Other duties will include preparing homework, conducting classroom activities, meeting with parents, managing the classroom and teaching aides, creating lesson plans and assessing student development. You'll work with other teachers, parents and school officials to address children with disciplinary issues or those who are developing more slowly than others.

What Is My Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that between 2014 and 2024, kindergarten teachers can anticipate an increase in job opportunities (www.bls.gov). Most openings will be the result of growing enrollments. Demand will be highest for teachers who are willing to work in less desirable school districts and for teachers who are qualified to teach English as a second language (ESL) or special education, according to the BLS.

In May 2015, kindergarten teachers made an average annual salary of $54,510, the BLS stated. The industries with the highest levels of kindergarten teachers were in elementary and secondary schools, followed by day care services. These teachers earned an average salary of $55,030 and $41,660, respectively.

What Type of Education Do I Need?

You'll need at least a bachelor's degree and a state teacher's license to work as a kindergarten teacher at a public school. A bachelor's degree in early childhood education is a common major for this occupation. This major is also available as a master's degree program at some schools.

These programs focus on childhood and language development, family dynamics and the psychology of children. They provide courses in curriculum building, classroom safety, literacy, the use of play in development and assessment skills. Early childhood education programs may also include student teaching practicums or sessions that are required to qualify for state licensing.

How Do I Earn A Teaching License?

Every state requires public school kindergarten teachers to be licensed and requirements vary by state. You'll need to check with your state's Department of Education. After you have obtained your state teaching license, you can consider taking one of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) voluntary certification exams (www.nbpts.org). The NBPTS offers 25 certification exams that are valid for 10 years.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those interested in other careers in education have several options to choose from, including special education teaching, middle school teaching or high school teaching. All of these positions require at least a bachelor's degree, and these educators perform similar duties to kindergarten teachers, but with different kinds of students.

Special education teachers work with students who have various kinds of learning, physical, emotional or mental disabilities. They often need to help adapt lesson plans to accommodate their students. Middle school teachers typically teach students in the 6th to 8th grades and prepare them for high school. High school teachers work to prepare students for life after graduation, including attending college or finding a job.

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